Industrial & Manufacturing – Engagement Through Innovation
By Cobi Busst
A new perspective on talent retention
It is no secret that the last few years have been particularly challenging for people within the building materials and wider industrial manufacturing sector. Even 2 years on from Covid the industry is still in a state of flux, with resource shortage, supply chain issues, the cost of energy, surging inflation and a challenging geo-political environment sapping the energy of teams. As a result, many leaders have been fighting fires rather than thinking strategically and taking a more holistic view of the market, looking at what opportunities lie beyond the turmoil.
Given this melting pot of disorder, it is no wonder engagement has plummeted. Top talent is leaving the industry, attracted by early retirement, a move into more innovative sectors or exciting start-ups. High calibre talent is moving out of the sector on an unprecedented scale.
The traditional leavers; salary, flexibility and benefits, aren’t as effective as they once were, principally because most organisations are pulling them at the same time. As a result, salaries have soared but productivity has receded and the increase in pay has done little for engagement.
What can we do?
Beaumont Bailey interviewed over 150 country leaders across the building materials and industrial manufacturing sector and identified a new lever for engagement: innovation. Organisations that empower local teams to innovate, and specifically seek out collaboration with other innovators, have dramatically improved engagement and reduced staff turnover compared with organisations that have centralised innovation.
Historically, organisations have sought to drive innovation through the creation of centralised Innovation Centres to act as a creative hub for new ideas. This centralised approach has meant that all the excitement of new collaborations, products and technologies has also been centralised. Therefore, local teams feel cut off from the future of the organisation.
Consequently, this approach has moved organisations away from where innovation is really happening, at the local level, with customers, partners and the supply chain. This has had the combined effect of stifling innovation whilst also removing an organisation’s most powerful engagement tool: the opportunity for its people to leave a legacy. We have found that making local teams accountable for driving the early stages of the innovation process improves innovation outcomes and provides a huge boost to engagement.
There will always be a place for centres of knowledge, which are excellent at allocating recourses and refining new products and technologies. As our research demonstrates however, local teams trusted to innovate are more engaged when handed the task of driving innovation with local customers, partners and the supply chain.
Share the responsibility for innovation, credit team members who identify and execute new innovations, and make innovation part of the organisations DNA. By bridging this gap, you can expect talent retention and even attraction to benefit. Remember, top performers want to leave a legacy, so let them.
Cobi Busst is an Associate in Beaumont Bailey’s Industrial & Manufacturing Practice. If you need support with your talent resourcing strategy, please get in touch with Cobi for a consultation at Cobi.email@example.com