Innovation Internal or ExternalInnovation is a hot topic across the Middle East, and nearly all governments are setting up National Strategies and Ministries in its name. At the business level, senior leaders long for their products or services to be more innovative than their competitors. But what does it take to be innovative? Can it be achieved in-house, or must it be brought in from external providers? 

The answer is a bit of both. But often in this region, many lean toward external providers. They feel the need to do what someone else is doing rather than find their own unique path. What does this say about the leadership’s trust in the strength and capability of its own people?

Developing a culture of grassroots innovation should be high on the agenda for all business leaders. Shaping an idea from infancy to implementation is truly inspirational and a great motivator for the workforce. To achieve this, you must have the right people in the right jobs – and you must create an atmosphere that is conducive to creativity, collaboration and thought leadership. The responsibility for this largely falls on the shoulders of the Talent Acquisition (TA) function. It must be firing on all cylinders as it serves as the engine room by which a company attracts the talent required to fuel creativity, innovation and therefore growth. All too often, the TA function is overlooked as being “good enough” or not in as much need for investment as other parts of the business.

But “good enough” never works when it comes to people – the life blood of an organization. A company's ability to innovate and beat its competitors is linked to the quality of its people. While it is difficult to criticize your own TA teams and practices, especially when they have proven successful in the past, you should not be afraid to critique and assess them as this is the only way to promote continued improvement and prevent stagnation.

Let us not forget TA is evolving fast. Fifteen years ago, no one could have predicted the technologies that have become ingrained into our everyday life and business. Think back to the year 2000. Most of today’s social media and digital engagement networks did not even exist. What worked before is probably not really working now, and definitely will not work tomorrow. So HR leaders, bang the drum and make sure you and your team get the investment you need to help the company innovate, outperform competitors and grow.

To help identify where investment needs to go, there are tools such as Recruitment Diagnostics, Digital Audits and EVP Awareness programs deployed by Recruitment Process Outsourcing providers that do this work for you. Benchmarking your current state against industry standards and norms, we help our clients develop a roadmap for improvement, which can subsequently be implemented by Cielo or in-house by your own resources. Either way, the important thing is that this investment is minimal and the benefits of having an on-point, up to date and strategically led TA team means all the ingredients are there for a truly creative and innovative business to flourish.

Post contributed by Tom Bolton, Solutions Manager. Connect with him on LinkedIn.