In their recent Learning and Development (L&D) Report, professional training search engine findcourses.com explores the concept of an innovative company culture and recommends the best ways to implement it in your own
What is a culture of innovation? Or—better yet—what does it mean to be innovative?
Being innovative means taking risks, not being afraid to fail, and always maintaining a curious and open mind. In a traditional office environment, innovation can be extinguished if these characteristics are discouraged or constrained by defined roles.
The L&D report found that companies with executives highly engaged in L&D are three times more likely to say their company has a culture of innovation. They spoke with L&D leaders at companies like CyberCoders, Wyndham Destinations, EY, and Bayer to discover how they support innovation. Local businesses can learn from these initiatives made by global companies.
CREATE SAFE SPACES FOR SHARING
Innovation happens when employees feel free to share their ideas and take risks without repercussions. Trust and a safe environment where employees feel free to collaborate and discuss new ideas is a key L&D strategy that can boost innovation.
The L&D team at permanent placement recruiting firm CyberCoders aims to make this possible through their Associate Recruiter Incubator Program. Geared toward new employees and combining intensive education with mentoring, their program ensures that all employees have the skills they need to excel in the tech industry.
“For this program, my team and I hire, manage, train, and ramp up individuals that have no prior sales or recruiting experience,” says Dani Chang, Training Manager at CyberCoders.
New recruits are trained for a period of eight weeks and upon graduation are put into teams based on their management style. “This has greatly contributed to a culture of idea-sharing and cohesiveness. Once on teams, they are exposed to new techniques from their managers and teammates,” Chang says.
Cultivating a culture of innovation should start from the ground up, creating a strong foundation for growth.
For innovation to occur, your program needs to tailor itself to the individualized present (and future) needs of employees. This agile approach to L&D is crucial for continued development.
Wyndham Destinations is proud of their key L&D program, Destination U, their corporate university. Open and flexible, Destination U allows for changes in internal reporting structures, mergers, and acquisitions.
According to their Vice President of Learning and Development, their L&D team structure is designed to remain nimble and adjust to continuous organizational changes without compromising either the speed or quality of our talent development strategies.”
An overly planned and rigid L&D structure can obstruct innovation, so keeping it agile and flexible to adjust to changes in business strategy is important.
Research shows that companies with diverse and inclusive workforces are more innovative and profitable.
Take Bayer for example: They can thank their stellar diversity program for winning The Catalyst Award, which is the highest honor for diversity in the United States. Bayer’s Head of U.S. Learning & Talent Development, Karen Bicking, attributes this success to their active promotion of women in the workplace: “We have programs geared toward diversity and inclusion, so we partner with some external organizations to help develop our women leaders.”
Other companies like EY are using diversity to set themselves apart from the competition and to spark innovation within the team. Martin Hayter, their Global Assurance Learning Leader describes their workplace culture: “The team has a global flavor to it. It brings more creativity and higher quality and we know that the content we develop is going to be applicable to different cultures, and to both emerging and mature markets.”
Diversity and innovation (D&I) is becoming a global trend. As illustrated by the U.K. L&D report from findcourses.co.uk, D&I is one of the five training courses most demanded in 2019. Organizations are more aware of the importance of developing these areas because when it comes to D&I training, companies that fall behind will get left behind.
To sum up: Innovation is all about creating a safe, adaptive space for people from different backgrounds to share their ideas openly. Creating a culture of innovation takes time and means investing in employees throughout their journey, but the new ideas generated and the sense of teamwork created will be worth it.