HR Directors need to rethink organisational design if they are to help marketing teams lead on innovation
HR directors are supporting an extraordinary amount of change at the moment. From finding people with the right business acumen for business transformation projects, through improving digital skills, to regulatory training demands, they have their work cut out.
Surveys from the Federation of Small Business suggest directors expect to slow their growth and hire fewer people post Brexit, yet are grappling with the skills gap that will emerge. Leaders are faced with the dilemma of a recruitment freeze just when they need to invest in the skills and innovation that will progress their business. Adherence to a rigid headcount and hierarchy therefore seems flawed.
So why not turn it on its head? The gig economy has come of age, catapulted by work life balance. There is now a vast community of self-employed experts who are willing to work fewer hours, or intensively on a project, in return for flexibility.
It’s time to look at hybrid models then, whereby consultants wait on the sidelines ready to take on a project, yet have the flexibility to pursue projects with other companies while they wait. These people could also act as a valuable training resource and innovation hub so that they not only deliver projects but also help improve skills and incubate ideas within the organisation without hurting any of the business as usual tasks.
I mentioned incubation. Christmas is coming and retail businesses will have plenty of ideas as to how to make their brand stand out, from new ways of using social media to making customer sales journeys more slick. But often there isn’t the time, budget, headcount nor skills to test ideas so they languish.
It therefore makes sense to outsource the ideas to someone who is an expert in testing approaches and understands what will and won’t work. They will be able to achieve more in less time, draw upon their experience of working on similar projects, and help determine which bets the company should place, well in time for Christmas.
Hybrid models can’t happen overnight but with some lateral thinking on organisational design companies can afford both high quality skill and innovation.
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