Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Innovators, innovation teams and the innovation process 17 – operationalizing a drive for innovative excellence into HR and its ongoing practices and processes 1

Posted in HR and personnel, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on August 3, 2013

This is my seventeenth installment in a series on innovators and the process of innovation (see HR and Personnel, postings 154 and following for Parts 1-16.)

I write in Part 16 of this series about connecting HR and its operations and strategy into the overall strategic vision and process of the business as whole. I turn in this installment to consider HR’s more internal strategic and operational processes that it develops within-department in order to fulfill its goals-directed charter, as laid out in its business’ overall strategy, for enabling and realizing more effective innovation capability.

A big part of this HR charter, and certainly insofar as Human Resources supports the business beyond the level of simply managing employee paperwork, is in facilitating communications, as laid out in at least some detail in my concurrently run series: If You Want Your Company to be More Innovative (see HR and Personnel, postings 165 and loosely following.) I will leave that part of this overall discussion to that series, simply noting here that:

• Enabling more effective employee to employee communications, and
• Facilitating communication that go beyond simply talking with the members of their own teams

can be one of the most important, innovation capacity-enabling activities that an actively involved HR department can strategically participate in.

My goal for this posting is to focus on how a Human Resources service or department can rethink and reframe is fuller range of its basic ongoing activities to better meet the long-term needs of the business it supports. And in this regard, I begin at the beginning and certainly for any given employee’s involvement with that organization, and with:

• Formulating a job description for a needed position opening,
• First round screening and selecting of possible candidates,
• More detailed screening and candidate selection for interviews, and
• The hiring process itself.

A hiring manager in pressing need of a new hire who can carry through on specific task and goals completions that cannot be covered by available staff, is probably going to focus in what they submit for a job description, on immediate needs at hand. They will in most cases focus in what they add into the job description, on their conception of what skills and prior work experience would be most needed now, and on what they see as necessary formal training and certification for being able to do this specific work that they want to hire for. Human Resource almost always boiler plates in a standard and vetted block of text about the hiring business and what it does. And they add standard, vetted boiler plate about how their business is an equal opportunity employer and otherwise meet legal and socially mandated standards. HR fleshes out this job description and checks and edits the overall text to make sure that it is properly company branded and that it has appropriate contact information included, that it includes any information that would be offered as to terms of employment and compensation range offered, and so on. And HR generally posts this on their own company’s web site as well as on third party provider job search sites and through other, select venues.

Then they do the initial screening of responses that come in, filtering out applicants who do not meet the basic skills, experience, educational or other requirements listed so that only applicants who actually meet stated basic requirements have to be reviewed and considered in greater detail with the time and effort that this entails.

A first outreach to candidates that make this first cut, might very well be a phone interview from an HR department screener. And candidates who make this second cut are then passed on to the hiring manager for more active consideration. And a short list of final candidates is drawn from them, with that including any candidates that this hiring manager adds in from networking contacts and connections that they see as filtering out the inappropriate too. A final candidate selection is made from this combined list and if negotiated agreement can be reached with them as to terms of work and what they are to do, and for compensation and other details, they are offered this job. And if they accept they get hired.

That is the basic model, and if that is all that this HR department contributes to this set of processes, they are in effect only managing the paperwork as per a basic 20th century business model. In a 21st century business, HR would also and as part of its due diligence, research any candidate that makes that first cut, online and for their social media and social networking activity and presence. This can mean looking for negative information and for insight that would filter candidates out, but this can also be used as a source of positive insight and for identifying effective communicators and networkers who can and who are inclined to work collaboratively with others.

• Does a candidate have a LinkedIn or other professionally oriented social networking presence?
• If so, do they actually show any details in it that would indicate they actively network and connect?
• How many direct networking connections do they have?
• Do they have recommendations, and have they offered professional recommendations to others who they have worked with?
• Have they been endorsed by others for professional skills and for holding specific types of expertise, and if so for what and in what numbers?

A positive score in this might not be essential as a criterion for hiring, but a positive score in this would at least strongly suggest this to be a candidate who would be open to wider-ranging collaborative participation in the business. And at the same time, positive recommendations and networking reach would at least suggest that this is a person who might be easier to work with for their interpersonal skills too, as they do already socially reach out and connect with others.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment where I will at least briefly consider:

• Onboarding and setting a stage for new employees to enter into within-company business networks,
• Performance reviews and adding willingness and ability to effectively communicate and work collaboratively with others into the basic performance review template,
• Managing the career advancement process as it exists within the business,
• And I will also add training, and management training as well as hands-on skills training as these would be offered through HR.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at HR and Personnel and also at Business Strategy and Operations and at its continuation pages: Business Strategy and Operations – 2 and Business Strategy and Operations – 3.

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