Talent acquisition can inspire innovation in hybrid work environment

How can innovation occur in a remote environment?

When it comes to innovation, organisations have both “lost and gained” from enforced remote working that resulted from the global Covid-19 pandemic, a panel of talent and tech specialists have agreed at the recent ERUPT virtual conference.

The concept of the legendary chance meetings at water coolers and coffee stations that prompt collaboration among colleagues is often used as a key argument to encourage workers back to the offices.

However, with remote and hybrid working appearing set to stay, panellists said, organisations must now define how innovation occurs in a remote environment, and how to define culture within a remote organisation.

Speaking on a theme of the impact of mass-scale remote working on innovation, the three-member panel consisted of Soeren Winter, talent acquisition for home e-commerce retailer Wayfair, growth and innovation consultant Naomi Timperley and Mischa Walmsley, senior talent partner at Element.

“A lot of businesses for the last 18 months have been forced to innovate… even like the local restaurant on the High Street or the local shop,” Timperley said. “What’s been truly amazing is seeing people that have had no choice, they’ve had to innovate. I think I’ve seen a really big rise in people coming together and collaborating. But that all comes from conversation and yes, you can do that online – but those conversations also sometimes happen better offline as well.”

The role that innovation plays in an organisation and who is expected to be innovative within the business will influence the impact of remote working on innovation, Winter said. “Are you in a business where everybody can innovate? While we have a large population of employees who just need to do their job in a certain environment… I believe that everybody should be able to innovate because everybody knows their area and their responsibilities best,” he went on to say.

“But then to have a team that actually enables and uncovers innovation is going to go on and inspire others to innovate as well,” Winter said.

A talent acquisition (TA) function has the responsibility of being able to identify such characteristics as an entrepreneurial mindset that may reveal a person’s ability to innovate, panellists said, with Walmsley saying he believed the TA and people teams to be the “cultural guardians for any organisation”.

Added Winter: “I think that… talent acquisition can play a very instrumental role in the innovation space in organisations.”

ERUPT is the knowledge-sharing channel of the Business Transformation Network, part of Annapurna Recruitment.

Image credit | iStock

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