Innovation Top of Mind for India’s Business Community

Ask employees working for Indian firms what skills will be in most demand this year and their overwhelming response: Innovation. That’s according to Mercer’s 2018 Global Talent Trends Study. Those employees say that working with the best and brightest is what helps them thrive, more so than any other factor, even compensation.

A quick glance at this year’s Forbes Most Innovative Companies list confirms what many global business leaders already know: Indian businesses indeed are placing a high value on innovation, and it is paying off in sales and valuation.

Two of this year’s top 10 most innovative companies worldwide, as ranked by Forbes, are Indian firms, and a third is quickly making its way up the list. Hindustan Unilever and Asian Paints now rank seventh and eighth, respectively, up from 31st and 18th last year. And Bharti Airtel has joined at number 78 on the list of 100 most innovative businesses worldwide.

What’s driving India’s attention to innovation? Philippa Dods with Meltwater’s India team recently summed it up:

“The reality is that India’s economy has been painting an increasingly positive picture over the last couple of years. Everyone really sat up straight and listened properly when the figures reflected it – the national GDP of India showed an incredible growth rate of 7.5% in 2015, which earned it the title of the world’s fastest-growing economy. A major cause of the economic growth of any country is its industrial development, and India is no exception. Over the last few years, the nation has produced a number of start-ups and enterprises that are adopting innovative techniques, strategies and technologies to succeed.”

Innovation & Mobility Around the World

That quest for innovative and agile teams may be put to the test this year, however, as virtually every Indian business surveyed by Mercer is planning organizational redesign in the near term. Even so, Indian HR managers say they are confident in their ability to reskill current employees for new roles.

Recognizing their companies’ growing presence on the global market, India-based HR and mobility managers also will be looking for employees with a global mindset. In fact, the ability to think and work globally, they say, is the number one skill they are seeking in new hires this year. That’s not surprising given the broad reach of India’s multinational business community.

Related: India's Dispersed Workers Mean Large Talent Pool for Mobility Hires

Bharti Airtel, for example, has operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Asian Paints operates in 16 countries, has 25 global paint manufacturing facilities and serves consumers in more than 65 countries. And Hindustan Unilever’s 18,000 employees support its business across 190-plus countries worldwide.

The convergence of innovative minds and global thinkers may very well be the sweet spot for India’s high-performers going forward.

“Thriving employees are nine times more likely to work at a company that is committed to innovation,” the Mercer report notes, adding that employees in India (and China and Brazil) say their companies already are ahead of the curve.

In addition, the India data shows that thriving employees there are twice as likely to work for a company they feel has a strong sense of purpose. Couple that with recruiting and retaining employees who can connect with multiple cultures, and Indian firms can expect to continue to march up the ranks of the world’s best businesses.

Want to discover how mobility can help Indian and global companies grow and adapt to the changing business ecosystem? Join us for our upcoming India Global Mobility Summit in October. Register today to reserve your spot!

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