The importance of innovation The importance of innovation

The importance of innovation
14 Nov 2017

Every organisation has legions of potential innovators just waiting for the chance to be heard. But unless there is a dedicated forum or mechanism to do so, it can be a challenge to engage with employees in a way that ensures such interaction takes place in a meaningful way.

The fact is that the best ideas often come from the most unlikely of places, but if they can drive measurable results and fuel growth, they have to be worth looking for.

The idea of ‘innovation’ is an appealing one. The payroll industry has undergone massive changes in recent years due to technology innovations such as cloud and mobile computing. But these developments notwithstanding, the payroll operation as one of the most vital and mission-critical elements of any organisation, is still ripe for innovative thinking.

The reality behind innovation is that it involves resources, processes, effective project management, time, space and iterative development. This means it is not always easy to know where to start.

A good place to begin though is usually by setting overall objectives that justify the effort that needs to be put in. If you can create an environment in which innovation is part of everyone’s job, in every role and in every department all the time, it will help to bring about a necessary shift in thinking and make everyday innovation much easier to achieve.

“No organisation should be afraid to fail.”

Boosting internal efficiency
For payroll departments, or companies that support the payroll process, innovation is likely to focus on boosting internal efficiencies and improving communication. But whatever the objectives are, they need to be shared with stakeholders in order to assess the organisation’s capacity for innovation.

When starting down this route, the best place to begin is with easy wins. It is important to manage change processes and approach the search for new ideas and how to deliver them pragmatically.

No organisation should be afraid to fail. It is a necessary part of the process as long as it provides useful lessons and everyone can learn and start again. Taking this approach means understanding that any actions taken will ultimately have a positive impact on moving the company closer to its overall vision.

So take a look at your working environment when choosing an initial project. Ask yourself where does innovation fit in? Are innovation goals being widely recognised and acknowledged and backed up with plans to meet specific objectives? All too often, this is not the case so it might be a good idea to organise an ideation challenge with prizes for successful ideas.

Long-term commitment

After introducing your first innovative idea into the organisation, the next, and often most challenging, step is to measure the impact of what has been achieved.

Any activities that have been introduced need to be aligned with overall business objectives. Doing so encourages more opportunities for collaboration and ensures that team members remain engaged. But a consistent set of evaluation metrics must likewise be put in place to assess all aspects of the innovation process, including the subsequent cultural shifts that will inevitably occur.

To achieve this, some employers set up in-house innovation programmes, while others choose to outsource the work to consultants. But a third pproach is to introduce an idea management software platform. These platforms provide a framework to capture, evaluate, prioritise and select ideas as well as a repository to hold them.

Whichever method is chosen, however, working towards and achieving an innovation-ready culture is a long-term commitment rather than a oneoff event. It certainly requires a suitable culture, resources and skills from across the business if it is to generate tangible rewards.

Innovation at SSCL: A payroll texting


A UK shared services provider has boosted the efficiency of its payroll process by implementing an employee’s suggestion generated using an ideas management platform.

Shared Services Connected Limited (SSCL), a joint venture between the UK’s Cabinet Office and IT consultancy Sopra Steria to provide support services to the public sector, installed a so-called ‘Innovation Station’ last year, which enables departmental managers to set challenges.

Since doing so, the platform has been used by 90% of SSCL’s Government division workforce, generating more than 550 ideas, some 80 of which have been progressed.

One of the most significant is an SMS-based payroll reminder scheme, which originally came out of a pilot study with the Environment Agency (EA) to find ways of making salary payments more accurate by improving communications. A staff member suggested that EA team leaders should be prompted using text messages in advance of critical payroll cut-off dates to ensure that any necessary approvals or forms were submitted ahead of the payroll run.

Marc Penny, SSCL’s head of process efficiency & delivery excellence, said the move had “improved payroll accuracy and reduced calls to our contact centre, and has been so successful we are now rolling it out across our entire customer base”.

He added that the organisation had seen a rapid return on its investment since purchasing the software platform as well as an increase in employee engagement as a result of service improvements.

 

Rosemarie Diegnan is Wazoku’s chief strategy & product officer. She manages the company’s product and marketing strategy and also looks after the planning and development of its idea management application suite. Rosemarie has more than 13 years experience in product management and interactive design and has built and launched online applications for companies across a variety of industries.

