Innovation in HR: Doing Something Old Better

by Michael Haberman on January 31, 2008 · 3 comments


Another good posting by Valeria Maltoni of Coversation Agent. Her blog title was “Sometimes Innovation is no More Than Doing Something Old … Better”. She gives several examples of what she means:

  • Apple’s new thin notebook computer, same computer, just thinner
  • Google as the search engine of choice instead to the old powerhouse Altavista
  • MS Word instead of Wordstar

In his book Human Resources Champions , Dave Ulrich talks about the skills that effective and progressive HR professionals need to have. But one of the key points he makes is that to be considered a “partner” you must do the basics of the job well. You must be an administrative expert. His steps for being an administrative expert include:

  • Reengineer HR work through use fo technology, process engineering teams, and quality improvements.
  • Define the HR role in creating value for the firm.
  • Creat a shared services HR delivery mechanism.
  • Measure HR results in terms of efficiency (cost) and effectiveness (quality).

Administration has been what HR/Personnel has been about from its inception. Many, many companies do it poorly. So how about being an “innovative” HR department by taking Ulrich’s and Maltoni’s advice and do something old … better.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Wally Bock January 31, 2008 at 8:03 pm

An excellent post, Michael, with several nuggets. My take is that far too few HR departments do the basics, the “administration” well. Even fewer seem to measure themselves in terms of the value the drive to the bottom line.

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Public Records January 31, 2008 at 9:58 pm

Thanks for these Wonderful and Interesting Post. Gives me interest on the HR field

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Kris February 1, 2008 at 3:17 pm

Mike –

Agree with Ulrich and Wally. Isn’t it ironic that those HR pros who pride themselves on being transactional excellent as their core skill usually buck being measured?

It turns out that a lot of those folks want to stay in the safe box of transactions, when the true way to measure the value they provide is through consistent measurement, service levels, etc….

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