Innovation Requires Touch

John Whitaker Audacious Ideas, Employment Branding and Culture, FOT Reads, HR, HR (& Life!) Advice, Innovation, John Whitaker

Fancy yourself a recruiting innovator? Probably so if you’re stopping by a site like FOT, where the lunatic fringe is in full bloom. So many evolutionary thinkers here and so many great ideas, it’s easy to start feeling like you can change the world. And you’re convinced you’ve got the opportunity to make things happen for your employer. You hear leadership say the right things:

  • We want to be an employer of choice.”
  • An engaged workforce is a priority.
  • We want to be on the cutting edge with our recruiting processes.

And then your mind goes into hyperdrive. There’s no shortage of tools to improve your employer brand, improve your candidate experience, streamline the recruiting flow, increase employee engagement, implement a new SaaS, ATS, EDS, SOS, and LMS available. But there’s a good chance that none of it will matter.

Why? Because they aren’t ready.

It’s one of the great dichotomy’s—CEO’s, when surveyed, list creativity and innovation as the number 1 and 2 needs of the organization. On the flip side, the same group, when surveyed, will tell you the organization is weakest in those same two areas. They need it, they want it, but they still don’t have it. Why?

  • It’s lip service. Just saying it doesn’t make it real. Despite what many leaders say, innovation means disruption. Investments and resources are seen as “expenses;” changes in BAU threaten the status quo. Face it, nobody is going to say, “We don’t want innovative ideas!” but look around you—is change an accepted practice for your employer? If you are an innovator and you exist in a change-adverse environment, your tenure will be short and frustrating.
  • You were TOO ambitious. You don’t show a caveman a microwave, so slow your roll a bit. Your leadership team may be considering some innovative change; getting small agreements (closes) along the way helps build up the comfort level of your audience. No sudden movements—you don’t want to frighten the bunny away.
  • You didn’t do your homework. What questions do you expect, and how do you plan to address them? How well do you know your audience? What do you expect the objections to be? Do you have an internal champion, a confederate, a silent vote in the room? Depending on the size of the idea you’re attempting to implement, you never walk into that office without some internal support.

Some of you (present company included) are born dreamers. You can see your ideas in practice and remain absolutely convinced that your recommendations will work. Careful that your presumption of your brilliance doesn’t instead frustrate you to the point of distraction. It happens, right?

Not everyone is going to “get it.” Be prepared to spoonfeed some people, be rejected by others, and even ignored by those in the position of making a decision. It takes a certain touch to be an innovator, so proceed with purpose and discretion.