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employee innovation

How encouraging employee innovation can help attract talent

A strategic imperative for talent attraction and retention

Content Insights

Senior management holds a pivotal role in creating a psychologically safe space for innovation.
Organisations should consider the demographics of their employees.
Organisations need to start with small steps when cultivating an employee-driven innovation culture.

Table of Contents




Recent research conducted in Singapore sheds light on the significant impact of fostering employee innovation on talent attraction and retention. Justina Tan, an associate professor at Singapore University of Social Sciences, emphasises the pivotal role that companies play in motivating and retaining talented staff through a culture of innovation.

Progressive Companies: Talent Magnets

Tan asserts that organisations encouraging employee innovation are perceived as progressive and open-minded, making them more attractive to talent. Talented individuals, often dissatisfied with the status quo, are drawn to companies that push boundaries and embrace experimentation. The success of a forward-thinking organisation, marked by positive outcomes from innovation, gives them a competitive edge in talent acquisition.

Beyond Ideation: Implementing Innovation

According to Tan, meaningful innovation contributing to talent attraction and retention involves more than ideation. The actual implementation of ideas, whether radical or incremental, plays a crucial role. Employers must move beyond mere commitment statements, embodying the organisation’s vision day in and day out.

Leadership’s Role: Creating a Safe Space

Senior management holds a pivotal role in creating a psychologically safe space for innovation, where failure is acceptable. Tan emphasises that leaders must consistently demonstrate their commitment to fostering innovation, serving as role models rather than making empty promises.

Middle Management’s Influence

In larger organisations, middle management plays a vital role in fostering an innovation culture. Their frequent interactions with employees can uncover valuable innovations that may go unnoticed by senior management. Tan suggests that the role of middle management is crucial in driving innovation throughout the organisation.

Transparent Communication: Learning from Failure

Transparent and open communication about innovation outcomes, whether successful or not, is crucial. Tan advocates for a culture of learning, where failures are viewed as opportunities for improvement. This approach creates an environment conducive to continuous innovation.

Wellbeing and Innovation

The research underscores the impact of employee wellbeing on innovation. A sense of belonging, trust, and collegial relationships positively influences the outcomes of innovation efforts. Organisations should consider the demographics of their employees, industry nature, and the power of consultation in their approach to fostering innovation.

Starting Small: A Gradual Cultural Shift

Tan advises organisations to start with small steps when cultivating an employee-driven innovation culture. Creating a small group of influencers who become innovation ambassadors can initiate a ripple effect, gradually transforming the organisation’s culture.

Warning: Innovation Neglect Leads to Lagging

Tan issues a warning to organisations neglecting employee innovation, stating that they risk being left behind. Embracing a culture of innovation not only attracts top talent but ensures continued relevance and competitiveness in the ever-evolving business landscape.


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