“You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.” – Donald Rumsfeld
A global, creatively inclined technology company did away with a formal performance review system by instituting a 360 degree face-to-face review mechanism where employees are asked to highlight things that they feel colleagues should stop, start, or continue. Another creative technology company which prides itself on being on the global map fosters a smooth flow of knowledge at the workplace by virtue of its office design. The meeting rooms, refreshment area, and restrooms are centralized in order to catalyze and increase the likeliness of employees to interact with each other. The same company did away with long rectangular conference room tables because it prevented people sitting at the ends of the table from contributing to a discussion. These workplace culture characteristics paint a picture which suggests that these companies are creating a truly immersive environment for their biggest assets to bloom… and perhaps innovate.
Human Resource management as a strategic function has evolved from being ‘performance-driven’ a few decades ago to ‘innovation-driven’ in today’s dynamic and competitive marketplace. Organizations are recognising the very basic principle of innovation that good people are at the heart of great ideas. A company operating in the space of creative technology thrives on innovation. To attract the right set of people, businesses that are focused on creativity and technology need to highlight that their organization embraces innovation and provides space, freedom and independence for its people to exchange ideas. The right people are the biggest assets that fuel this innovation, and the foundation on which a successful organization is built.
Organizations in the business of creativity and technology are still missing a trick or two when it comes to retention of desired talent. With opportunities brewing at the turn of every street in the market because of the sheer pace at which technology evolves, employees today find it absolutely normal to jump from one organization to another in search of staying relevant and seeking job satisfaction. So what then, are some of the many tricks that organizations in this dynamic space should keep up their sleeves, in order to ensure that they always field their best army?
Constantly be on the lookout for fresh and young talent: A sizable chunk of the employable population consists of millennials - Generation Y - in the working age group of 20-35. It’s the enthusiasm and vibrancy that this highly motivated, educated, and skilled set of individuals brings to the table that needs to be groomed and developed in a technological, creatively driven company.
Revolutionize internal training and development programs through, wait for it, “gamification”: It’s the new buzz word in town. Gamification has come to be defined as “the use of game design elements in non-game contexts” - in this case, the Human Resource management context. While internal training and development programs have been an age-old HR technique, creative technology companies are increasingly merging gamification with their employee training programs to drive results. In fact, it’s the ability of games to engage people that may be HR’s best argument when trying to convince business executives about the true value of gamification. Engagement has been proven to correlate with retention, productivity and thereby even the financial performance of the company.
Provide complete freedom to communicate across the hierarchical structure: In a highly creative work environment, organizations are likely to house a diverse and eclectic mix of professionals from varied disciplines. In such a scenario, it is the ability to create a truly collaborative atmosphere that facilitates cross pollination of ideas traversing all levels of hierarchy. This can foster collective creativity, instil a sense of belonging amongst employees by making them feel wanted, and in turn help these companies to keep their attrition rates in check.
Circling back to the quote with which I began this piece, it is the employee arsenal that a company has at a given point in time that allows it to stay relevant and attain a competitive edge in the marketplace. The significance of Human Resource management in this regard can thus, never be ruled out.