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Fostering a Culture of Innovation

almost 2 years ago by Luigi Muscat Filletti
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The skills gap continues to be a topic of increasingly hot discussion for companies seeking digital relevance and growth in a time where digital innovation is dictating the recruitment of professionals with the necessary skills in place to satisfy market demand. Organisations are becoming more aware of their hiring responsibilities in a time where candidates are setting the standard based on relevant skills, qualifications and experience. However, they must also understand that their employer branding image plays a pivotal role in attracting the right individuals to their company, and this is especially so when dealing with the Millennial talent pool, a generation which is expected to make up over 50% of the global workforce by 2020.

'The Millennial talent pool, a generation which is expected to make up over 50% of the global workforce by 2020.'

This segment of individuals were born into developing technology across all areas and sectors of their daily lives, this resulting in the qualities of flexibility, adaptability and quick learning, as well as expectations of instant feedback and transparency. The areas of task ownership and indicating credit where credit is due are also presumptions of this generation. An interesting point to keep in mind is the relevance and power of the internet which has allowed individuals to communicate their ideas to the rest of the world in a way which previous generations would not have deemed possible. It is no doubt therefore, that the internet has leveraged the effectiveness and opportunity of the entrepreneur in today’s world. Thus, this sense of enhanced opportunity and the ability to be heard might suggest that this group of young individuals are accustomed to the concept of continuous innovation. As job opportunities in Malta in the spheres of Tech and Finance continue to grow through digital innovation, candidates today are becoming increasingly attracted to companies which communicate a sense of ambition and desire for growth, all within an inclusive, employee-driven and customer-centric playing environment.

'Employee empowerment is now becoming an increased focal point on the employer branding agenda'

In relation to the workplace environment, hiring managers should keep in mind this innovative nature of mindset, particularly because the ability to practice intrapreneurship is a growing demand by the Millennial workforce.

The relatively newly coined term intrapreneurship refers to the practice of an organisation in encouraging its employees to think and act in such a way which promotes entrepreneurship internally. Employee empowerment is now becoming an increased focal point on the employer branding agenda, as company cultures are adopting a workplace atmosphere which lives and breathes innovation and growth through collaboration and sharing of ideas between employees and managers. An area of focus to ensure such a way forward is that of increased engagement - employees want to be heard and understood, with their contribution felt and acknowledged. All employees should be allowed the space and comfort of voicing their ideas and concerns within an accepting working environment, as this also supports honesty and trust in employee relationships, increasing employee retention. This being done well, colleagues should also be efficient in providing their opinions and suggestions. In more simple terms, a company should allow its employees to take risks and get out of their comfort zones to work on new ideas and influence the course of direction of a company. This therefore goes beyond task ownership and encourages employees to be leaders in their own right. This sharing of diverse knowledge also inspires increased perspective and awareness to understand the company’s current position in the market in the eyes of its employees. The ability to practice empathy internally allows this to happen. Managers should be open to conversation with their employees and encourage them to come forward with their ideas for discussion. 

'All employees should be allowed the space and comfort of voicing their ideas and concerns within an accepting working environment, as this also supports honesty and trust in employee relationships, increasing employee retention.'

Moreover, productive activities such as creative meetings and out-of-the-box thinking sessions are additional ways of fostering innovation internally. What is more is that organisations can also invest in resources to improve employee innovation. Ways of going about this are by offering training to provide employees the opportunities to sharpen their skills in certain areas, as well as by organising learning opportunities to keep up to date with the latest industry trends and practises.

'Managers should be open to conversation with their employees and encourage them to come forward with their ideas for discussion.'

By putting into effect such initiatives, a company would be strengthening the relations its employees have with one another, this being yet another benefit to the company’s employer branding image. Furthermore, such an inclusive workplace philosophy provides employees with more meaning to their role which goes above and beyond their usual tasks and responsibilities. This permits individuals to become more synchronised with the company they work for, thus shaping employees into more effective brand ambassadors, increasing retention rates and providing an attractive advantage for talent acquisition practices.

Deploying such concepts supports the nurturing of an innovative culture by embedding the qualities of creative thinking and extended vision in the minds of employees. An organisation which cares for its employees in today’s day and age means providing them with the opportunity to feel part of something bigger, presenting them with the chances to have their say and be recognised amongst a network of professionals from diverse skills and backgrounds.