The field of HR is rapidly changing, and for HR strategies and practices to be truly effective, innovation is necessary. Bringing outdated methodologies to the table simply won’t work. However, many companies continue to rely on HR models that are 20 or 30 years old. They employ methodologies, tools or systems that are purchased “off the shelf” or were developed elsewhere. Often, HR has a “book” to solve problems that arise, which may not necessarily give practical or applied advice. While some of the standard approaches may have proven effective for a different company, they may not be most suitable for your company and won’t align with the culture and values you’ve created.
Enabling innovative HR strategies starts at the top of any organization and goes beyond the reach of the HR department. A commitment from the head of the organization is necessary for effective change to be implemented. HR can’t solely drive this effort – the company’s executive leadership must be equally committed and have skin in the game as well.
Establishing the ‘Right’ Core Values
Core values are critical for establishing the overall culture of any organization, as they serve as the principles for how a company should operate. Regardless of how a company may change in terms of growth, the values should remain the same.
It’s important for companies to implement values that everyone can support and work toward. These should be easy for employees to understand and apply in practice to their daily professional lives. Employees must be able to draw back to these values regularly, should they make a mistake and need guidance to correct their course of action.
Companies must evaluate how well employees are able to absorb and practice these values. They may encounter challenges if they have too many different values or employees struggle to demonstrate them on a daily basis. Specific examples of each value must be given and they must be ingrained into company culture. Reinforcing them throughout the organization helps drive inspiration for your company’s mission and the work that your employees do.
These values should factor into your company’s talent acquisition strategy and how your organization recruits and hires employees. Candidates who have previously demonstrated values that are similar to those of your company will indicate a good fit. Additionally, core values should be referred to when establishing how employees can move up in compensation or achieve bonuses. Enabling impact into the professional lives of employees will help ensure your company keeps talent in-house.
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Empowering Employees with Ownership
For many employees, the most meaningful jobs aren’t viewed as simply “jobs” – they are viewed as careers, and they often serve as a defining moment in an employee’s life. Because of this, employees should have opportunities for continued learning and to pursue professional growth.
Mentorship is critical to validating the work of employees and ensuring benchmarks are reached. In addition, companies must clearly establish ownership with employees regarding what responsibilities they’re expected to own. This isn’t just about day-to-day activities, but also larger-scale accountability for their influence on the business. This can help empower employees to be proactive in identifying solutions for issues that arise.
To help with this, companies should enable employees to leverage technology to access metrics that provide insight into operational efficiency. This can provide insight into how effectively employees are operating on a daily, hourly, or even minute-by-minute basis.
For the overall health of the business, it’s critical for employees to self-motivate. When employees have a firm grasp of their ownership and responsibility, they often will hold themselves accountable and make the right moves to be successful. Empowering employees to know when they’re doing a good job can serve as the “carrot at the end of the stick” and motivate them when quotas aren’t being met. And having an HR team embedded and engaged with employees and managers helps maintain motivation among the workforce and keep business operations healthy.
Employing Tools and Systems That Work for You
When implementing HR tools and systems, it’s of the utmost importance that they make the most sense for your company, its culture and how the workforce operates. Technology is the tie that binds employees to the goals of the organization and their personal goals. It can be leveraged to improve the velocity and quality of talent acquisition, as well as indicate areas where programs and processes may be innovated or improved. However, technology in HR is only as good as the impact it makes on the organization. If it fails to make a positive impact, then it is not doing its job. How the technology aligns with your company’s culture should be the top priority.
While off-the-shelf solutions are often easier, they’re not always better. Many times, spending time creating something in-house that’s tailored to your employee experience and company culture will save time and hassle down the road. A company should avoid force-fitting its culture in adherence to an off-the-shelf box solution. Create something in-house that fits your culture and let that draw you toward your tech solution, instead of buying a tech solution and attempting to fit your culture to that solution. Adopt practices and solutions that are best for your company and workforce – it will ultimately impact the rate of adoption, efficiency and results that are achieved.
Additionally, think about how to leverage technology to be more innovative. Use technology to satisfy the various needs and diversity of how people learn. There are visual learners, auditory learners and hands-on learners. Identify ways in which all learners can utilize technology to learn what they need to know.
A one-size-fits-all approach is often simple and commonly applied in many HR departments, but it’s rarely effective in achieving meaningful results. Innovation can unlock what’s possible for HR strategies and practices to elevate business operations and create an improved workplace culture. It begins at the top, extends throughout the organization, and ultimately, helps your company reach new and exciting goals.
About the authors
- Geeman Yip is the founder and CEO of BitTitan, a SaaS-based cloud enablement provider based in Bellevue, Washington. Geeman founded BitTitan in 2007 to help IT service providers and businesses assess, deploy and manage technology solutions in a rapidly changing cloud world. Prior to BitTitan, Geeman was a Program Manager for Microsoft Exchange, architecting what would become the foundation for today’s Office 365 suite. He has over two decades’ worth of experience in the software and IT spaces. Geeman holds a bachelor’s degree in information and computer science from the University of California, Irvine.
- Bill Smith, SPHR, MSHR, is HR manager and human resources business partner at BitTitan. He leads a team of HR business partners and talent acquisition partners to deliver HR strategy and tools to BitTitan employees. Prior to BitTitan, Bill worked in HR roles for Gates Ventures, Watermark Estate Management Services, Zulily and Liberty Mutual Insurance. Bill holds a bachelor’s degree in science and international business from Northeastern University and a master’s degree in human resource management from Suffolk University.