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People strategy

HR Innovation Needs Direction and Purpose

Kirstie Kelly

ideaIn today’s rapidly-evolving digital environment, innovation is critical to your success as a company. But not every solution is born equally effective, so ensure that all of your plans stay focussed and directed.

Technology presents both new challenges and novel ways to solve them. However, it’s often hard to tell which of the many solutions at your disposal will be the best for the business – and which ones are only momentarily fashionable. Everywhere from HR to IT, managers are plagued with the task of moving the business forward and adapting to changing times without jumping on the wrong bandwagon.

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) calls this phenomenon “fad-surfing,” the sometimes desperate attempt to resolve issues by adopting the latest management trend, only to drop the strategy when a new fashion emerges. This gives firms the semblance of innovation, without any of its substance. At the end of the day, technology must actually work for HR managers, not send them scurrying back to the drawing board in a few months’ time.

Take it in Stages

To determine the solution that’s right for your company, HBR recommends initiating a broad, four-step process to ensure that new strategies are responsibly adopted.

1. Understand the Big Picture

It’s too easy to be swept away by a conference or webinar and and gawk at the new magic bullet that resolves every hydra-like problem – most of the time, though, this solution-first thinking is not best practice. Smart leaders, by contrast, start with the problem itself. HBR discusses the ethos of “falling in love with the problem – not the solution,” and they have a point.

A quick fix often fails to address the issue, and may even create new, complicated headaches down the line. Instead, take the time to analyze the your specific problem from every angle, and let the solutions arise naturally. Mentally grappling with a dilemma will help you get a sense of its scale and magnitude and form an appropriate solution framework in response.

2. Seize Insights

Before looking elsewhere, conference with senior managers to let them discuss their difficulties and suggest ways to best proceed. You may find your solution is already out there. Take a suggestion from HR Magazine: in the spirit of open innovation, look to the wider world and see how others are tackling similar problems. Remain receptive, and avoid looking to one solution before you’ve discussed several. Remember, returning to step one is a better solution than stubbornly pursuing one that won’t work.

3. Apply Wisely

Test, test, and test again. Wherever possible, roll out solutions on a small scale before integrating them company-wide. If it works, great! You now have a case study to use in selling the concept to the rest of the business. If not, you’ve only learned a valuable lesson you can carry with you and improve upon your next attempt.

4. Ensure Impact

Make the goal of a project absolutely clear from the beginning – that way, its effects can be measured. Charting progress against the original objective gives perspective on success of the project and the new avenues to which it may have led you. As always, a plan must have clear objectives and a well-defined purpose – if you don’t see the net, you won’t know when you’ve scored.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

headacheLike everything in business, establishing an innovative new process requires forethought, planning, and careful execution. Yet, that’s the smallest portion of the task – the more time you spend getting your hands dirty with the actual problem itself (and less with the sparkling solution), the more your outcome will neatly fit the issue you set out to resolve.

The same is true with hiring. Rather than salivate at a the ideal Hercules of candidates, refine your problems to see what actually needs solving. That way, you can easily hone-in on effective recruits. A video recruitment solution, like the one offered by LaunchPad Recruits, allows an HR officer to quickly and easily cut through a wide field of candidates. As ever, if you keep your head down and focus on the problem, the results will speak for themselves.

(Image credits: Mike Linksvayer/flickr; Rishi Bandopadhay/flickr19melissa68/flickr)


Kirstie Kelly

Kirstie is our resident expert in the field of recruitment and technology, having 23 years total experience in commercial business across a range of business sectors. As a result, she has been instrumental in ensuring the innovative technology provided at LaunchPad is relevant for our customers. Kirstie's passion is all about finding creative solutions to recruitment challenges. And no better way than with technology!