THE BLOG

HR - Be the Innovation Catalyst

01/04/2014 14:15 BST | Updated 31/05/2014 10:59 BST

The ever changing economic conditions are reshaping the workplace like never before. This requires the HR professionals to be well informed and skilled businesspeople than just experts dealing with personnel issues. To remain competitive in the marketplace, HR needs to reconsider its positioning from being a business partner to a catalyst for innovation. It is easy to think of the department as irrelevant to day-to-day business practice. However, the truth is that HR has many levers, which can enable us to tap into the creativity that people bring to work every day. Businesses should instead look to create a culture of "ideapreneurship" - where employee ideas are nurtured and developed to add value for clients.

There is an indisputable financial impact if you tap into employee ideas and help enhance, what we call the value zone between themselves, the company and the customer. So a focus on Enabling, Engaging and Empowering people to be better innovators and creators of value for clients can equally boost morale and the bottom line. This is measured by seeing the impact the ideas have.

Financial planning should not just focus on the over-arching balance sheet, but also on empowering each employee to become a catalyst in driving revenue themselves. The role of HR is any organisation is to enable employees with the tools they need to enhance the value zone between themselves and their customers. This will ensure a healthier relationship in the long-term.

Changes of tactics or expectations within businesses spark many of the same challenges. The first of these should tackle the comfort level employees enjoy with the status quo. Secondly, the potential for change relies upon the resources available. Last but not the least, you always need to do more with less. Resources are always at a premium. How you make the resources go further is the key to success in an environment where budgets aren't expanding at the rate of service required.

HR departments must also be encouraged to develop new ideas and look for ways to reinvent outdated practices. Some of the processes HR teams are reviewing include: performance supervision, career development, rewards, learning curriculum and talent management. These five big areas impact the employee experience directly. It is essential to look into whether the design of processes can be modernised, by structuring them differently or using them in new ways, to increase the impact that it has on people and values.

HR teams must also build trust through transparency - being very open with their employees and leaders on what they are good at and what they need to improve on will help secure cooperation and support for new initiatives. The role of HR should be to encourage and empower people to become better ideapreneurs. Therefore, HR teams need to also put themselves in the shoes of business leaders to tap into the power of the workforce to deliver business outcomes.

Innovation is what can differentiate organisations in this competitive world and innovation and creativity produced by a workforce is dependent on how well individuals are managed, empowered and encouraged.