By Daniel Hunter

New research has revealed the UK has one of the lowest rates of employee innovation globally.

The findings, from market research firm ORC International, have been released from the company’s global perspectives survey, which received more than 7,000 responses across 19 countries worldwide.

The survey exposes that the UK scores poorly and falls behind other countries in relation to innovation. Less than half of respondents feel that innovation and creativity are highly valued in their workplace; and employees in the UK are less likely to feel that they would be recognised for coming up with new and innovative ways of working.

The UK’s biggest decline, compared to 2012, was around employee involvement. There has been an eight point decline in the positivity of responses to the question “I suggest ideas to improve our way of doing things.” This begs the question; are ideas being ignored? Have employees lost interest in making suggestions as a result of this? A significant drop of 6% in staff feeling it is safe to speak up also suggests they are not in a working environment conducive to creativity.

Bearing in mind these findings, it is no surprise that overall, the UK fares rather poorly for employee engagement, ranked at 14th place, with an engagement index of 55 — level with last year.

On a more positive note, the figures showed employers are supporting employee wellbeing and ensuring there is no excessive pressure on their staff at work. Both these areas are improvements on last year’s scores, and five points above the global average of 59%. This is a positive influence on engagement because the healthier employees are, the more likely an organisation will have sustainable engagement.

“One of the key messages from the survey is the UK’s poor scores around innovation, which is concerning," Kate Pritchard, director of employee research Europe at ORC International, said.

“If employers do not start putting an increased importance on innovation, and encourage their staff to come up with new ideas, it will dent their businesses’ performance. For innovation to prosper, it needs an environment that nurtures collaboration and empowers employees.”

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