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Irish Business Leaders - Create the Right Culture or be Left Behind, Warns Microsoft


A new report commissioned by Microsoft reveals insights into the future of work in organisations in Ireland:

  • 76% with strong innovative digital cultures expect double digit growth in next five years.
  • 76% of business leaders see having an innovative culture as key to retaining talent. Despite this, only one third of business leaders see getting culture right as their number one priority.
  • 79% of employees intend to remain in their jobs where there is an innovative culture.
  • Innovative cultures empower 66% of employees to share ideas, with 60% finding it easier to collaborate.
  • 71% of employees working in an innovative culture are more likely to speak up if there is an issue at work.
  • 60% of Irish employees lose 61% of their time to interruptions, including inefficient meetings, calls, and emails.
  • Full report for Ireland can be downloaded here:

Dublin 30th January 2020: Irish organisations undergoing major transformation need to develop a strong innovative culture to ensure growth, attract and retain talent, and empower employees to be more productive.

These are the findings from new research commissioned by Microsoft which included 9,000 employees and managers across 15 European countries, including 600 respondents in Ireland. This is the latest in Microsoft’s ongoing research into the future of work, that explores the role of technology and digital culture in successful Digital Transformation.

In previous Microsoft research, in 2018, the findings showed that a Digital Culture is a crucial element to enable employees to be innovative, engaged, and productive. At that time, 84% of employees felt their company had a weak digital culture and therefore, not surprisingly, 93% of Irish employees working in a weak digital culture felt they had low productivity.

This latest research builds on this by looking at the importance of innovative cultures within organisations to enable employees to be more productive. An Innovative Culture is where new approaches to problems are welcome, and where new ideas get support and employees feel empowered to raise issues or make mistakes.

Managing Transformation
The research showed that 93% of Irish organisations (92% across the EU) have faced changes in the past few years to their business models, products, business strategy or regulatory environment.

The research examined the challenges facing business leaders and the need to develop an innovative culture to drive successful change and growth. In fact, leaders see cultural change as their number-one challenge in driving transformation.

However, in Ireland only one third of business leaders see getting their organisation’s culture right as their number one priority.

Innovative Culture as a Tangible Advantage
The report highlighted that culture is not just about values and processes - the best way to change culture is to change the way people work together. The research shows the crucial role that an innovative culture can play when it comes to an organisation’s growth and how it can help win the war for talent:

  • Cultural Growth: The research found that 76% of Irish companies that have successfully created an innovative culture are more than twice as likely to expect double business digit growth in the next five years compared to competitors with less innovative cultures. In fact, 89% of Irish organisations with a low innovative culture did not predict the same level of growth.
  • War for Talent: Companies with innovative cultures are also positioned to win the war for talent, with 79% of their employees planning to stay in their jobs – versus just 62% of those working in less innovative cultures.

Three Steps to Creating an Innovate Culture within Irish Organisations
The report outlined three key steps Irish business leaders can take to create an innovative culture across their organisation.

Step 1: Collaboration: Tear down silos & build bridges
The research found that innovative companies are more focused on ensuring teams collaborate well together and that employees working in different parts of the organisation can easily share information and collaborate with both their partners and customers.

In Ireland, 71% of business leaders in an organisation with an innovative culture see overall collaboration as crucial, versus 49% of companies without this type of culture. In particular, 86% of Irish business leaders see collaborating across teams as critical, with 81% in high innovative cultures claiming that collaboration with external partners is vital to their business. By contrast, only 42% of leaders in low innovative said they see value in working with external partners.

In innovative cultures 66% of employees are empowered to share ideas, with 60% finding it easier to collaborate.

Step 2: Empower teams and create a learning culture
Employees working in an innovative culture are more likely to say that teams are empowered by leadership to make decisions, that they have the space to tackle challenges in their own way, and 70% say that making mistakes is okay.

In Ireland, 71% of employees working in an innovative culture feel it is ok to speak up if there is an issue at work. As well as this, 68% claim that it is easy to get support when required. By contrast, only 50% feel it is easy to speak up or make a mistake in an organisation with a low innovative or learning culture.

Step 3: Eliminating Technostress, protect attention and promote efficiency
Employees that feel they are able to work in a way where they can focus all of their energy on the task at hand are three times more likely to say they are happy with their job.

Digital Distraction an early warning sign of Technostress
However, 60% of Irish employees feel they are losing up to 61% of their time every week due to things like unnecessary interruptions (24%), inefficient meetings (15%), searching for information, (12%) or seeking approvals (12%). Surprisingly, only 13% of employees admit to losing time due to self-digital distraction (e.g. scanning social media during work hours). Digital distraction was identified in previous Microsoft research as one of the symptoms of ‘Technostress’, whereby in poor digital cultures, workers suffer burnout because, they feel tethered to the job around-the-clock.

However, when managers empower their employees in an innovative culture through technology and giving them space, Irish employees report a 36% reduction in time lost.

“Two years ago, Microsoft Ireland demonstrated the positive impact of strong digital culture, which enables employees to do and achieve more within organisations,” said Aisling Curtis, Commercial Director at Microsoft Ireland.

“For successful business growth, Irish business leaders must create a culture that empowers employees to innovate and collaborate both internally and externally with partners. More importantly, they need to give them the freedom to focus, make mistakes, and speak up if there is an issue. This will not only drive growth but help retain the best talent and attract future employees that can drive an organisation forward in an age of transformation.”


About Microsoft Ireland:
Microsoft Ireland employs over 2,000 people representing over 70 different nationalities operating out of One Microsoft Place, the company’s campus in Leopardstown, Dublin and our Data Centre in Dublin. At Microsoft, the company has a mission to empower every person and organisation to do and achieve more, not just here in Ireland, but right across the world. From software development, Microsoft International Operations, Finance, HR and Digital Sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Ireland Sales and Marketing, we have an ambition to help everyone, through the power of technology, to achieve theirs.

Notes to editors

For further information, please contact:
• Cyril Moloney, Teneo, 016342509, 0860479462,
• Adrian Lewis, Teneo, 016342589, 0830640735,
• Darina Sexton, Microsoft Ireland, 0877753000,