All aboard the innovation train

Geoffroy De Lestrange, Associate Director Product Marketing EMEA at Cornerstone OnDemandCulture2018 10 04
All aboard the innovation train
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Innovation is happening all around us. And at a fast pace. We’re constantly hearing stories about companies pioneering technology in areas that we never expect. Just recently, Amazon launched the first voice-controlled microwave, whilst over in the healthcare sector, hospitals are trialling “friendly” robots to calm stressed nurses.

We’re also seeing innovation thrive in the workplace. Recently, Cornerstone collaborated with IDC on a survey about future culture, interviewing more than 1,900 European HR, IT and line of business managers. The study found that 8% of European companies haven’t embarked on their digital transformation journey, compared to 16% in 2017. With digital transformation quickly transforming the workplace, this puts even greater pressure on the need for skills and people to support the process. Where does HR need to innovate?

Encountering delays

We’re currently experiencing a monumental shift in how the world works and learns. As technology evolves and continues to disrupt our day-to-day business, current skills will need to be augmented and new skills will need to be developed. At Cornerstone, we like to call this shift the Skills Economy and in order to navigate the Skills Economy and prepare ourselves for the future, we must first outline the current issues.

Our research with IDC found that cultural resistance, lack of financial resources and legacy IT systems are the top barriers that setback UK companies from being able to embark on their digital transformation journey, with almost a third (30%) citing cultural resistance as the main issue.

Budgets aside, these barriers stem from the people and their motivations, which ultimately come down to the alignment of HR, IT and business functions. In order to embrace the skills economy and survive in the workplace of tomorrow we need to start at the senior departmental level.  Digital transformation is not an easy ride, and everybody needs to be onboard to ensure a smooth journey.

Staying on track

Alignment across organisational culture, particularly within the HR and IT department, is critical when coordinating major changes across the company.

For example, implementing online resources across learning, as well as harnessing online jobs for recruiting require a high degree of IT. HR supply the knowledge whilst IT provide the technical support to bring it to life. Failing to meet each other’s expectation could cause a breakdown of the learning strategy. Especially as more and more resources become digitalised.

Yet, strong alignment and coordination can lead to higher levels of collaboration, transparency and knowledge-sharing amongst employees which, in turn, will lead to more innovative discussions in the workplace.

Avoid signal failure

Successful collaborations are facilitated through realising and understanding each other’s goals and expertise, then relating them to the bigger picture. In business, HR are the people experts, and people help to bring success to a business. And so, it’s up to HR to seek out the skills gap and find the most relevant talent needed to sustain the business. On the other hand, IT are the technical experts and have the knowledge required to make ideas come to life.

Proactive communication is always the forefront when it comes to a successful IT and HR collaboration. Whether it’s having regular conversations about new ideas, seeking knowledge on where to improve or simply asking for small favours, any cross-department interactions between HR and IT will help to build a strong and long-term relationship.

Trusting each other is also key. Allow for more freedom of resources across departments so that they can experiment and find new ways together.

Exploring other routes

Aside from having alignment across all business functions, it’s important for organisations to consider other methods to improve innovation.

Through our research with IDC, we discovered that job skills are the most sought after when it comes to recruitment criteria, yet current methods would suggest that companies are not enhancing this recruitment criterion enough. The traditional CV format, for example, remains primarily focused on experience and education rather than specific job skills. But unless specified, candidates will continue to use this format.

Elsewhere, beyond welcoming future recruits, we must not forget about our current employees and acknowledging the skills shortage internally. This requires innovation across training strategies, integrating knowledge sharing, collaboration and coaching. Ensuring that we support high-potential employees through leadership programmes and develop e-learning training that can boost engagement and productivity.

Innovation doesn’t always have to be defined as a completely new concept – as the dictionary definition might suggest – start off with the small changes first and use the resources outside of your department to make big difference. Innovation can be found in areas we never expect, and you never know who or where your next innovation might come from.

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