Retain Talent By Driving Innovation From Within

Originally posted on 11/14/19

Capital Innovators is a St. Louis-based organization that provides top-ranked accelerator programs, venture fund management, and corporate innovation. It manages funds focused on technology, consumer products, and energy technology and sources the most cutting-edge startups from around the globe for investment and assists in scaling its companies to success. Capital Innovators Accelerator program has been ranked as one of the top Accelerators for the last 5 years, having invested in over 130 companies.

Did you know 49% of millennials report they plan on quitting their job in the next 2 years? A big reason for this is because they don’t feel like their employer is open to listening to their ideas and trying new things. The cost to replace a highly-trained employee can exceed 200% of their annual salary, which is expensive for an organization when there are methods to retain this talent. With the younger generation demanding new work standards, companies need to evolve if they want to keep their best people that will grow with them for the long-term. One of the best ways to solve this problem is by driving internal innovation.

We are seeing two trends stand out amongst corporations: 1) Some corporations are moving fast to enable innovation from within, and 2) Other corporations are losing their best talent to fast-moving startups, which is costing them millions in replacement expenses (not to mention time). Employees are starving for their ideas to be heard and an opportunity to see these ideas through to commercialization. A lot of organizations have innovation departments, but they lack a structured process to enable innovation by leveraging employee concepts. A structured framework not only supports your employees for thinking outside the box, but it also encourages it and makes your talent feel better about voicing their innovations.

A few strategic points to consider when crafting your internal innovation program are as follows:

  • Develop a process for how employees voice their ideas and solutions and how they are collected
  • Develop a diligence process that thoroughly reviews the concepts for selection
  • Develop a program with a specific timeline for building and testing these concepts
  • Develop a training protocol for your employees so they understand how to proceed through the program effectively
  • Define specific metrics for each concept through the program that are measurable and hold employees accountable on a weekly basis for their progress
  • Bring in experts in entrepreneurship to mentor the teams scaling the concepts
  • Reward your employees for their successes and create incentives that push them to drive innovation and efficiency to the best of their ability

Leveraging these points, an organization can begin to structure a methodical engine for internal innovation. The benefits of this include enhancing corporate culture, retaining your best employees, accelerating commercialization of new products, saving money on research and development, up-skilling your employees to boost creativity and efficiency, and drive long-term revenue and growth for your business.

It is not always easy to structure an internal innovation process that will be successful, so we recommend using an outsourced innovation partner to help structure and run your program. Leveraging an experienced firm will help you save time, money and learnings that may take you years to uncover. Capital Innovators has been running innovation programs for a decade and we know exactly what corporations need to succeed. Learn more about our Corporate Intrapreneurship programs and contact us to explore how we can help you keep your rock star employees and create lasting growth through internal innovation.