Innovation and Employee Retention

source: Futurestep

source: Futurestep


Innovation has long been cited as a driver of  long-term revenue and profit growth in organizations.  However, studies are now showing that there is also an increasing relationship between innovation and employee retention.

In a recent study published by talent solutions provider, Futurestep, the more than 4,000 skilled employee respondents seemed to be sending companies a very clear message: that innovation seen in strategies for recruitment, employee development and employee retention greatly impacts the employee relationship.

According to Futurestep CEO, Byrne Mulrooney, the study defined innovation as change, improvements and forward-thinking.  Employees were seen to be looking for innovation from the very first encounter with the organization during recruitment. Then they expected to continue seeing it in the organization’s employee development plan. And finally, it was equally important that they saw innovation in the company’s retention programs as well.

Of the respondents, only 36% thought that their current companies were innovative. And in another survey done on over 800 HR professionals, over 74% said that they believed their organizations could do more to foster innovation for them to attract and retain talent.

The demands on innovation may seem particularly high. But not taking this message to heart could have huge detrimental impacts to the total organization. In recruitment, innovation is more likely to create a successful impact on a potential recruit.  Even happy employees are not immune, with 55% saying they would consider leaving their satisfying jobs if they were approached with innovative recruitment methods.

In development, 44% of employees say that they will leave their jobs if they see no innovations in store of them.

And don’t forget that all human to organization contact points that perceive innovation has a bearing on the overall company brand.  Employees and recruits are possible consumers too. And they can advertise so much by the virtue of word of mouth. So an organization’s innovation or lack thereof, can give either a benefit or detriment, respectively, to your company’s total image as well.

For a slight counterpoint, see this post on the danger of employment branding.

You can download the full report from Futurestep here.

Is HR Employment Branding A Mistake?

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 9.25.35 AMMark Riston at Marketing Week thinks employment branding could be causing more harm than good.

Ritson taught brand management at London Business School, MIT Sloan, the University of Minnesota and Melbourne Business School – where he is currently an Associate Professor of Marketing.   His former clients include McKinsey, adidas, PepsiCo, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Johnson & Johnson, Baxter, De Beers, Ericsson, Sephora, and WD40. For eight years he has also served as advisor and in-house professor for LVMH – the world’s largest luxury group – working with senior executives from brands such as Louis Vuitton, Dom Perignon, Fendi, Tag Heuer, Dior and Hennessy. In a recent national survey in the UK Mark Ritson was voted one of the country’s most admired marketers.

It’s important to note that Riston appreciates the intent of HR promoting employer brands and says:

I appreciate that you are only doing what you are doing out of a misplaced sense of purpose and a naive miscomprehension of the branding concept but, please, you have to stop doing this employer branding stuff right now. It is terrible.

Riston’s key points from his Marketing Week Article Employer branding can do real harm so stop it:

  • Branding is fundamentally about the consumer
  • Branding is about differentiation and employer branding strategy all sounds the same.  Empowering Excellence with Integrity and Innovation’) is exactly the same as everyone else’s
  • You have to measure brand equity, yet most HR people are measuring job satisfaction via employee surveys.  If you want to position your employer brand on something, you will have to measure those values and how much employees think they experience them on an annual basis.

To me this sounds like this could me more of an issue of execution than an inherent problem or structural issue.  Do you think employer branding can be done right to support both the customer and the employee?  Please share your thoughts and insights below.