INNOVATION HUMAN RESOURCES
Singapore - It is absolutely possible for everyone in the organisation, even the HR function, to be innovative and engaged at work, according to the world's second most admired company, Google.
There is "absolutely" a distinct relationship between innovation and employee engagement, according to D N Prasad, programme manager and head of people technology and operations for Google in Asia Pacific. As part of the second world's most admired company ranked by FORTUNE magazine, the first being Apple, Prasad says being innovative is an "expected" attribute needed for its employees because it's in the tech industry. That is the key that will go a long way in how the company prepares engagement practices across other job responsibilities in the organisation.
At Google, innovation starts right from the way how every employee does things, said Prasad at Hay Group's 13th annual FORTUNE magazine's World's Most Admired Companies (WMACs) award ceremony today. He said, "Innovation doesn't stop at the product development [unit]. It sizzles down and expands to every job function in the organisation, including HR."
As an example, Prasad says HR teams in most organisations across the industries are usually formed by practitioners who have MBAs or Master degrees specialising in HR skills and knowledge. But the way Google has structured and designed its organisation is slightly different. "We definitely have the HR domain specialists and HR experts in the team," Prasad said. "But we also have consultants who are hired to ensure progression work, [provide] internal consulting work and a set of doctorate professionals who have PhDs and Masters to help HR arrive at good decisions on our people matters."
Prasad added, "That's why we call our HR team ‘People Operations' at our innovation phase [because innovation] it is a very fundamental organisational structure in the operations."
Three Singapore companies Flextronics, Singapore Airlines and investment holding firm Wilmar International were also honoured today at the award ceremony. They were recognised by global industry peers for having excellent people management and high engagement scores, among other attributes such as innovation, social responsibility, management quality, and financial soundness.
Singapore Airlines was ranked 27th globally on the list while Flextronics was seventh among the semiconductor industry listing. The findings showed that 94% of 667 WMAC respondents from 33 countries said employee engagement has created a competitive advantage for them, compared to 82% of their peers. Line managers also have a very high of ownership over their organisations' engagement practices, said 86% of respondents.
But Dr Stephen Choo, regional director for Hay Group ASEAN and South Asia, said engagement alone is insufficient. He suggested that companies must also "enable employees for success by removing red tape, tearing down knowledge silos and encouraging collaboration" if they want to drive work productivity.
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