The New ‘R’ in HR

So here’s an idea.  Write down your company’s top 3 business goals and see if you can find any common themes.

I’m guessing what they all have in common is a need to respond to change with new business strategies.  (Uncanny, I know.)

Let’s take a quick look at some of the changes that are probably impacting your business strategy:

Consumer technology has changed the face of business.

  • The mobile device is today’s desktop.
  • People shop with their phones.
  • Everyone’s talking ‘SMAC’ (social, mobile, analytics, cloud)
Social technology has inspired new ways of working.
  • People expect an intuitive, personalized experience.
  • They’re mobile and connected.
  • They want to share ideas and information.
Modern business is global and ultracompetitive.
  • Companies must adapt their strategies faster than ever before.
  • The most important product is service.
  • Human resources is about building relationships.
The companies that are ahead of the curve on all this change are the companies that are able to innovate quickly.  For example:
  • Pharmaceutical companies must innovate to compete with cheaper generic brands.  
  • Retailers must innovate to reach online consumers. 
  • Manufacturers must innovate to streamline processes and reinvent the supply chain. 
  • Financial services companies must innovate to rebuild consumer trust. 
  • Management consultants must find ways to differentiate their services in a networked world where information is freely available.
Companies that fail to innovate will quickly find themselves falling behind.  And innovation is no longer limited to product R&D but impacts every aspect of service delivery.

If innovation matters to the business, it’s mission critical to create a culture of innovation.  There is plenty of literature about how to do this but it really comes down to encouraging experimentation and collaboration. 

A personal story that illustrates the importance of collaboration: My 9-year-old daughter just ran into my office for help with a geometry problem.  I could see the answer but not how to show the work so I made random suggestions until she experienced a cognitive leap and found the answer herself.  She was amazed that she got the answer with me – even though I didn’t have the answer – but hadn’t been able to figure it out on her own. ‘That’s the power of collaboration,’ I explained.  She frowned so I tried again.   ‘Sometimes working with someone else helps.’ 

In today’s social economy, relationships matter to the business more than individuals because business innovation springs from collaboration and a feeling of connection to the organisation.  HR’s remit in the social economy is to remove barriers to collaboration with new technologies, organisational models and ways of working.

In other words, instead of human resources think ‘human relationships’ and you’re there.
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