A study by Ernst & Young found that nearly 70% of employees would leave their job for an organization they thought was an innovation leader, while more than half of their respondents said that they’re still focused on busy work and the daily grind rather than more strategic or innovative work.

“From a talent perspective, companies are missing potential opportunities to engage their people [in innovation] and leaving themselves exposed,” said Carolyn Slaski, Ernst & Young’s Americas Vice Chair of Talent.

With the onset of the “Great Resignation” and other external influences, companies are generally finding it more difficult to entice new talent. Finding ways to differentiate from other organizations can mean the difference between attracting the best employees and remaining in open-position limbo.

So what can research organizations do to differentiate?

5 ways to innovate your research organization

1. Open-minded leadership.

A culture of innovation must start at the top and filter down to include every member of the organization. Leadership teams must be open to new technology and innovative solutions, and continually seek ways to improve existing processes. They also must remain open and curious about new ideas and foster a strong culture of continuous improvement and feedback.

2. Comprehensive innovation metrics.

If you’re going to encourage and incentivize innovation, you must be able to track outcomes. Ensure you have the technology to support innovative processes — and the analytics to track the results. Develop a comprehensive system for tracking and incentivizing strategic work.

3. Shared understanding of innovation and goals.

While leadership buy-in is key to success, it’s equally important to ensure the organization is aligned as well. Communication is key. Be sure to engage with various members of the organization to develop a shared set of goals as well as a shared understanding of innovation in your organization’s culture.

4. Innovation-friendly processes.

Many organizations have developed “asynchronous work,” which allows employees more flexibility to determine when and where they work. Even if your research administration can’t do this, there are many ways to develop processes that encourage strategic thought and innovation. The foundation of innovation-friendly processes is integrated, connected technology that enables employees to collaborate and work seamlessly, without getting bogged down and burned out.

5. Innovative technology and tools.

Developing a culture of innovation also encompasses the technology and tools available to employees. These solutions enable teams to remove some of the barriers to creative ideation, enabling them to focus on process improvement rather than mere survival.

Innovation and employee retention through technology

Managing research administration with legacy systems, paper files, and disconnected spreadsheets can be exhausting and takes time away from more strategic and meaningful work. The Cayuse research suite aims to resolve these issues by simplifying workflows and boosting efficiency, collaboration, and compliance.

By adopting new technology, research organizations can expect improvements in:

  • Efficiency. Reduce busy work by employees, get processes completed faster, and keep everyone up to date in real time. Reducing administrative burden is a huge factor for employee well-being and satisfaction.
  • Flexibility and agility. With a cloud-based software solution, your team can access the information they need from anywhere at any time. Additionally, teams can easily cross-train and adapt to changing needs.
  • Visibility and transparency. A unified platform gives leadership insight into every stage of a project: pre-award, post-award, risk management, resource allocation, and more.
  • Reduced errors. Integrated technology helps unify your data, reduce errors, and eliminate mistakes like duplications. It also helps you adhere to protocols and mitigate risk.

Gina Hedberg, Director of the Office of Sponsored Projects at the University of South Alabama, described how the Cayuse research suite boosted her organization’s processes and outcomes: “We aren’t searching for the latest copy of something; we aren’t looking for something that perhaps was received in the department but not centrally. We’re able to capture that all together. We’re able to go to that one site, that one venue, for whatever we need.”

To learn more about the leading innovations in research and research administration, follow us on LinkedIn and subscribe to our blog.