By Daniel Hunter

Employers worldwide received a clear message from their staff in a global study from Futurestep: 'think bigger on innovation in HR if you want to keep us onboard'.

Exploring the potential impact of innovative methods in recruiting, developing and engaging staff, the study of more than 4,000 skilled workers from around the world reveals that nearly half are prepared to quit a job they’re happy in if they feel they are being let down on promises around innovation.

With 44% of those surveyed admitting that they are “likely” to look around for another role if innovation fails to materialise, equally worrying will be the news that the clock is ticking. Employers have a window of just six months to deliver on innovative ways to engage and develop their people according to the majority. A further four in ten confirmed that ‘phantom innovation’ would make them feel negatively about the brand as a whole.

Citing companies including Apple, Google, Coca Cola and Facebook as their ‘innovation idols’, while workers around the globe want to see innovation from day one, they’re ready and willing to give back:

Big Demands:

• Over ¾ expect employers to be innovative in the way they retain and engage their staff.
• 72% expect employers to be innovative in the way they develop people.
• Only 30% think that their current company is innovative in those fields.

Big Returns:

• 79% agree that innovative approaches to engagement and development would make them more likely to perform better in their jobs.
• 49% say they would be more likely to take a job advertised or offered in an innovative way.
• 51% believe that innovative approaches to recruitment would make them feel more positively about that company overall.

The study confirmed that in today’s competitive employee market innovation will turn the head of the happiest employee. Two thirds of employees said they would leave a role if they were targeted with a job that offered more innovative benefits, while 55% would leave a role they are happy in if approached in a particularly innovative way.

“The idea of innovation clearly sparks the imagination of today’s professionals,” says Byrne Mulrooney, CEO of Futurestep.

“Workers define innovation as three things; change, improvement and forward thinking, and they’re looking for employers to demonstrate all three of those from the very first time they come into contact.

"What is increasingly important, particularly for global companies is that the way you communicate with future, current and former employees can have a huge impact on how they think of your brand as a whole. It goes beyond employment and can actually affect the way they think about your brand as a consumer too — and they’ll share that view with friends and family too.”

The global report, which also surveyed more than 800 recruitment and talent management professionals, found that 74% of them believe that their organisation needs to be doing more to demonstrate innovation in their recruitment and talent management. While 78% believe innovation in recruitment and talent management is key to delivering growth targets across the business.

UK specific findings:

· Employees in the UK admitted they would be likely to look for another job if promises of innovation in the way they are engaged and developed (42% and 39% respectively) fail to materialise — 67% of those after just six months at both stages.
· 55% of UK employees would consider leaving a role they are happy in approaching in a particularly innovative way.
· And 63% of those happy in a role would leave if they were offered innovative benefits by another company.
· Overall 70% believe companies in the UK need to be doing more to demonstrate innovation in recruitment and talent management.

Big demands:

· 76% of UK employees expect their company to be innovative in the way it develops staff.
· And over ¾ of staff in the UK expect the methods used to ensure they are engaged and retained long-term to be innovative (79% and 78& respectively),
· But only 22% of employees think their current workplace is innovative on the way it recruits and manages talent.

Big returns:

· 76% of employees in the UK confirmed that innovative approaches to engagement and development would make them more likely to perform better in their jobs.
· 47% said they would be much more likely to take a role advertised to them or offered in a particularly innovative way.
· 51% said an innovative recruitment experience would make them feel much more positively about the company overall.

UK recruitment and talent professionals agree:

· 69% of HR professionals in the UK think that demonstrating innovation in recruitment and talent management is crucial to achieving growth targets
· 65% confirmed their organisation should be doing more to demonstrate innovation in this way

“Businesses in the UK face a daily battle to not only attract and retain the best people - but to get the best from them. A company’s ability to grow, expand and remain competitive relies on its people’s willingness to go above and beyond every day," Neil Griffiths, Global Practice Lead Employer Brand and Talent Communications, Futurestep said.

"Innovation is not just watching and observing the latest trend, or experimenting with the latest Social Media application — it is applying techniques and ideas to enhance your company culture, compliment the way your people behave in their world of work and ultimately support you to achieve your business goals. This means that innovation in HR looks different across companies and countries— but the fact remains that employees in the UK have made it very clear that they expect their HR functions to be figuring out what it looks like in their business.”

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