Unlocking HR innovation
Business is rapidly evolving, and companies that want to stay relevant are considering innovation—introducing new things and new methods—to be not just an important strategic element but a definitive part of the company’s culture and operations. With an increase in automated tasks, creativity in individuals is one of the most important future skills. Creating a culture of innovation and creativity can be more challenging in some companies than others and may take significant time and effort. But how does an HR team begin to enable this cultural shift?
One obvious way to enable a culture of innovation is to set aside time dedicated to innovating. This can, and should, be done at all levels of the organization and can be done in various ways. Below are some suggestions for providing time to your employees that might lead to a more innovative culture:
- Consider blocking off one day of the week to be meeting-free.
- Have discussions with managers about ways to make meetings more efficient and reduce the amount of time spent meeting formally.
- Allow and encourage employees to spend scheduled time doing something other than their day-to-day work.
- Schedule regular meetings dedicated to brainstorming.
Tell creative stories, and consider sponsoring idea-generation competitions. An important element of innovation is envisioning something new and acquiring something from somewhere else and adapting it to your company’s needs.
Employees may be inspired with new ideas based on customer feedback. Surveying customers who are both satisfied and dissatisfied with your company’s offerings can spark changes to both products and services as well as the methods and processes used to create and deliver.
Looking at the innovation efforts of other businesses can also provide helpful ideas. Some of these can be adapted to fit your company’s needs.
Doing some things differently can inspire employees to do more things differently. Work that is challenging and fresh allows employees to see things in new ways. Company cultures allow staff to spend time learning how to do jobs other than their own or observe and participate in other teams’ work, enable more idea-sharing, and provide opportunities for employees to think of and embrace new ideas.
Facilitating different types of collaboration can also provide employees with opportunities to innovate. Allowing flexibility with teams and projects can have high rewards as people can draw on synergistic forces to create new products and new paths forward.
Additionally, employees need to feel psychologically safe in their efforts to put forth new ideas. Fear of failure, fear of ridicule, and feeling unheard are major innovation killers. Creating a culture of openness and trust will provide more opportunities for people to think of and share new ideas.
Idea management software can also be of help in providing innovation opportunities.
Leaders, particularly people managers, can be trained to innovate and to facilitate innovation on their teams. Numerous frameworks can be adopted, including Design Thinking and Agile. Innovative culture flourishes when leaders are trained to look for problems and view them as opportunities for growth and improvement.
When innovative efforts are measured as part of the performance, employees are pointed to the value the organization assigns those efforts.
Also, spend time evaluating the systems that enable or inhibit creative, innovative thinking and implementation. Where are ideas coming from? Where are they nurtured, and where are they killed?
latest hiring trends
When hiring new employees, a key part of creating a culture of innovation is considering applicants who fit the company you are working to build, and perhaps not the culture as it stands. This can be challenging in the pandemic-affected world. The bulk of the hiring process is digital, and uncertainty still abounds concerning how companies will create strategies to take on the post-pandemic business scene.
As skills gaps increase, many employers increase retention by allowing employees to skill up both with soft skills and technical knowledge. Training initiatives tend to be less costly than recruiting, and can increase workplace morale—and in turn, your company’s innovation culture.
It is crucial to note that younger generation workers value diversity and inclusion as part of meaningful career experience. This priority will energize your organization. A diverse and inclusive workplace allows for more creativity and innovation—different perspectives build valuable opportunities for team building and positive change.