Are you innovative enough to attract top talent?

New research shows a disconnect between employers and employees on balancing innovation and risk

Are you innovative enough to attract top talent?
You may be overestimating how much your organisation drives and values innovation, according to new research by recruitment firm Hudson, which suggests that employees increasingly value innovation in employers.

Employers need to actively foster a culture of innovation to attract and retain top talent, Stephen Tan, associate director, Hudson Singapore Talent Management told HRD.

“Fostering innovative workplaces is not just good for the business but is an important Employee Value Proposition,” he said.

The Hudson Report found that whilst almost nine in 10 Singapore organisations (88%) believe they drive and reward innovation, only 70% of employees say their organisations encourage innovation, and a quarter of employees (24%) say their organisations do not encourage innovation at all.

This disconnect between employers and employees may be due to conflicting perspectives on risk, Tan said.

“It’s possible to speculate that this is because innovation is viewed as engaging and exciting for staff, but risky and costly for businesses. This distinction may lead to different appetites for risk and innovation, and different perspectives of how much innovation is fostered in the workplace.”

The flip-side of embracing innovation, Tan said, is that it requires leadership that creates room for people to take controlled risks, which can often be a challenge for leaders.

“The main lever for HR here is people and culture. How to attract, retain, and develop people who embrace innovation; how to create a culture that promotes and celebrates new ideas. That is the HR challenge.”

The report also revealed that although organisations are aware of potential skills gaps within the company, only half have a defined strategy to develop their people.

“Without a defined strategy, training tends to be tactical and often reactionary. Having a strategy is not just about having a nice plan in writing, but an important way for HR to link their people strategies to an organisation’s broader business priorities,” Tan said.

Tan described the key to this as “drawing the link between the business priority and the training strategy and clearly articulating this,” so that senior management are able to understand the training imperative and employees understand the developmental expectation on them.

“More than training, it is also about on the job developmental opportunities to put training into practice – to learn from doing. Some companies do this via action learning projects, have teams work on important but not necessarily urgent issues faced by the company.”

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