HR Innovation: 3 Ways to Change Our Relationship with Talent
by Sharlyn Lauby October 19 2016
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The Global Innovation Index ranks the innovation performance of 128 countries and economies around the world, based on 82 indicators. Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Finland, Singapore, and the United States lead the 2016 rankings of the world’s most innovative economies.
It’s important, when talking about innovation, that we focus on the foundation for an organization's innovation efforts: people. Our workforces are global and diverse. They want flexibility and balance. They’re working longer. As a result, today’s HR departments need to develop a new mindset for attracting, engaging, developing, and retaining talent.
In the webinar, “Why Employees Deserve HR Innovation,” speakers Lisa Nelson, senior vice president of global HR at Match.com and William Tincup, president at RecruitingDaily, discussed the need for human resources to change their relationship with talent to encourage greater innovation. In order to make that happen, organizations have to define what talent means to them.
Organizations need to have a consistent definition of talent in order to hire, engage, and retain the best. A disconnected definition yields inconsistent policies and procedures, which have an impact on the workplace. However, once an organization defines talent, they do not need to let that definition limit them. As the business environment changes, organizations can take an agile view and regularly revisit the definition to ensure it meets business needs. However, everyone needs to have the same definition of talent.
Part of that definition needs to include part-time, seasonal, and contingent workers. For organizations to truly change their relationship with talent, they need to build relationships with ALL talent, not just full-time employees. As hiring becomes more challenging, contingent talent (i.e. freelancers, consultants, contractors) will become a larger part of our workforce. They will be considered part of the culture because they contribute to the bottom-line.
Once an organization defines talent, they are in a position to build a relationship with their employees. And that relationship determines how innovative the organization can be. Here are three specific ways that HR can contribute to an organizational culture focused on talent.
1. Be Transparent.
A prominent theme during this year’s HR Technology Conference and Expo was that organizations want to give candidates and employees a ‘peek behind the curtain.’ Organizations want to create cultures that encourage feedback and involvement at every level so problems are solved faster using better decision making.
Transparency helps with organizational change management. It also helps candidates and employees connect with the future of the organization. Innovation relies on continuous improvement and the way to achieve it is by being open and transparent with employees.
2. Processes need to be easy to buy, easy to use, and easy to share.
Another key component to innovation success is implementation. Being transparent is a prerequisite to getting the buy-in of the organization. This makes HR policies and programs “easy to buy” versus being mandatory.
Speaking of implementation, we know HR needs to create processes when it’s necessary, but what necessary means is changing in today’s business world. Employees want to work in organizational structures that are easy to maneuver, meaningless bureaucracy and “easy to use.”
The advantage we have is that good technology enables ease-of-use by facilitating processes. Examples are social media, employee self-service, and collaboration platforms. These are peer-based solutions that encourage communication, make work easy to explain, and “easy to share.”
3. Culture must address the entire employee life cycle.
Organizations need to realize that it’s not about having (only) a great candidate experience or (only) a great employee experience. Organizations must work to create both. The life cycle encompasses it all: hiring, onboarding, compensation, benefits, training, performance, etc. Even offboarding and alumni relations.
For instance, a company cannot have great pay and a terrible employee morale. Or vice versa – great morale but poor pay practices. Employees want both.
Smart companies are striving to create cultures that give employees openness (by communicating in a transparent way), freedom (not a bunch of policies that restrict engagement), and the ability to be successful (throughout their career life cycle.)
HR innovation is changing the way human resources manages the talent side of the business. Because when the company’s relationship with talent changes, they are positioned to innovate.
Sharlyn Lauby is the HR Bartender and president of ITM Group Inc., a South Florida based training and human resources consulting firm focused on helping companies retain and engage talent.
Sharlyn sees human resources as a strategic partner - the marketing department for a company’s internal clients rather as administrative. During her 20+ years in the profession, she has earned a reputation for bringing business solutions to reality.
Prior to starting ITM Group, Sharlyn was vice president of human resources for Right Management Consultants, one of the world’s largest organizational consulting firms. She has designed and implemented highly successful programs for employee retention, internal and external customer satisfaction, and leadership development. Publications such as Reuters, The New York Times, ABC News, TODAY, Readers Digest, Men’s Health and The Wall Street Journal have sought out her expertise on topics related to human resources and workplace issues.