Most executives pay lip service to the need for talent-driven innovation in their companies, but many aren't driving the hiring and retention initiatives required to make it happen.
Why worry about this now, at a time when the job market remains weak and it's a buyer's market for talented people? Because one out of every two employees is thinking of leaving their company, and about 30% to 40% of the people who are thinking about leaving actually do leave, says Jeff Schwartz, a principal at Deloitte who leads the firm's talent management practice.
Deloitte is predicting a "resumé tsunami" over the next year as employees who've been waiting for the right time to jump to a new job finally make a move, either because they perceive the economy is getting a little better or because they're just tired of waiting.
That spells trouble for companies whose top-tier employees are their competitive edge. Those people are the most likely to leave as the economy improves, and they're going to be much harder to replace.
In a recent survey of 400 senior manufacturing executives, "talent-driven innovation" was identified as the top driver of competitive advantage at their companies. Although that survey, conducted by Deloitte and the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, was specific to manufacturing, the intersection of talent and innovation "is clearly a cross-industry concern," Schwartz says. But there's a gap between the priority companies are placing on talent and innovation and what they're actually doing to drive those two areas, he says.
In a Deloitte survey in November of 325 senior executives, 84% of respondents said innovation is important to their companies, but 57% acknowledged that they don't have a talent strategy in place to drive innovation. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said they're "developing one," Schwartz says. "That's like saying 'we must be doing it somewhere,'" he says. In other words, they really don't know if their company has such a strategy, and there's a good chance it doesn't.
In that same survey, 88% of respondents said they fear they wouldn't have the necessary talent to lead their innovation programs after the recession ends.