What is HR innovation?
Innovation and creativity play a vital role in Human Resources to meet the ever-evolving needs of its workforce and organization. It is a key role of HR to develop and experiment with ideas that can bring a change for the better. It’s about having an eye for detail and taking a sustainable approach to deal with varied situations.
5 steps to unlocking innovation in the Organization
Adoption of unique ways of recruitment
The recruitment chatbots can be used by HR to hire candidates. The use of Artificial Intelligence in recruitment is one of the innovative ways to help the recruiters to focus on other administrative tasks, by asking screening questions, answering ‘FAQs’, and streamlining the process. The utilization of this method can be a real boost for your candidate experience and satisfaction. A chatbot is never out of the office and it always responds.
The traditional way of recruiting a candidate is not beneficial in many instances because it ultimately devours innovation. If a person matches 100 per cent of the job description then he would not be able to manifest creativity, says Braden Kelley, author of Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire (2010).
A workspace should not lack space
The constricted office space quite often disrupts the thinking capabilities of the employees and thus, it fails to create any space for a creative notion to survive.
Apart from desks, chairs, and monitors, there should be comfortable couches and coffee tables where people can discuss and deliberate upon specific ideas and give them a chance to thrive. The bulletin boards and whiteboards can be manifested in a way by using stick notes and scrum to depict an idea.
There should be a small library wherein people can read for a while and spend some time stimulating their thought processes. A small idea can be adopted and implemented to attain some sustainability in office space.
Senior executives and managers should be trained to be better listener and they must have a knack for adopting and implementing innovative methods in running their companies. As a general rule, senior leaders and managers know how to deal with risk, so they adopt such plans which encompass less risk.
On the contrary, it is important to be open to risk and ambiguity to give a chance for an idea to thrive. Innovation does not come without taking a risk and thus, it is important to know that minimization of risk is not the primary objective.
There must be a deliberation on the specific notion so that it can get some boost. It has been stated many times that where there is no open discussion there is no space for an idea to grow. When thought-provoking questions are raised in a discussion, it further leads to research and clarity.
Roles can be exchanged by the employees to promote healthy learning. For instance, BetterUp offers “experimentation office hours” to enable the employees and staff members to adapt to new roles for a temporary period. Let’s take an example wherein the company’s data analytics team makes itself available to teach others how to design business experiments.
Mental Health is everything
Amidst workload and stress, employees quite often forget about the work-life balance which they need in life. It has been proven that stress and anxiety hinder the performance of an individual in all aspects, causing him to be absent-minded and delusional most of the time. Thus, to eliminate such issues, employers have resorted to the concept of ‘mental health coaching’.
Birgit Lundgren, Head of Clinical Services at the Mental Health and Employee Wellbeing consultancy Validium, says that ‘One big innovation is the introduction of Mental Health coaching in the companies.’ Clinical experts at Validium play a key role in providing one-to-one coaching and apprising the patients how bad mental health is affecting their overall health and exhausting them both physically as well as mentally. For instance, lack of social interaction and a perpetual feeling of anxiety and loneliness might affect the person immensely and they may be at a greater health risk than they would be if they smoked 15 cigarettes in a day.
The mental health coach plays an inherent role in recovering the mental health back to normal status by suggesting some effective stress releasing techniques of meditation or perhaps by simply creating a specific goal wherein the objectives are underlined and worked upon. The coach further ascertains what’s hindering the individual from performing in his company and work accordingly to restore his/her mental health.
Promotion of congenial and creative work environment
It must always be remembered that a congenial and creative work environment pays off really well. Too much immobility and disapproval often lead to demotivation and disinterest. There must be a recreational area for the employees where they can brainstorm their ideas with mindfulness and precision.
Another way through which creativity can be augmented is by sharing stories that led to the creation of the company. The stories play an important role in influencing its employees to work hard and take the company one step further. The HR can choose to tell stories through a case study presentation, newsletter, or during training sessions.
The stories of failure can be set up as an example for the members of the company so that they do not tread on the same path and make the same mistakes. It can be reframed and told as a tale for learning purposes.
Why adapting to innovations is essential for HR?
As a general rule, HR is primarily responsible for driving an organization’s competitiveness by recruiting the right kind of people for its work. With the incessant rise in the number of applications, it becomes really difficult for HR to pick and choose the right kind of applications manually, and thus here it becomes important for HR to adopt innovative methods to maintain the driving force of the company.
For instance, HR can adopt the “Applicant Tracking System” to streamline the applications with the requirements of the company. Understanding the needs of the company and aligning the same with the resume of the applicant can be a daunting task especially when the number of applicants keeps increasing. Over 90% of Fortune 500 Companies use an Applicant Tracking System to ease their recruitment procedure.
Jack Philips, co-author of The Value of Innovation states that the advent and applicability of fresh ideas are mainly responsible for the long-term survival of the organization. He argues that the century-old companies such as 3M and Johnson & Johnson’s survival are mainly due to the implementation of innovative ideas.
Furthermore, the digitalization of the Human Resource department has led to immense growth in this sector. Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Algorithms have become an essential tool in terms of unburdening the works of HR as it provides an automated Chatbot and other software for handling the applications in bulk. Therefore, it makes HR services more efficient.
How HR leaders can adapt to uncertain times?
With the arrival of Pandemic in 2020, it has impacted the functioning of HR immensely by hurling challenges toward the leaders compelling them to think out of the box and redesign working patterns, promote health hygiene in the office space by resorting to COVID guidelines, and handling layoffs and retrenchment. In other words, HR’s have played a very critical role in the survival of the companies during such hard times.
Sue Bingham in a recent article published in “Harvard Business Review”, lays down a significant key point that to maintain the efficiency of the HR leaders in this new normal, they must develop a “complexity mindset”. The author asks us to embrace complexity consciousness. Adopting this type of mindset begins by admitting that complexity exists and needs to be handled innovatively and with ingenuity.
Bingham further emphasizes the utilization of collective intelligence of the employees in this framework suggested by James Surowiecki in his book “The Wisdom of Crowds.” The elements of the workforce, i.e., employees have been situated at the top of the pyramid and deemed as a smart and trustworthy one who knows their job better than their leaders. Independent and unbiased opinion helps in the growth of collective intelligence.
Moreover, it is indispensable to create a favourable environment in this difficult time to help in the development of trust and goodwill. Trust holds a firm place in grappling with uncertainty.
Adopting such a mindset will help HR leaders to make better decisions and it will further help them to strengthen their management skills. It will also assist them in crafting a strategy for performance management for remote workers. In a way, it will be a boon for the Human Resources leaders because they will prepare themselves for future demands.