Every organisation has legions of potential innovators just waiting for the chance to be heard. But unless there is a dedicated forum or mechanism to do so, it can be a challenge to engage with employees in a way that ensures such interaction takes place in a meaningful way.

The fact is that the best ideas often come from the most unlikely of places, but if they can drive measurable results and fuel growth, they have to be worth looking for.

The idea of ‘innovation’ is an appealing one. The payroll industry has undergone massive changes in recent years due to technology innovations such as cloud and mobile computing. But these developments notwithstanding, the payroll operation as one of the most vital and mission-critical elements of any organisation, is still ripe for innovative thinking.

The reality behind innovation is that it involves resources, processes, effective project management, time, space and iterative development. This means it is not always easy to know where to start.

A good place to begin though is usually by setting overall objectives that justify the effort that needs to be put in. If you can create an environment in which innovation is part of everyone’s job, in every role and in every department all the time, it will help to bring about a necessary shift in thinking and make everyday innovation much easier to achieve.

“No organisation should be afraid to fail.”

Boosting internal efficiency
For payroll departments, or companies that support the payroll process, innovation is likely to focus on boosting internal efficiencies and improving communication. But whatever the objectives are, they need to be shared with stakeholders in order to assess the organisation’s capacity for innovation.

When starting down this route, the best place to begin is with easy wins. It is important to manage change processes and approach the search for new ideas and how to deliver them pragmatically.

No organisation should be afraid to fail. It is a necessary part of the process as long as it provides useful lessons and everyone can learn and start again. Taking this approach means understanding that any actions taken will ultimately have a positive impact on moving the company closer to its overall vision.

So take a look at your working environment when choosing an initial project. Ask yourself where does innovation fit in? Are innovation goals being widely recognised and acknowledged and backed up with plans to meet specific objectives? All too often, this is not the case so it might be a good idea to organise an ideation challenge with prizes for successful ideas.

Long-term commitment

After introducing your first innovative idea into the organisation, the next, and often most challenging, step is to measure the impact of what has been achieved.

Any activities that have been introduced need to be aligned with overall business objectives. Doing so encourages more opportunities for collaboration and ensures that team members remain engaged. But a consistent set of evaluation metrics must likewise be put in place to assess all aspects of the innovation process, including the subsequent cultural shifts that will inevitably occur.

To achieve this, some employers set up in-house innovation programmes, while others choose to outsource the work to consultants. But a third pproach is to introduce an idea management software platform. These platforms provide a framework to capture, evaluate, prioritise and select ideas as well as a repository to hold them.

Whichever method is chosen, however, working towards and achieving an innovation-ready culture is a long-term commitment rather than a oneoff event. It certainly requires a suitable culture, resources and skills from across the business if it is to generate tangible rewards.

Innovation at SSCL: A payroll texting


A UK shared services provider has boosted the efficiency of its payroll process by implementing an employee’s suggestion generated using an ideas management platform.

Shared Services Connected Limited (SSCL), a joint venture between the UK’s Cabinet Office and IT consultancy Sopra Steria to provide support services to the public sector, installed a so-called ‘Innovation Station’ last year, which enables departmental managers to set challenges.

Since doing so, the platform has been used by 90% of SSCL’s Government division workforce, generating more than 550 ideas, some 80 of which have been progressed.

One of the most significant is an SMS-based payroll reminder scheme, which originally came out of a pilot study with the Environment Agency (EA) to find ways of making salary payments more accurate by improving communications. A staff member suggested that EA team leaders should be prompted using text messages in advance of critical payroll cut-off dates to ensure that any necessary approvals or forms were submitted ahead of the payroll run.

Marc Penny, SSCL’s head of process efficiency & delivery excellence, said the move had “improved payroll accuracy and reduced calls to our contact centre, and has been so successful we are now rolling it out across our entire customer base”.

He added that the organisation had seen a rapid return on its investment since purchasing the software platform as well as an increase in employee engagement as a result of service improvements.

 

Rosemarie Diegnan is Wazoku’s chief strategy & product officer. She manages the company’s product and marketing strategy and also looks after the planning and development of its idea management application suite. Rosemarie has more than 13 years experience in product management and interactive design and has built and launched online applications for companies across a variety of industries.

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