The business world has been rapidly evolving in recent years, and we’ve all experienced significant and consistent change as a result. The message is clear: organizations must innovate or risk falling behind. 

But for us HR professionals, the urgency to pursue innovative, transformative change is especially important. HR plays a pivotal role in an organization’s culture and employee experience, placing us at the forefront of workplace evolution. It’s a huge responsibility: We have the power to propel our companies toward success, but if we aren’t finding ways to innovate and transform, we can hold them back. 

Naturally, the question for many HR professionals is, “Where do I begin?” Or for those who are already leading a digital transformation journey, it might be, “What else can I do?” This blog, inspired by the webinar linked below that I created with Naviant’s own Chris Krause, will help you find your path forward toward creating an innovative HR experience wherever you’re at. Let’s dive into 4 ways you can embrace innovation in your HR department that will impact your entire workforce. 

4 HR Innovation Examples You Can Apply to Your HR Department

1. Strategic Process Streamlining: The Digital Advantage

In a poll we did in 2023, we found that 49% of organizations have most of their data in a digital format. We also found that 18% of HR professionals reported that their data is still primarily paper-based. With that, it’s clear that digitization and automation are promising opportunities just waiting for many organizations to dive in. 

And that’s why I’ll keep saying this: The biggest win that HR professionals can capture is around the digitization of their documents and data and the automation of the processes that involve them. These two actions are truly among the most powerful innovation examples out there.

This digitization should be the foundation of your HR transformation, and you’ll be able to pursue automation and enjoy benefits like: 

  • Eliminate manual tasks like data entry, processing payroll, managing employee records, calculating wages, scheduling interviews, and tracking applicants. 
  • Increase efficiency and productivity in tasks like application processing, attendance tracking, benefit enrollment management, and document security and sensitivity. 
  • Improve compliance and reduce errors by helping you maintain accurate records, keep timely records reporting, and comply with labor laws and regulations. 

If you’re wondering where to start, here are some examples of areas that different organizations are using automation: 

  • Recruiting and selection: Applicant correspondence, application resume, references and recommendations, interview notes, and the offer letter. 
  • Employee onboarding: Background check, emergency contacts, W-4/tax forms, direct deposit form, EEO information, technology requests, employment contracts, I-9 form. 
  • Policies and procedures: Policies and procedures acknowledgment. 
  • Employee relations: Performance improvement plan, performance documentation, and employee relations correspondence. 
  • Employee leave: FMLA request, leave of absence, sabbatical request, PTO request, and leave documentation. 
  • Employee offboarding: Offboarding checklist, exit interview, and resignation letter. 

If you’re interested in learning more about any of these automation use cases, please reach out: I love talking about automation and I’ve implemented all of these examples in my own HR department. 

2. Data-Driven Decision Making: Steering with Precision

Once you digitize and begin automating your HR documents and processes, your data will finally be digitized. This development will open the door for your organization to become a data-driven organization. Whether you measure things by OKRs or KPIs, letting data drive your decisions truly improves how your organization runs. But first, you need technology to help you access your data. This partnership will enable you to apply your data to common HR initiatives like: 

  • Measuring efforts and driving change. You can even query your management team to guide you on what goals you should target and what benchmarks are appropriate. And when the time comes, you’ll have access to data to see whether you hit the mark.  
  • Making informed and strategic decisions around whether you have the right level of employment, and whether your employees are in the right roles.  
  • Performance management, including automating the employee performance review process and allowing staff and their managers to view all of their content and goals in real time. 
  • Measuring employee satisfaction. You can send questionnaires to your staff to get their feedback on their employee experience 

These are all incredible ways to collect and leverage data to improve employee satisfaction. 

3. Enhancing the User Experience

Whether your organization’s employees are spread across the country, your customer base is spread across the country, or both, your organization needs technology to keep everyone connected and engaged. To accomplish this, you really need to have data electronically available at a moment’s notice. 

An important consideration for HR departments is this: When a new employee joins your organization, how quickly can you get them up to speed with your technology and processes? Do they become seasoned pros quickly, or does it take them years before they’re effective at their role? You want to reduce the time it takes for them to act like seasoned professionals and impress your clients. Fortunately, technology is making this effort easier than ever. For example, organizations are starting to use AI tools like Microsoft’s CoPilot as a knowledge base that employees can access to answer questions quickly and accurately, speeding up the learning process.  

Another key part of offering a fantastic employee experience is having a single source of truth for employee data. This not only affects your HR department itself, but your employees as well. On average, there are eleven sources of truth for employee data within a single HR department, and if this is your situation, your employees may not be sure where to go if they want to look up information. You can solve this by adding integrations between your various HR platforms.  

To start, pick a platform that has an open API or application programming interface that allows you to have all of your applications interact with each other seamlessly. This way, your employees get a seamless single interface to interact with, and you get holistic insight into your data. Another benefit is when you need to make employee changes such as a name change, you can do it in one place and it will update across your applications. 

4. Elevating HR Strategy: Aligning with Organizational Vision

Every department in every industry has heard the buzz around data, and it applies to HR too, making it another one of our HR innovation examples. As HR professionals, our role is to align HR with broader business goals and to foster a culture of sustainable growth, profitability, and organizational excellence. My team has found that using technology to leverage data has been a vital component of playing both roles effectively. One of Naviant’s core goals is company growth, so our HR team has used technology to look at data to identify what initiatives we can pursue to support that goal as a department 

A question that all HR departments should ask themselves is, “How can we ensure excellence during our company’s growth journey?” It’s our responsibility to ensure that we’re using technology to look to the future. Whether supporting growth, fostering a culture of excellence, or navigating market changes, HR strategy must align with the organization’s vision. And technology is our ally that ensures this alignment, providing insights and enabling a cohesive experience across the enterprise. 

HR’s Call to Action: There’s No Better Time to Implement These HR Innovation Examples

The call to action for HR professionals is clear: harness the power of technology to transform your departments and, by extension, your organizations. With these HR innovation examples, you can embrace the digital revolution, make data-driven decisions, enhance user experiences, and align your strategies with your business goals. The future of work is not on the horizon—it’s here, and it’s waiting for you to lead the charge. 

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About Tricia

As Naviant’s Chief Human Resources Officer with 20+ years in the HR field, Tricia has seen HR professionals across industries grapple with similar challenges: endless needs and a shortage of time. She’s also seen the role of the HR professional evolve dramatically. These realities give rise to the need to evolve and adapt. Tricia believes that the answer to these challenges is to lean into technology. This way, HR professionals can truly put the human back in human resources. With her monthly articles on the Naviant blog and her regular LinkedIn content, Tricia is on a mission to empower HR professionals to embrace technology to shift their focus from keeping up with the need to supporting people and fostering growth and engagement. Want to keep up with the latest in HR? Connect and follow Tricia on LinkedIn to keep the conversation going.