myHRCareers has launched the year of HR Innovation. That’s a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) if I’ve ever heard one! But HR has a critical role to play in shaping cultures that embrace and drive innovation. Why is HR so important? Well, it is my experience that many corporate cultures squash innovation with their policies, procedures and practices. HR are culture shapers, helping senior leaders to understand the people trends driving business trends.
So how can HR help drive a culture of Innovation?
Firstly, HR need to ensure that that organisations are setting Innovation goals linked to Happiness. Why Happiness? Because the research shows that goals that attempt to motivate staff through external drivers – you’ll get a bonus if you’re more innovative – don’t work! Goals linked to Happiness, Autonomy, Mastery and Connectedness work. HR can help convince senior leaders to allow all staff to come together organically, to connect and learn about innovation and to have the freedom to innovate in their roles, every day!
Secondly, HR need to ensure that that individuals and teams are setting goals linked to Strengths. Why Strengths? The happiest people are those that have discovered their unique strengths and virtues and use those strengths and virtues for a purpose that is greater than their own personal goals. Each person has a unique set of gifts and talents that energise and get good results. Each person can use their strengths to drive Innovation.
Finally, HR need to help staff break down BHAG’s into micro-actions. A micro-action is a small, simple change that is achievable in a normal day. Your life is the sum of the small actions and choices you make every day.
So instead of vowing to lose two stone, choose instead to walk up the escalator every day on the way to work. Instead of setting a goal to find the perfect partner, choose instead to talk to one new, nice person every day. Instead of setting a goal to write your first novel, choose instead to write in your journey every day.
And what about Innovation? What are the micro-actions that HR Professionals can take? Challenge the status quo at least once a day. Encourage an individual to ‘brag’ about his/her strength so the organisation knows how to use their special gift. Identify a ‘wild card’ and nominate them to be part of your Talent Pool. Find a best practice from another industry, totally unrelated to yours, and introduce it into your firm. Scrap the traditional leadership workshop and sponsor a MOOC instead. Invite one of your competitors to partner with you to solve one your industries biggest challenges. Ask your Marketing colleague to give you a 15-minute tutorial on data analytics and insights. Take 10-minutes every day to meditate. Call a meeting with a colleague and then suggest you walk to the park and back whilst you conduct ‘business’. Others??
About the Author
Michelle Brailsford has recently completed a MOOC on the Science of Happiness run by UC Berkeley and edX. She is also a certified Strengths-based coach having studied with CAPP, the Centre for Application of Positive Psychology. Michelle is offering coaching sessions at a special rate exclusively for myHRcareers members.
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