Equality means more innovation, according to Accenture’s 2019 “Getting to Equal” report — and innovation is more important now than ever. According to the firm's research, the global GDP would increase by up to $8 trillion by 2028 if the innovation mindset in all countries was raised by 10 percent. And creating healthy workplace cultures may be the key to this increase in productivity.
An innovation mindset is “a new way to measure an individual’s ability and willingness to innovate.”
Accenture found that when it comes to driving innovation, even increasing pay is less effective than building an equal culture. In fact, the innovation mindset is six times higher in the most-equal cultures than in the least-equal ones. And that makes sense. Employees in the most-equal cultures see fewer barriers to innovating and are less afraid to fail, traits that money can’t buy. But what is an “equal” culture, and how can organizations foster it?
Based on Accenture’s research, a culture of equality has three pillars: an empowering environment, bold leadership and comprehensive action. An empowering environment is exactly what it sounds like: a place that trusts employees, respects individuals and offers the freedom to be creative and flexible. Bold leadership requires a diverse leadership team that sets, shares and measures its equality targets openly. And comprehensive action requires policies and practices that are family-friendly, and support all genders in attraction and retention efforts.
The research suggests that “eight of the 10 strongest factors underpinning innovation are about empowerment.” There are four ways the firm suggests building an empowering environment of your own:
1. Get clear on purpose: Make sure that employees know the purpose of your organization and how their day to day aligns with it.
2. Fiercely promote flexible working: Promote a healthy work-life balance by having your leadership team set a good example. Additionally, invest in technology that allows employees to dictate when and how they work.
3. Train effectively: Offer employees training programs that are flexible and engaging to foster a feeling of empowerment around career development.
4. Let people be themselves: Don’t ask employees to conform when it comes to appearance, for example, or to other aspects of identity; encourage every form of inclusion.
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