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Innovate on a Dime

Today’s high-tech, global, rapidly evolving economy requires HR professionals to innovate in order tap essential talent. But before you start feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of mastering another cloud-based, agile, business intelligence system—or mustering the funds to pay for it—remember one fundamental truth: Innovation doesn’t have to be high-tech or big-budget to be effective.

Kristen Hess Chang, Vice President of Talent Management at LLR Partners in Philadelphia, has devised several economical innovations that demonstrate how low-budget innovation can be a powerful human resources tool.  Here are two of Chang’s low-budget, big-impact innovations that you might want to consider in your own company.

Free social media
“I don’t know why more companies don’t use LinkedIn. It’s free,” Chang said.

Social networking still ranks as one of the biggest innovations in talent acquisition in recent years and LinkedIn leads social networks as a tool for identifying and attracting talented job candidates. Chang developed a cheat sheet of best practices for LLR Partners and its portfolio companies to optimize their presence and branding on LinkedIn, effectively use LinkedIn searches, and clearly indicate which individuals are the conduits to careers inside their companies.

Dashboard on a budget
The evolution of elite business intelligence and performance management systems has enabled many large companies to develop detailed dashboards for each position.  These scorecards outline the role’s mission, essential skills, key deliverables, accountabilities, evaluation metrics and target delivery dates.

Chang spearheaded an initiative to create similar, but low-cost, scorecards within LLR and its portfolio companies. The process of developing a mission and associated scorecard for each position has forced company leaders to think beyond conventional definitions of each position, and evaluate what is truly needed in the company. In some cases, that reconceptualization has enabled CEOs to identify and tap vital resources and skills that he or she needs to propel the company through its next stage of growth.

Have you become too rooted in your existing HR processes? Are you daunted by the cost of adopting the latest, high-tech HR product? Step back from your conventional thinking and concentrate on frugal innovation. You may find that some powerful – and inexpensive – HR tools are within your grasp.

Written by Alan J. Kaplan, Founder & CEO, Kaplan Partners, January 2014