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The i4cp Productivity Blog

I4CP RESEARCH: HUMAN CAPITAL PRACTICES DRIVE ORGANIZATIONAL INNOVATION

High-performing organizations are up to 3x more likely to implement people practices that drive innovation

How do you make your company more innovative? Though many focus more on the product and process aspects, a new i4cp research study identifies ten workforce practices that top organizations use to drive innovation. Unsurprisingly, less than a third (28%) of companies surveyed for the study believe they are effective at managing innovation.

i4cp looked at multiple types of innovation—ranging from product development to model/process innovation—and found that having the right workforce practices and programs in place has a high correlation with market performance. The just released study, Human Capital Practices that Drive Innovation, outlines ten human capital practices companies should implement to have a positive impact on innovation.

One effective but often overlooked practice is using social media tools to share knowledge—both internally and externally—with non-employees. High-performance
organizations (HPOs) are two and a half times as likely (36% vs. 14%) to do this than low-performing organizations (LPOs). Reaching out to gauge interest, solicit feedback, monitor sentiment, and test new ideas and product concepts before deciding to launch them can be done in real time and at little cost. However , many companies are still wary of embracing social media beyond marketing purposes,. Human resources can and should help drive a change in policy to enable more channels for idea generation and input.

While there's much debate over whether financial rewards can produce innovation, i4cp found that tying individual bonuses and/or salary increases to innovation does help to drive more innovation in the workplace—and that HPOs are 3x as likely (15% vs. 3%) than lower performers to implement such reward programs. At the individual idea-creation level, extrinsic rewards may not be as much of a catalyst, but when the process of bringing that idea to market or rolling it out globally throughout the organization is taken into consideration, financial rewards become more relevant.

i4cp also found that tracking innovation at both the college undergraduate and/or graduate level is an effective way to bringinnovative talent onboard to stir up the workplace. Competition in recruiting the top students at elite schools can be so fierce that some organizations are pushing every boundary they can to identify and attract the most innovative talent they can find. Google has set the gold standard for recruiting technical talent and has become known for holding games and competitions on campus billboards to build its employer and talent brands, as well as to identify and attract the top students on campus. High-performance organizations like Google are 2.5x more likely (23% vs. 9%) than low performers to track innovation at the college level.

These practices represent just three of the ten ways identified in this study for human capital practices to impact organizational innovation. To see the complete list of
i4cp's top ten human capital practices that drive innovation, download the full report (i4cp corporate membership required).