Innovation has been a buzzword in the business world for a long time. It’s a term people love to hate simply because of how vague it can be.
The Google and Oxford Languages define it as “The action or process of innovating.”
Thanks for a little more than nothing.
The Oxford Dictionary, on the other hand, has a slightly more helpful definition. They define innovation as “The introduction of new things, ideas or ways of doing something.”
According to us, the definition of innovation is entirely irrelevant. Innovation is only relevant in the context it is used. When leaders use the term innovation, it is generally from the perspective of customers, products, or processes.
In our case, we want to explore whether a powerhouse like Human Resources can benefit from innovation. This blog will try to help businesses adapt to HR innovation by introducing innovative HR concepts, HRM initiatives that can help, and the innovation in Human Resource Management that has to take place.
What does Innovation in Human Resource Management Mean?
Human Resource is one of the most misunderstood branches of management. Employees may hate HR because they feel that HR only cares about the interests of the company. Leaders may feel that HR isn’t able to quantify their impact on the organization’s bottom line and aren’t an indispensable function.
The reality is that HR is continuously performing a balancing act. They need to seamlessly provide administrative functions while also operating as a strategic partner for the business. With HRM initiatives like employee development plans, workplace mentorship programs, unique leave policies, and many more, a lot is being done.
But there is no doubt that Human Resources is one of the branches of management that has been quietly plodding along for many decades. Ever-increasing requirements have burdened it with little opportunity to innovate. They’ve been forced into an organizational reality where there are legacy processes that have been in place for many years with almost no opportunity to make a worthwhile change.
HR innovation needs to be both an internal and external process for the business. What HR innovation includes is all of the following:
- Innovation in the Mindset of HR
- Innovative Approaches to Human Resource Management
- Innovation in the Importance and Resources Available to HR
- Innovation in the Organization Image of HR
3 Ways to Introduce HR Innovation in Legacy Processes
HR Innovation #1: Blind Recruitment Technology
Transformed Legacy Process: Hiring
McKinsey & Company have spent the last few years studying corporate diversity. Delivering through Diversity has the following data sets that make compelling arguments for diversity:
- Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have financially outperformed other companies.
- For companies that are ethnically more diverse, the likelihood increases to 36%.
Although this study only dives deep into gender and ethnic diversity, it makes an interesting point. Diversity and inclusion aren’t just tokenisms but can contribute to the bottom line of the company.
According to a recent HR Innovation survey by Harvey Nash, only 12% of HR professionals believe their organizations are doing the best they can when it comes to workplace diversity. This focus on diversity to improve company performance and culture isn’t new but is coming to the forefront even more in recent years. Diversity hiring goals are going beyond gender and ethnicity, including age, culture, neurodiverse individuals and those identifying themselves as LGBTQ.
These lofty ideals are also being translated into actionable HR initiatives like the selection of preferred pronouns. Company directories are now featuring preferred pronouns and allowing companies to embrace inclusion initiatives.
But the fact remains that humans are inherently biased. We may work our hardest to eliminate biases consciously, but implicit biases may be lurking beneath.
Ladders Incorporated’s Eye-Tracking Study revealed that recruiters skim resumes for an average of 7.4 seconds. With so little time and so much information to go through, it is only natural that recruiters aren’t diving deep into the reasons for accepting/rejecting applications. Resume screening is one of the critical points of recruitment where diverse candidates could suffer.
The biggest roadblock to creating a diverse workforce is to identify and acknowledge one’s implicit biases. Taking appropriate steps to reduce or eliminate these biases is integral.
Companies are beginning to set diversity goals that HR is scrambling to meet. To do that, they need to design roadmaps for achieving the required gender, self-identification, ethnic and generational diversity.
An HR innovation that can help rid the screening process of implicit biases is blind recruitment technology.
These solutions offer several features that can help companies hire diversely. Blind recruitment software can redact information such as gender, race, ethnicity, education and others during the resume screening and interviewing process. The focus on job skills and experience can ensure an expansion in the candidate pool.
We are sure that this HR innovation will be adopted at an increasing rate to remove unconscious bias from the hiring process. It will give qualified talent a foothold to make their way to the top without discrimination.
Although a step in the right direction, workplaces need to be much more than blind hiring for diversity to thrive. The McKinsey survey on diverse workplaces also found out that while overall sentiment on diversity was 52 percent positive, inclusion was much worse, at 61 percent negative. This expands upon how diverse companies need to do more than hire diverse candidates. The workplace needs to improve to allow this diversity to thrive.
HR Innovation #2: Self Reporting Time Tracking Software
Transformed Legacy Process: Employee Monitoring
With the pandemic normalizing remote work, employees will begin expecting flex-time options even when things are back to the “good old days.” According to Terminal, only 19% of business leaders report having a remote work strategy in place before COVID-19. With all this being a whole new ball game, HR needs to have a concrete plan of action.
One of the major challenges of this new working style will be how HR can track the time employees spend working.
