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Innovation Blog


Redefining HR – Supporting the “Future of Work”

I’ve had a number of conversations over the past couple months focusing on the role of HR and how it might help large enterprises redefine the “future of work.”

This sounds pretty futuristic and high-end, but the more I have these conversations, the more this one fact becomes clear:  the way enterprises have been structured (and thus the HR systems and policies developed to support these structures) is antiquated.  Current enterprise structures and their HR systems and policies were designed to support a business setting that no longer exists. For those ossified companies out there, the world will surely pass them by from a pure talent and growth perspective.

If you factor in the fact that large enterprises are being consistently challenged to innovate and develop new growth capabilities for their business models, products, services, customer engagement models, etc., you must ask whether their internal systems are positioned to enable (and catapult) their innovation agendas.

What I’m finding is that, unfortunately, they aren’t.

What should companies begin thinking about to address this growth inhibitor?

  • Ensure your HR strategy is aligned with your business strategy. This sounds simple, but how many of your companies have this alignment?  And consider this: how can a company be successful in executing on its business strategies if its HR policies – and thus, their employees – aren’t aligned and incentivized to support these strategies?
  • Focus on your internal systems and policies to ensure there is clear “executional alignment” between your HR and business strategies. Ensure your compensation/KPI/ranking mechanisms are incentivizing the right behaviors so that your employees will be clear in how their work aligns with the company’s strategy.  You may need to develop new HR policies and guidelines in this regard, too. (Actually, not “may,” you almost likely “will.”)
  • Develop your employer brand to attract the talent you need. If your company has exciting growth strategies, how might prospective employees know about them?  Don’t keep them a secret, but rather, be bold in sharing your company’s strategic vision and use this vision as a magnet to draw the types of employees that your company needs to succeed.  Many companies are doing this, and even establishing satellite offices in high-growth/high-talent cities across the globe in this regard.
  • Consider creating an “internal marketplace” for talent within your company, so that your employees’ areas of expertise, passion, and their innovative juices can be identified, captured, and used to the benefit of your company and, oh yes, your employees.

There are certainly more areas where HR leaders can focus to help their companies, and their business leaders, redefine the future of work.  If you’ve developed specific methods and angles that work, please share.

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