How Lack of Creativity is Holding Back Human Resources

Boost Innovation Founder Ken King A Few Years Ago…

At Boost Innovation, we have been fortunate to work in some areas that have robust human resources departments. This has allowed us to evaluate two main questions:

1) How effective do these departments operate?

2) What is the feedback from the literal “human resources” (staff) about the Human Resources Department?

Here are some indicators as we looked at the data collected (qualitative and quantitative) around these questions.

First, we found that the majority of the departments that we studied had blanketed, and un-yielding, solutions to most problems. This is largely due to the ability, in their mind, to provide consistent and effective responses to the situations that they are presented with.

However, in 2021 and beyond, we are going to need much more creative solutions to the diverse set of challenges facing those that a human resource department serves. An article by the Society for Human Resource Management states:

“As HR professionals, we must consider our own creativity and understand how this creativity might be blocked. A search for the one right answer will stifle creativity. We must be open to a wide variety of alternatives and the recognition that there are usually multiple ways of achieving the results we seek.”

In the over 100 HR professionals that we surveyed we found that most felt that they would be more effective if they had the opportunity to exercise more creativity in their role, but that the idea of that was not supported by their department lead.

On top of this, more than half the people polled felt that they would more effectively help those they serve, and the organization they work for, if they could be more creative.

Secondly, more than half of the literal human resources used one or more of the following words to describe the HR Department itself in interviews:

  • Difficult
  • Puppet (of management)
  • Inefficient
  • Challenging
  • Difficult
  • Useless

This information leads us to a few “Food For Thought” ideas for those seeking to better serve their people, and be more effective for their organization.

  1. Build psychologically safe, efficient, and effective workplaces by building the individuals in it. More counsellors and coaches, and less policy pushers will lead to the capacity to proactively prevent problems and front-load the ideas, values and behaviours that you want as opposed to reactively punishing people.
  2. Diverse challenges are facing every industry now. There is no hiding from it. We need diverse, creative, innovative people in Human Resources (and throughout the organization) in order to continue to grow as we respond to these challenges.
  3. This one is a question that you should STRONGLY CONSIDER: “Do people generally ‘like’ your human resource staff?” Stop wearing being disliked like a badge of courage. We met multiple HR staff who seemed to think this was a good thing. The simple response from our end is that they are confused about what human resources actually is.

Finally, consider this excerpt from HR Technologist:

“As a human resource manager, ensure you balance performance and innovation. You can do this through the human talent pool. The best method to achieve that is to equip employees with the necessary experience and knowledge. From that point, you can now build their commitment. Encourage them to develop their talent and emphasis it through a stimulating working environment.”

Please feel free to reach out with feedback and/or questions.


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