How Strategic HR Drives Innovation and Growth
Strategic HR significantly contributes towards improving innovation within an organisation, especially in start up companies. This department can manage and nourish an organisation’s talent management as well as its culture, to help it become innovative while maintaining the reliability and the excellence of its regular operational functions. All these factors are in fact much needed to be able to drive profitability and competitive advantage in today’s business world.
Very often we get to read and hear in the innovation press about new disruptive technologies being developed and applied to present day applications and new business models. Apart from this, we also get to hear about new technology firms being acquired to drive innovation. All these initiatives are nothing but solid business strategies. However, the failure rate of such efforts is often more than 70%. The failure rate of such efforts in case of start ups is around 90%.
The statistics stated above is no doubt an inseparable part of innovation. For a new technology or product to be launched, it takes around at least 100 trials before it is ready for the market. It often entails a lot of failures as well as learning before an innovation is ready to be used. It depends on a lot of factors. One such factor is a failing business strategy and secondly when an organisation does not have the right kind of talent management practices and a robust culture of innovation.
Empirical research has proved that an organisation which has both the factors described above, it leads to higher profits. It further proved that when an organisation has a strong culture of innovation, it leads to a greater degree of employee commitment towards achieving the organisational goal.
A lot of organisations have opted to outsource their extensive, repetitive processes in the domain of manufacturing, supply chain, and accounts receivable with an objective to do away with non-value added work, cut down costs, and reduce rework. While this initiative may have proved to be value for money for shareholders and often produced the better outcome for customers, unfortunately, it had its flip side as well. It also drove out the cultural support and the dedication towards innovation leaving these organisations with inadequate processes and innovation systems to create better services, products, and business models to augment the business.
We must acknowledge that strong financials and technology are not enough to help a business succeed. We cannot ignore the significance of the strategic HR tools which are indeed critical. Let’s take a look at seven strategic steps that Human Resources executives can adopt to drive organisational innovation and growth.
Strategic HR Roadmap towards Innovation and Growth
- The Strategic HR department has the edge to be able to influence how executives communicate to their employees regarding innovation. This communication needs to include exciting innovation projects that employees can be involved in and work upon as well. This type of initiative builds excitement amongst employees and also indirectly increases the retention level in employees with high potential. It is also important to provide regular updates on the progress of projects and also take the initiative of recognising the innovative employees and teams in ‘town hall’ meetings.
- Every organisation needs to encourage a dynamic culture of innovation that drives employees to collaborate, ideate, and promptly decide on the best innovations to work upon. With their group of organisational development professionals, the Strategic HR department can work towards improving the effectiveness of innovation teams by developing the behaviours and skills needed for innovation. Research has proved that while expertise, intelligence, and professional competence are significant, it is in fact collaboration and empathy that drives innovation, success, and speed. Innovation teams are much more successful when they have access to both internal as well as external experts. It’s a fact that teams that have better information flows, decision rights, and a clear understanding of roles are much more effective. The strategic HR department understands these dynamics quite well and can help to influence the organisational culture of a company.
- The HR department can act as the technology advocate regarding project management, collaboration, wiki storage, and analytics software which helps to enhance project management skills and analysis required for innovation projects.
- Organisations which dedicate themselves towards innovation often find that the skill profile of new hires has changed. They realise that they now need to hire employees with new technology skills and collaborative behaviours that will support and enhance innovation. This has changed how HR sources, hires, and onboard new talent.
- With time, HR leaders have realised the significance of promoting the organisation’s mission and goals to prospective employees. The Strategic HR department should also communicate across social media the areas of innovation and the leading edge of such innovative projects that new hires can work on. This can act as a powerful lure for potential employees.
- Organisations won’t be able to successfully drive innovation if they follow a top-down command and performance management system. Instead, organisations should consciously reward the skills and behaviours that support innovation. They can do so by continuing to focus on a conversation of collective accountability and Objectives Key Results.
- The objective behind any innovation is to develop new services, products, business models, and internal processes that drive profitability. Just as with any other business strategy, the HR’s strategies to drive innovation should have means of measuring the result in order to figure out what seems to be working and where changes need to be implemented.
As a Strategic HR Professional, driving your organisation to achieve competitive advantage through innovation, culture to support innovation and to hire, train and reward is a major undertaking. It can seem rather daunting at first, especially not knowing where exactly to begin. However, the most important first step is just that…taking that first step!