UK employers aim to accelerate digital innovation, despite some cultural resistance

UK employers aim to accelerate digital innovation, despite some cultural resistanceThe way to measure an employer’s speed of innovation includes how they find talent, their appraisal process, how employees recommend the organisation they work for to others, and how much employees collaborate, claims a new European study by Cornerstone OnDemand and IDC. “Future Culture: Building a Culture of Innovation in the Age of Digital Transformation” explores the relationship between European organisations’ speed of innovation and talent management, with the research showing that firms with a steady stream of new products and services are more likely to have an ongoing feedback process with employees, rather than an annual performance review, while organisations with a slower rate of innovation often use coaching and mentoring to develop employees.

The study found that only 9 percent of British companies have not started their digital transformation, indicating that it’s a high priority in the region. Some challenges remain though, with cultural resistance to change being cited as the biggest digital transformation barrier for UK companies for the second year in a row. Optimistically, however, the proportion of companies citing it as a barrier to digital transformation has dropped from 43 percent in 2017 to 30 percent in 2018.

“Digital transformation continues to be an increasing priority for British companies, and their focus now is to ensure they have the resources, infrastructure, investment and people in place to continue making it successful in the region. While it may seem like a big task, we’re confident that with positive workforce sentiment increasing as Brexit uncertainty plateaus, UK companies will continue to realise successful digital transformation,” said Vincent Belliveau, executive vice president and general manager EMEA, Cornerstone OnDemand.

Additional barriers in the UK suggest that organisations are coming to terms with digital transformation, but that the challenges are shifting from strategic to executional. Other top barriers include a lack of internal innovation (21 percent), lack of financial resources (26 percent), insufficient partnerships (19 percent), and lack of available technology (20 percent).

The research also found:

  • British companies prioritise internal recruiting (53 percent) and job platforms (51 percent) in recruitment over other means such as university traineeship programs (37 percent). They also rank job skills (57 percent), education (41 percent), and problem-solving abilities (35 percent) as the most important recruitment criteria, suggesting they may favour traditional skill requirements.
  • On-the-job training is the most important employee development practice for both UK (46 percent) and European (49 percent) companies. However, British companies are more likely than European companies to leverage online courses for learning (32 percent vs 30 percent), suggesting that they may be slightly more advanced than European organisations in their adoption of digital learning tools and resources.
  • Positive workforce sentiment is increasing with 48 percent of respondents showing a positive sentiment towards their workplace compared to 41 percent in 2017 and 46 percent in 2016. Much of the sentiment increase from 2017 to 2018 was found to be due to greater positivity towards the attractiveness of the workplace and suggests that the dip in sentiment in 2017 may have resulted from a mix of the uncertainty in roles and sectors surrounding Brexit as well as the destabilising impact of digital transformation initiatives.

Read the report to find out more about what factors distinguish the different organisational archetypes, the impacts on speed of innovation, and the link to talent management in the age of digital transformation: Future Culture 2018: Building a Culture of Innovation in the Age of Digital Transformation.”