During the summer, Waggl partnered with the Northern California Human Resources Association (NCHRA), one of the nation’s largest HR associations, to reach out to more than 20,000 HR professionals about their outlooks on innovation in the workplace. The results of our survey indicated that 73 percent agreed that innovation is even more important than pay scale in retaining and attracting top talent.

But respondents were divided about whether their own places of employment were innovative (60 percent said “yes,” vs. 41 percent saying “no”). According to Ingrid Stabb, the NCHRA’s associate vice president of marketing, the association was intrigued by the disparity between the percentage of HR professionals who clearly value innovation and the percentage of HR professionals who believe that their own places of employment are, in fact, innovative.

“These results strengthen our commitment toward listening to the HR community’s insights and helping our members put those insights and values into practice in the workplace,” says Stabb.

Participants were also asked the open-ended question, “What innovation would you like to see in the workplace?” The common themes that emerged included: using new or improved technology, employee engagement, working from home, better approaches to performance management, and moving away from paper.

In addition, at this past summer’s HR West conference in Seattle, the NCHRA used Waggl to pose the question, “What area of HR needs the most innovation and why?” to more than 200 HR professionals in attendance at the event.

Here are the top three answers, according to votes from survey participants:

  1. “Talent management: We need to learn what’s important to potential and new employees in order to increase tenure and engagement. How do we maintain productivity and yet allow them time to build community at work?”
  2. “Performance Reviews: because feedback should be ongoing vs. once a year.”
  3. “Leadership coaching: because so many HR issues stem from poor leadership.”

We are excited about the depth and breadth of insights that emerged from these two surveys. It is clear that HR professionals believe that innovation is important, particularly when it comes to managing talent. It is also evident that they feel that there is some work to be done in order to encourage innovation in the HR world. Listening and creating a two-way dialogue is the key to fostering better understanding for business leaders and employees alike.

As phrased by the keynote speaker at HR West, Steve Cadigan of Cadigan Talent Ventures, “The great organizations of the future are listening for insights now, not years from now. HR professionals have a chance to make more of an impact in the world now than ever before.”

A version of this article previously appeared on Waggl’s blog.

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