Friday, December 12, 2008

Innovation in HR

Is it possible to be innovative in HR? I think the jury is still out on the ultimate answer to that question.

My personal opinion is that innovation within the HR function often follows the "Kaizen" model of taking good ideas and working very hard to make incremental improvements on them to make them better.

I rarely see a true Sunburst idea in HR that will light up the sky.

One trend I have been noticing of late is the concept of sharing or swapping employees.

Today I noticed several reports of a story that originated in the Wall Street Journal about employees being swapped between companies to spur innovation.

According to AP reports, Google and Procter & Gamble are now swapping employees as well.

The two industry leaders are paring up to learn from each other and to develop customer service.

Procter & Gamble Co. says it has done job swaps with Google Inc., and Google employees have been at P&G's Cincinnati headquarters helping wiith training.

P&G spokeswoman Allison Yang said Wednesday that the company wants to reach more consumers who are increasingly online. She said that digital is "definitely a focus" for the company.

She said P&G will continue looking at opportunities to work with Google, based in Mountain View, Calif. A message for comment was left with Google.

The Wall Street Journal reported in Wednesday's editions that
discussions on an employee swap began last year between P&G and Google executives. The swaps began in January.

This represents a substantial change in approach at both companies which do not often share information so openly. It is also a way to expose employees to new ideas and new cultures while exploring mutual incremental process improvements. I think that is a developing Best Practice that could be utilized by any organization to spur learning, employee development and innovation.