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Shaping a People and Culture Strategy for Innovation

Creating an attractive company culture for current and prospective employees.

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Strategist

Unleash Your Innovation How can you develop a forward-thinking people strategy?

  • The linchpin of any people strategy, of course, is the ability to find and recruit the right employees.
  • People strategies must extend beyond just financial compensation.
  • You need to begin establishing a type of corporate culture that rewards innovation.

For any company to become an innovation leader, what is needed is a forward-thinking people strategy that incentivizes workers to become productive members of an innovative enterprise. 

One people strategy tactic that works is tying financial compensation to innovation goals that an organisation is attempting to achieve. For example, a company may set compensation bonuses for filing patents, achieving certain R&D benchmarks, or releasing a certain number of new products to market. More broadly, it may relate to the financial performance of a specific division or unit. Hitting revenue or profitability goals, for example, might trigger financial payouts. 

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More broadly, though, any people strategy must extend beyond just financial compensation. It means positioning the company as a place that is attractive not only to current workers, but also to potential recruits. In the first case, this means the encouragement of specific policies, such as flexible scheduling or time off for sabbaticals, that encourage workers to perform at their very best while pursuing their passions. 

something as simple as a “Casual Fridays” dress code may be the key to boosting business innovation

Leveraging people strategy means establishing a type of corporate culture that rewards innovation. Even something as simple as a “Casual Fridays” dress code may be the key to boosting business innovation if it helps to change the corporate culture. Once a company establishes a reputation as a place where innovation and creative ideas flourish, it is easier to attract the best and the brightest. 

The classic example of a people strategy at work, of course, is Google. Laszlo Bock, the Former SVP of People Operations at Google, utlined in his book “Work Rules!” the various ways that the company continually ensures that it is among the most innovative workplaces in the world. Until a few years ago, the company even encouraged something known as 20 percent time – the idea that employees should be dedicating 20 percent of their time in the office to coming up with new ideas and product concepts. This famously led to Gmail, which was among the first of Google’s “20 percent innovations.” 

The linchpin of any people strategy, of course, is the ability to find and recruit the right employees, and once you have found them, keeping them. New trends in the management space include everything from staging massive “hackathons” to find creative tech workers capable of devising innovative solutions on the fly, to holding “blind auditions” (in which companies do not know the names or identity of the applicant), so as to encourage a more diverse equal workforce in terms of background, gender, race and age. 

Going forward, it is almost certain that we will continue to see new innovations in “people strategy” as organisations attempt to figure out how to hire the best and brightest and put them to work in meaningful ways that drive bottom-line business growth of the organisation. 

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