Business Advice: How to innovate in an unpredictable market

How innovative can clients be in the current jobs market? It’s a question that keeps on coming back to me as recruiters are being consistently tasked with coming up with ‘cutting edge’ solutions – but will they stick?

After all, there are hugely competing forces at work. On one hand, we must solve EDI [equality, diversity & inclusion] issues and be serious about equity in the workplace and on the other there is a huge need to get bums on seats.

Recruiters are increasingly feeling the heat on this and reacting with varying degrees of success. Some solutions being punted around feel more like PR exercises rather than anything substantial.

But this could be because at the client end there is a lack of will to take on anything that is different. Innovation, quite simply, has not been written into the terms and conditions of the highly regulated UK plc.

In fact, the CIPD’s most recent ‘Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey’ showed that the recruitment and retention efforts of many employers have been found ‘wanting’.

Of the 1,000 employers surveyed for the report, more than two-fifths (43%) take an ad hoc approach to recruitment and are therefore not planning ahead for future skill and staff requirements.

And in organisations that say talent is increasingly difficult to retain, only two-fifths (40%) had undertaken any kind of retention initiatives.

Now, more than ever, with a labour market in flux due to Covid and Brexit, the report argued that organisations need to take a more strategic approach to resourcing.

This is key when to trying to train and reskill more domestic workers or increase routes into work for young people – both of which can take time and investment.

It is about finding solutions together… if recruiters are to shift the dial on any of the challenges posed by racial, gender and mobility services, it’s not going to be solved tomorrow”

My argument is that none of this is going to really stick if innovation – and essentially some level of risk – is not given a chance to make a difference. So, what can recruiters do?

In my experience, innovation is based on collaboration. It is about finding solutions together, and if recruiters are to shift the dial on any of the significant challenges posed by racial, gender and mobility services, it’s not going to be solved tomorrow.

My top tips for cultivating innovative thought are:

  • Get in a room: get your people together and talk
  • Cultivate honesty: be prepared to know what is really happening – this requires a dedication to openness and being ‘blame free’
  • Make mistakes: no one ever learned anything without screwing up
  • Put performance first: strive for excellence in all your endeavours
  • Allow ideas to rise above the day-to-day running of the business.
  • If you’ve developed solutions based on a position of strength and openness, you can start to build relationships based on creation and shared risk.

Sometimes you’ll win, sometimes you’ll lose. No one ever won the big prize by being faint of heart – we all need to have courage if we’re to solve what is arguably the most complex jobs market in living history.

Mike Beesley is founder, TIMESTWO Consulting

Image credit | Freia Turland

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