The IT skills shortage in Australia presents an ongoing challenge for businesses. While the government’s new Global Talent Scheme will alleviate the issue by bringing more talent into the country, factors such as company culture also play an increasingly significant role in attracting and retaining skilled IT professionals. However, creating a great culture requires leaders to look beyond the typical perks of the workplace and decide what they value most.

In 2005, my co-founder and I set out to create a new type of company – one that aimed to provide innovative solutions to business problems and an exciting, collaborative work environment for identity governance gurus. From start-up to fully fledged public tech company, creating a workplace where employees not only enjoy spending their time but also feel fulfilled and valuable has been central to our success, and innovation is a key part of this.

Culture is a living, breathing aspect of a business that develops and changes as it grows. It extends to how you work with customers and partners, and even how stakeholders and potential hires perceive you, which is why it is so important for attracting new talent. Because it impacts every aspect of the business, the intentional development of company culture cannot be underestimated or undertaken lightly.

The values of the company are also the foundation of its operations, as they will be used as the basis for your decision-making, including the employees you hire and leaders you choose to represent them.

At SailPoint, one of our core values is innovation, which is the DNA of our company. It drives many of the decisions we make and has proven to be both durable and scalable. In the tech industry especially, it is imperative that your business is focused on innovation.

Technology and markets can change radically over time, so the most important business asset you have is your people and their ability to innovate. Providing them with meaningful work helps them stretch their innovation muscles. Helping them succeed is an important mindset to adopt for a forward-thinking workforce with staying power.

Our people are at the heart of our innovation, so we encourage employee buy-in and loyalty. This is integral to the development of a team that is ready and willing to weather the inevitable storms that come with organisational change without letting the company’s innovation suffer. It also promotes freedom of ideas within the business that ultimately convert to business success. There’s no point hiring smart and talented people if you continually get in their way and prevent them from reaching their potential and pushing the business forward.

As culture grows and changes with the company, it also tends to evolve with the industry it is a part of, and vice versa. Innovation drives this evolution and growth, and takes the company along new and exciting trajectories that result in success, which is why it is such an important organisational value. However, companies often struggle to retain the innovative nature with which they began as a start-up or small business. So how do you continue to promote an innovative company culture as you grow?

SailPoint became a global leader because we continually listen to our customers and ensure we’re solving their problems. We do this by driving innovation within our current solutions, while also anticipating the future needs of our customers as their environments and demands continue to evolve. This strategy has served us well, and I’m confident it will continue to do so.

One of the ways we do this is by maintaining a close, ongoing communication with customers to find out what emerging identity challenges they’re facing, as well as what they see in their future. Continuing to reassess the challenges faced allows us to approach these problems with fresh eyes and to innovate time and again.

A company culture with innovation at its core is not only important for the happiness and wellbeing of the type of employees we hope to attract, but also for the success and longevity of the company itself. In a candidate-short environment, it is also an underlying promoter of retention and attracter of new talent.

Creating a culture of innovation begins with your core values, as these values will permeate your organisation and result in real outcomes like innovative thinking. Ensuring that you know what your core values are and that they align with your current and future business goals is the first step in building a winning company culture.