HR Innovation does happen in isolation

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The HR profession is changing at a speed that is unprecedented in corporate history. The benefits that HR can bring to a business are undisputed, but the function has often been seen as an administrative function rather than a strategic one.

Author: Andy Selway MCIPD

The most successful businesses are now reversing this trend. Using cutting edge technologies and riding the wave of social media, they are engaging their people like never before. Following the pulse of a business has never been easier, and HR is the nerve centre of the “people-centric revolution.”

However, as with most things, for the majority of businesses, these stories remain just that. They seem rather fanciful. Conservative senior management adopt a “that wouldn’t work here” attitude. Why wouldn’t they? The business has been growing nicely the way things were run before, why should they risk rocking the boat the all these new-fangled ideas?

That is where the innovative HR Director or HR Manager comes in. Their job is to persuade, to influence and to convince their colleagues of the new ways of working. It is one thing understanding what needs to happen, another thing entirely having the persuasive weapons in their arsenal to do the convincing.

The most effective way of influencing is showcasing a real life example of where a certain tactic has worked. It is not enough to read about something in the HR press. You have to understand it, get behind the success, understand what worked and what didn’t work so well, and understand how you could adapt it for your organisation.

The best HR innovators are great networkers. They learn from each other.

When your industry is being disrupted, there is nothing more effective than learning from the mistakes of others. You could do it on your own, but you probably wouldn’t be in a job for long! Reading the increasing amount of HR blogs is a great first step, but there is nothing better than having a heart-to-heart with another passionate HR professional who has the same concerns as you.

There are some great online HR networking groups on platforms like LinkedIn. It is enough to sit back and listen to the fascinating conversations, but even better to contribute and add your unique perspective. If you help others, then they will be more likely to reciprocate when you need an opinion.

Best of all however (and experiencing a renaissance), is the good old-fashioned face-to-face networking. HR professionals are without exception people oriented types, and there is nothing more effective that putting the HR world to rights over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee. Get out there and explore. There are some amazing companies doing some amazing things, but unless you start to dig a little deeper, you’ll never fully understand what success looks like and how it was achieved.

Sitting in your office in isolation won’t be much help to drive your HR agenda forward. Getting out there with a thirst for information and stories is the only way forward!

Why not join Corporate and Cocktails, one of London's fastest growing informal and informative (and fun!) HR networking groups, with events running throughout the year. There are also sub-group meet-ups for SME/standalone HR professionals and freelance HR consultants.