Time tracking can help:
- Maximize Productivity
- Improve Employee Performance
- Help Employees Maintain a Work-Life Balance
- Prevent Employee Burnout
- Reduce Employee Absenteeism
It can be a simple matter of a manager walking by periodically to check in on their team at a regular workplace. But with this new style of work, time tracking software is one of the biggest HR innovation that need to be adopted and adapted for businesses’ individual needs.
Why not opt for an employee monitoring solution? Screenshots, designated lunch hours, activity tracking, GPS tracking, and all the bells and whistles. Businesses will never doubt where their employees are, what they’re doing, and how many breaks they’re taking.
As someone who’s worked with employee monitoring software, I assure you that your employees will constantly be looking for a way to game the system. To top it all, they’ll always have this gnawing feeling in the back of their mind that the company doesn’t trust them. It’ll make them disengaged, demotivated and your high performers will soon leave the company.
Culturally, the US and European markets will never like such an intrusive time tracking solution.
Should businesses not track time at all? 78% of leaders say they favor trust over tools when it comes to evaluating employee productivity.
What if we could offer a solution that trusts employees to self-report time spent?
That’s where a time tracking solution like AttendanceBot can help:
- Prevent Tool Overload: According to Asana, amid the race to stay connected with tools, workers switch between 10 apps 25 times per day—fragmenting communication and reducing efficiency. By having time tracking that functions within communication tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Chat, you can help employees save time.
- Simple Punching System: Messaging simple commands like “in,” “out,” and “out on a 15-minute break” can track time.
- Timesheet Reminders: HR always needs to chase down employees for timesheets, but time tracking tools do the chasing for you.
- Shift Management: One of the biggest perks of remote work is that hiring is no longer limited to a geographical area. Global teams are comprised of employees working in different time zones. Time tracking tools like AttendanceBot can help customize different shifts for each of the employees easily.
HR Innovation #3: Pulse Like Employee Engagement Pulse Surveys
Transformed Legacy Process: Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is the employee’s commitment and emotional connection to the organization. When employees are engaged- they’re driven and dedicated to their jobs. Their morale has a direct impact on the company’s profitability and workplace culture.
Low employee engagement isn’t a walk in the park. According to SHRM’s Human Resources Benchmarking Report, it takes businesses 42 days to fill an open position, $4,219 to hire a new employee and $986 to onboard them. That means every time you lose an employee due to low engagement, $5000 walks right out the door with them.
As research shows time and time again, companies suffer when employee engagement is low. We recently surveyed both HR and non-HR employees to get a pulse on employee engagement.
According to an Employee Engagement survey by G2, 66% of HR employees, employee engagement had improved over the year. But only 34% of non-HR employees feel more engaged than they did the previous year.
Why is there this disconnect?
Why is HR unable to measure employee engagement correctly?
HR claims to implement killer HRM initiatives and innovation in human resource management, but employees aren’t feeling it.
There are many solutions to measuring and improving employee engagement. They begin from recruiting and run right up to offboarding. With so many software solutions promising the moon and more, the challenge will be to decide which solutions have the maximum impact.
One fail-safe method of measuring employee engagement are through pulse surveys. Pulse surveys are pretty run of the mill with HR taking one anually.
How can this be an HR innovation? The way to make a pulse survey an HR innovation is to transform the way it is distributed.
Periodic pulse surveys need to be pushed out often to pick up on employees’ “pulse”. These surveys can help businesses understand what employees want, the immediate impact of initiatives and other actionable insights.
Rather than waiting an entire year or more, frequent pulse surveys can measure the impact of various HR initiatives like recognition and wellness programs almost immediately. This type of engagement survey can be utilized and embedded within communication platforms like Slack.
Pep is an excellent tool for creating frequent pulse surveys on communication platforms like Slack. A proprietary question bank that HR can draw from to create quick pulse surveys.
How to Introduce Innovation in any HRM Initiatives?
There are a number of ways HR can introduce innovation into legacy processes. But for this blog, we limited ourselves to dive deep into just three.
But innovative approaches to human resource management can be discovered using a fairly simple method of asking the right questions.
Questions about the Process
- Which HR process has major roadblocks?
- What are these roadblocks?
- Is there a standard operating procedure to deal with them?
- Can automation help streamline the process?
- Who are the stakeholders?
Questions about the Roadblock
- What is the cause of this issue?
- Is this issue specific to your business/industry?
Questions to Spark HR Innovation
- What are three unique ways HR can tackle the roadblock?
- Who in upper management can help you market the solution internally?
- What resources do you need to tackle the roadblock?
- What milestones are you expecting?
- Who do you think will resist the solution?
Is HR Innovation a Flash in the Pan?
HR has been around since the time businesses began. But innovation and automation are fairly slow processes under unwilling leadership.
HR needs to go out of its way to prove that there are issues and be rectified by changing legacy processes. They need to go the extra mile to provide use cases, a cost-benefit analysis, and industry stalwarts who’re changing the game.
If you’d like help with modern solutions for HR issues, please reach out to us @HarmonizeHQ.