Are you fully engaged?
According to Purple Cubed’s 2016 Engage, Enable Empower report, which surveyed 220 directors across the UK, 58% of respondents believe they have a strategy in place for their businesses to be more innovative in 2016 – yet 56% do not have the data to support this and to prove their people feel empowered to innovate.
As businesses desperately aspire to innovate almost perpetually, additional findings from Purple Cubed’s qualitative study of HR directors, revealed exclusively to Changeboard that the pressure is on HR to make this culture of innovation a reality.
Alastair Proctor, chief HR officer at IPG Mediabrands, explains that a vital way to reach this goal, is as simple as giving employees the independence and flexibility to tackle problems and challenges; in other words, it’s about empowerment. He says: “This is all about giving people the opportunity to find their own way to achieve the company goals and it’s also about trust and allowing people to take calculated risks. This helps us continue to innovative and engage with our people whilst developing their careers and at the same time the company benefits from the different and shared views of how to meet our future challenges.”
Gareth Hughes, managing director and head of HR (Europe) at Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets, takes the idea a step further, outlining a clear link between employee engagement and innovation.
He says: “It’s hard to tell where engagement ends and innovation starts. In some organisations people are financially incentivised for coming up with innovative ideas. But if they were engaged, they would be more likely to collaborate with colleagues, have innovative people around them and be enabled to innovate. This enablement is a key driver of both engagement and innovation.
“Innovation can be in the culture of a business. It’s about how leaders treat their teams and how colleagues treat each other. Here we work to engage younger employees and to nurture a gender balance. But staff have to believe what leaders are saying – we need authentic leaders as these are key to creating a culture of engagement and innovation. Employees that are empowered, feel that they have the support to lead and innovate. They have the tools in place to do the best job they possibly can – and vitally they have the freedom to be allowed to fail. They are rewarded for collaborating and contributing to new ideas.”
In Purple Cubed’s study of business leaders, when asked to define ‘engagement’, although there was ambiguity and a lack of clarity in general, the majority of respondents did agree that it was about ‘colleagues being empowered and enabled to thrive’.