Best HR Ideas for 2011

See the editors' choices for Best HR Ideas in Benefits;
Best HR Ideas in HR Technology; and
Best HR Ideas in Talent Management.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
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HRE presents its third annual list of winning ideas that improved the HR function and service delivery in unique ways.

There's been much talk among HR professionals of late about the concerns over cost controls giving way to concerns about an organization's ability to innovate and grow as the recovery ensues.

Namely, those concerns hover around, "Do we have the right talent in the right positions to generate the kind of innovation and growth we need to succeed in this emerging and regenerating economy?"

What better backdrop could there be for presenting the results of our third annual Best HR Ideas contest than this changing business environment -- in which flexibility and innovation will help differentiate the winners and losers? For it's only in organizations where a commitment to HR innovation exists that the best ideas for running human resource practices more efficiently, creatively and productively can germinate and grow.

As one Best HR Ideas winner, BAE Systems Inc., states in its nomination form, "Research indicates the future of HR will be predicated on its ability to be innovative, accountable and business-focused."

Indeed, a recent Innovation Survey, conducted by HRE, confirms HR executives are beginning to accept this new reality. The poll of the magazine's readers shows 92 percent of HR leaders say innovation is very important (59 percent) or important (33 percent) to their business' success. Likewise, 89 percent say their HR department plays a significant (38 percent), somewhat significant (32 percent) or very significant (19 percent) role in fostering innovation in their organization.

The full results of that survey -- which also reveal how businesses are tying innovation to certain HR functions, such as screening, training and development, performance management, succession and promotion, and incentives and rewards -- will be unveiled at HRE's upcoming Human Resource Executive Forum®, which will be held March 14 through 16 at the Grand Hyatt New York.

In fact, these topics are so important to chief human resource officers today that the Forum's leadoff session, the Senior Executive Roundtable entitled "HR's Role in Driving Innovation and Growth," is where these poll results will be released and discussed. (For more information about the entire, two-day, seven-session Forum, visit

Clearly, how our companies are supporting and sustaining innovation -- even more importantly, how they're planning to do this going forward -- is on front burners everywhere, not just in HR offices and C-suites.

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Even President Barack Obama, in his Jan. 25 State of the Union address, said, "We need to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world."

A story we ran on HREOnlineTM the following day cited another recent study, by Towers Watson, that found global companies put innovation at the tops of their lists when it comes to plans for growing their businesses. What government can do, said Ravin Jesuthasan, global practice leader for talent management at Towers Watson in Chicago, in that story, is "create the conditions for companies to [be innovative] internally. ... I don't think the government on its own can drive innovation, nor should it be trying."

No, innovation will be tied to a company's culture and leadership, and talent and performance management -- those things HR executives will have strong hands in steering. If this year's Best HR Ideas winners are any indication, there is fertile ground in our HR organizations for innovation to thrive.

See the:

Best HR Ideas in Benefits

Best HR Ideas in HR Technology

Best HR Ideas in Talent Management

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