In today’s digital age, the new corporate mantra is ‘innovate and adapt’. A growing number of organisations are coming to realisation that they must respond with agility in dynamic business environment to survive and are prioritising innovation to sustain business growth and performance. Similarly, employees also have a growing thirst for innovation and the strategies to achieve this are increasingly becoming more people-focussed.
Interestingly, while innovation is a key priority for businesses across the globe, many organisations are still not walking the talk. Recent PageUp research supported by Alexander Mann Solutions found that organisations in Asia are less prepared than their global peers when it comes achieving this sustainably. The HR function is well-positioned to establish the culture and structural foundations for innovation to flourish as well, as the talent management practices to support this.
Here are three key steps for HR professionals to unlock the doors for corporate innovation success:
The goal here is to democratise innovative actions and practices by encouraging company-wide commitment when it comes to idea generation, collaboration and creativity. It’s also important to celebrate risk and failure alongside performance and results.
Former Group Executive of HR at Seven West Media, Melanie Allibon, highlights that their culture is based on “failing fast” and “passion and energy” which collectively drives great ideas through to completion.
We’re seeing that most organisations are encouraging innovation as a corporate value, but for more than half (52%), this isn’t underpinned by a culture that promotes risk-taking behaviour. HR can address this disconnect through learning, performance management, diversity of thinking and leadership.
Innovation and creativity is a skill-set that can be taught. HR should be focused on creating a learning culture and recruiting people with learning agility or providing learning experiences like secondments. HR can also help support “test and learn” practices by investing in mobile apps that enable continuous feedback and include innovation in performance management objectives.
Leaders need to contribute to a culture of innovation by building an environment of trust while empowering others with opportunities to innovate. Jim Nolan, Vice President of Global Talent and Organisational Capability with Orica explains, “If the leader isn’t encouraging, rewarding, recognising and providing the right environment for innovation, we’re not going to have an innovative culture.”
See: Lim Swee Say Believes on Making “Pervasive Innovation” a Reality for Businesses in Future
Forfeiting hierarchical organisational structures and building agility into the organisation will enable businesses to innovate and respond rapidly in today’s fast-paced environment. Sandy Ogg, Founder at CEO works, believes that organisations who master this can rapidly deploy people where they will deliver the greatest business value and gain a competitive advantage.
HR can assist organisations in introducing more flexible structures by exploring different employment models and redefining roles in terms of values and outcomes.
Talent mobility is also emerging as a new HR imperative, which offers career development, retention and increased engagement among employees and HR can foster this by creating visible career pathways and development opportunities across the organisation.
HR has the potential to lead organisations through rapid digitalisation by staying on top of new technology innovations, particularly within talent management. Many technologies today provide a rich set of tools that can facilitate company-wide collaboration, drive engagement and report on productivity.
It’s undeniable that human capital plays a key role in organisational innovation as people continue to drive and inspire it. But for HRs to crack the innovation code, they must influence all three key drivers – culture, agility and technology.
The insights above are a result of quantitative and qualitative research conducted by PageUp among business and HR professionals in the PageUp TalentLab, as well as global survey findings. For a full copy of the paper, click here: Cracking the Innovation Code: What is the Role of Human Capital?
Alison Brady, Head of PageUp Talent Lab
Also read: Role of HR in Driving Culture of Innovation in an Organisation