Human resources (HR) departments play a pivotal role in setting the cultural tone of a company. The policies they issue and the way they conduct business diffuses through the company. Employees may take their cue on how to do their jobs from HR from the moment the company hires them.
HR departments must model how they want other departments and individual employees to act to create as positive a workplace culture as possible. Managers often say “if we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’ll get what we’ve always gotten.” In today’s business environment, this couldn’t be less true; managers should now state; “if we do what we’ve always done, we may go out of business.” The key to success in today’s business landscape is transformational innovation.
According to recent KPMG study, innovation isn’t brought on by investing more in research and development or better technology, but by investing in human capital and creating an innovative culture. Human resources professionals are now uniquely positioned to influence a culture of innovation. It begins with talent acquisition and performance management. HR must work directly with functional leaders to identify competencies for success in specific positions and recruit for those needs.
Performance Management is the next key role in developing a culture of innovation. Train and encourage managers to set stretch goals and hold employees accountable to them. These types of goals will help the company achieve its objectives and more importantly its competitive advantage. HR must encourage risk taking, rewarding successes while also using failures as an opportunity to learn and try again.
Most importantly, HR must recognize that culture change isn’t a task to check off a list. The role of creating a culture of innovation is ongoing, it’s about looking at industry best practices, and applying those not in the same manner that brought success to other organizations, but in a way that is a best fit for your company.
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