Create a Winning Talent Strategy to Drive Innovation

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If you read the words “Talent Strategy,” it can seem a little scary. It can be assumed that only large companies can afford to focus on talent strategies. However, this is not the case. You just need to take the next step of strategic planning. Think about how your talent will help you achieve your goals.

The common goal for entrepreneurs is to focus your company on innovation. As entrepreneurs, we are constantly trying new things, doing better and understanding how we can increase value for our customers. However, if you are not a self-employed person, you will ultimately rely on your team’s innovative thinking.

Are your workplace practices and talent policies conducive to innovation?

First let’s take a closer look at your culture.

There are some basic principles of an effective workplace culture. These include respect for people and appreciation for diversity and inclusion. Innovative companies tend to also have a culture focused on learning, collaborating and empowering.

A learning-oriented culture encompasses experimentation, iteration, and continuous improvement. Team members are invited to learn something new. This can be in the form of stretched assignments or projects outside the realm of human knowledge. These companies can encourage their team members to gain knowledge from outside through formal education or professional organizations. Companies with a learning culture are also more likely to be involved in an open talent economy that includes independent contractors and crowdsourcing. They recognize the benefits of interacting from different perspectives.

Related: Seven Ways to Promote Innovation in Your Company

Innovative companies also have a culture that fosters collaboration. When you look at your own company, do the teams work together to achieve a common goal or do they work alone? If your teams are working in bins, try to understand why.

One reason that teams work in single mode is that team members do not know what role their team and other teams play to achieve common goals. You often find this in organizations that have grown rapidly. As you create teams, additional levels of management are added. You need to make an extra effort so that all employees know how they and others contribute to the mission and goals of the company. Some tips include:

  • Regularly update your adaptation materials, including organization charts and team structures, to make this clear.

  • Create cross-functional teams or agile teams to work on your key strategic initiatives.

  • Support comprehensive meetings that talk about the cross-functional work being done to emphasize effective collaboration.

To have a culture of true collaboration, you need to make sure that managers at all levels work. Managers who are rewarded solely for the results of their team have an incentive to be isolated. Managers should be rewarded for company results and overall goals in addition to their team’s results.

Another key to cooperation is regular transparent communication, which includes disagreements. Without open disagreement you will never hear better ideas, and ideas will not be fully tested. Two common forms of unhealthy disagreement in the workplace include:

  • Team members are afraid to speak out and disagree. If someone is afraid of being ridiculed or reprimanded for their ideas, they will hold on to concerns or dissenting opinions. Team members need to be encouraged to disagree in appropriate and respectful ways.

  • The culture is too polite. No one agrees publicly, so there are no serious discussions about the pros and cons of solutions.

If there is disagreement, how do you make a decision? Does the team have the authority to make the final decision or does it always depend on one person? Evaluate your decision-making process to make sure it supports trial and error, and experiment with new ideas. Whenever possible, teams should be given the opportunity to make their own decisions. You can still reduce the risk of moving in the wrong direction if the team regularly evaluates the results. Give the team the opportunity to adjust the course if necessary. This stimulates a cycle of continuous improvement.

Do the goals of your managers and employees show that you value learning, collaboration, and empowerment? If not, they should! Innovative companies reward employees for trying new ideas, even if those ideas ultimately fail.

Related: 10 easy ways to build collaborative, successful work …

How do you really know that your company’s culture supports innovation?

There are usually gaps between the desired culture, the true current culture, and the perception of the company’s management culture culture. As a result, an unbiased assessment of your culture is a great place to start. You can do this more formally by hiring a HR consultant to talk to team members. Or you can do it informally by sending employees an anonymous survey.

Once you get feedback on your culture, it’s important to share it with your team. Speak openly about what you have heard and what you want the culture to be. Contact your team for support and ongoing feedback on improvement. Following these steps will show your team that you are committed to creating an environment that fosters innovation through learning, collaboration, and empowerment.

By topic: 9 ways your company can encourage innovation

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