Human Resource Management

A guide to Transformation for Innovation

HR Leadership - Organizational Learning - Collaboration - Talent Acquisition - Hiring for Innovation - Talent Management and Retention

Paradoxically, the truly human skills, from leadership to creativity, will remain highly relevant and winning organizations will strike the right balance – leveraging the best of technology to elevate, not eliminate their people.
— Ellen Shook, Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer, Accenture

If innovation is the machine that advances society, perhaps ideas are the lubricant that keeps it humming. Break-through concepts and discoveries are not generated from automated systems, intelligent engineering, or robotics, and machines cannot completely replace the human element that creates them.

But the increasingly tech-driven environment is creating complexities for HR department managers. The implications of cloud-based storage and the security of personal information, the technical complexities of bring-your-own devices for remote workers, the expansive scope of new solutions for recruitment and talent management – these factors can deter companies from selecting better HR systems and implementing better HR strategies.  

For ideas and innovation competitiveness, a progressive HRM strategy designed with the future in mind is crucial. But according to Deloitte, only 20 percent of business executives believe HR is adequately planning for their companies’ future HR and talent needs.

This guide hopes to alleviate some of the concerns of HR professionals and decision makers to simplify the modern HR landscape.

Digital solutions & hr strategy

Disruption is occurring in the world of work, and HR departments are responding. According to Deloitte, in 2016, three-quarters of executives polled considered digital HR a top priority. Over 40 percent were instituting mobile device-based HR systems, 60 percent were developing mobile apps to integrate back-office systems, and over 50 percent were using social networks in proprietary internal apps for recruitment and employee profile management.

The disruption is also concretely manifested in labor market trends. For example, remote work is no longer a rarity, and the gig economy is booming. Blockchain technology has made its mark, and the sudden demand for cryptocurrency skills in the wake of the precarious bitcoin bubble is evidence of financial disruption on a global scale.

For HR executives, digital solutions are vital artillery in a tightening labor market where the opponents on the field are fierce. Unemployment was at a 17-year low in 2017, and skilled workers will be increasingly hard to find

Ask any HR executive worth their salt what solutions and strategies they use, and they may list new tech tools for search and aggregation, gamification strategies, and interview bots. They might even agree that new technology has made their jobs even more time-consuming and complex. Consider that recent HR trends for forward-looking companies include real-time engagement evaluation and employee wellness apps.

And so, the madness escalates.

Why Transform?

In the future, human capital may influence corporate sustainability in one of two ways: it will either be an invaluable asset to organizational prosperity or a debilitating liability to organizational growth. The outcome depends on the efficacy of a firm’s talent management. In 2016, the median number of years that a salaried worker had been with their current employer was 4.2 years, and the trend in tenure duration continues downhill.

HR’s role is critical to sustaining a proprietary knowledge advantage; a holistic reorientation of all HR components is vital for finding, retaining, and optimally using talent.

HR leadership, in its new, ideal form, should be focused on the employee. In other words, the employee experience is now the measure of HR success. Leaders must have the ability to listen, the willingness to meet employee’s needs, and the courage to change according to predicted trends. Done right, leadership brings innovation and market dominance within reach.

Talent management encompasses recruiting, retaining, and developing human capital. Such a broad agenda can only be fulfilled by leveraging new processes and systems. A reputation for superior talent management is a great attractor and can bring the best employees to your front door. Done right, you get the best talent the market has to offer.

Employee engagement is the antecedent for innovation. According to TalentMap, for the top 10 percent of organizations with high levels of engagement, 80 percent of their employees rate their employer highly with respect to innovation. Done right, employees are on board with the mission and keen to deliver.

Recruitment is less a time-sensitive search and more an ongoing process of branding, marketing, and relationship building to attract talent. There are new and better ways to recruit, which are more conducive to creating an innovation-ready team. Done right, a revolving door becomes a single-entry injector.

Employee innovation is the result of an HRM strategy with a vision in which the employee is front and center. Leadership keeps the ship on course and trusts the crew to do its job.

Which brings us to the ultimate purpose of human resource management: building the capacity to innovate.

The Precursor to Transformation

“Turned on people figure out how to beat the competition, turned off people only complain about being beaten by the competition.” – Ben Simonton, Leadership Coach, Simonton Associates & Leadership Science TV.

Despite dynamic change and digital transformation, the starting point for HR for innovation is significantly less sexy. It is not major investment in the latest, greatest digital solutions but a bare-bones approach to organizational culture.

A strong culture is one where employees have a “can do” attitude. It is one where employees are onboard and enthusiastic about change. This is the breeding ground for creativity and innovation. Developing a culture and reputation that employees are happy to shout about requires nurturing positivity and accountability.

Getting to HR Transformation for Innovation

While plenty of research spells out the need for companies to reorient and embrace the digital age, few resources guide the small- and mid-size business HR actors in their HRM strategies.

How does a business take the plunge and emerge on the other side with a strong HR tech infrastructure and a workforce ripe for growth? Where does a business start? How, exactly, should it allocate resources? How can a company assess the risk implications?

This series of articles addresses the key components of HR and provides a practical guide to preparing for the future and all its uncertainties. These articles will explain how to build and lead a digital HR culture, and how to rethink talent management, employee engagement, recruitment, and employee innovation.

We provide what you need to know to mitigate the madness of today and tomorrow’s HRM. Read on for more insights.

HR Leadership: How Intelligent HRM Leadership Can Give Employees The Freedom To Innovate

An organization chock-full of the brightest employees in the world can be undermined by bad leadership. What does good leadership look like? How has leadership changed from command-and-control ideologies? This article answers these questions with a focus on empowering employees.

Organizational Learning For Innovation – It’s Mobile, Agile, And Visual

This is the second article in a six-part series on HR for innovation and, specifically, organizational learning. Here we discuss why employee learning is so critical and introduce the latest strategies and tools that are being implemented by leading organizations.

Could This Be the Greatest Era for Innovation? HR Strategies for Collaboration in the New Organization

This is the third article in a series of six on HR for tomorrow’s corporations. This article discusses why collaboration both internally and externally is the cornerstone of a dynamic and creative workforce and how digital tools can complement a transformation.

Talent Acquisition: Avoiding the Trickle-down Effect and Focusing on the Candidate Experience

This is the fourth article in a series of seven on HR for tomorrow’s corporations. Here, we discuss talent acquisition and the hidden costs of bad hiring and vacancies.

Hiring for Innovation - courting the candidate

This is the fifth article in a series of six on HR in the digital age. Here, we complement the previous content on retention and talent management, “Talent Acquisition: Avoiding the Trickle-down Effect and Focusing on the Candidate Experience,” and focus on the latest tools for hiring and interviewing today’s candidates.

Talent Management for innovation: You Can’t Develop Talent if You Can’t Retain It

The last in a series of six, this article discusses talent management – specifically, retention. The employment climate has become fiercely competitive, and managing, retaining, and developing talent is crucial to achieving competitive innovation for the future.

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