The Role of HR in Innovative Organizations

Feb 22, 2016
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As HR professionals, we are responsible in large part for nurturing the culture of our organizations. As we shift to more strategic work, this challenge becomes even more critical. Working at the epicenter of our organizations, we have the opportunity to shape the components essential to effective execution in building this culture.

Remember: One size does not fit all. What matters in developing an innovative culture is how we put the pieces together in our own organizations.

As the guardians of the corporate culture, the responsibility for guiding an innovative culture rests largely with HR professionals. This, then, requires that we have a clear understanding of the elements generally possessed by a culture of innovation. Using this as our foundation, we can better perform the recruitment process to ensure creative talent feeds this culture. And once hired, this talent must be developed, managed, and recognized to further prime the pump of innovation throughout the organization. Leadership also has a clear role that is crucial in fostering the innovative culture. As HR professionals, this partnership is essential with top management as we nurture the culture of innovation.

Though the lives of miners may not be at stake, our organizations’ very survival may be at risk. We must see that limitless possibilities (albeit different) exist with innovation! Our commitment to innovation, then, as HR professionals is not “added on” to our existing responsibilities. Instead, we must see it as integrated into all we do—from recruiting to training and development. It must become a part of our own language and the processes in which we engage. Michael Stanleigh advised that “HR leaders need to understand the critical importance of innovation today and how to contribute to constantly improving their skills and creating a culture of innovation. This will enable your organization to differentiate itself. These are a part of the role of HR.”

Limitless possibilities can be generated as diverse people come together—in the right way. It is not just about throwing different people together, but rather true integration is needed for success.

Excerpted from Patricia M. Buhler, Destination Innovation: HR’s Role in Charting the Course (SHRM, 2015).

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