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When people and innovation meet

It’s not often a business can state that both innovation and people are a major priority and a fundamental part of their company ethos. Highly successful businesses are successful where this symbiotic relationship is given equal importance, without favouring one over the other.

At Primedia Unlimited subsidiary X/procure®, a highly successful business means turning people’s aspiration into innovative accomplishments with the end result being client focused. This behaviour has resulted in this specialist electronic procurement software company receiving numerous accolades over the years that recognise the company’s contribution to both people management and company innovation.

Managing Director JD Henderson says: “Many organisations believe that the task of innovation should be the responsibility of a dedicated Research and Development department, or that it should be allocated to specific people like a design engineer or similar.  However at successful and happy companies the value offering is based on providing innovative solutions to clients,” he says.

“We believe that innovative mindsets and culture in an organisation must be encouraged by the entire management chain. This means having a value system in place that creates a positive outcome or added value at every client interaction. Trying something new or going where nobody else has gone before means little if it doesn’t create a positive outcome for the client. It’s very easy for an organisation to confuse aspiration with innovation.”

The approach to people must be an ’embracement’ of their diversity and the unique set of skills that each person brings. “We believe that diverse teams with differing skill sets working together towards common purposes create far better results than the traditional skilled but uniform teams.

Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of an organisation, its teams and people is very important,” he says. “I believe one should continuously be revising one’s approach, both internally and externally. The current business climate is changing at a rapid pace both locally and internationally.

Also, the work force of today is smart, agile and knowledgeable, and we’re all citizens of a global village.  Therefore to attract and retain the best people and talent, an organisation needs to address not just the basic needs of an employee, like salary, but also focus on personal and professional development and growth opportunities, thereby creating a pleasant and comfortable working environment where people want to be,” says JD.

Today’s businesses need to be adaptable and sensitive to the changing needs of its workers.  We’re connected 24-7, and can work from virtually anywhere.  Therefore allowing staff to focus more on output and deliverables, and less on how, when and where they create the output, is key.

Just look at some global companies that combine innovative ‘people first’ policies. Fedex’s slogan People-Service-Profit, drives the belief that excellent care of employees breeds excellent service. The people strategy at Prudential is straightforward – be a high-performance company and a superb place to work while Sainsbury’s people strategy is the focus for success. Their training academies (the first one was opened more than 100 years ago) focus on preparing their staff to aspire to the best possible standards. Diagio always comes out on top due to systematic leadership building and Marks & Spencer prioritise communication through regular conference calls to management and daily huddles among staff.

Other innovative HR companies include Google, Cadbury, Nissan, Twitter and LinkedIN. “At X/procure®, we get a lot of innovative ideas by means of our innovation sessions and through spending some time with key stakeholders within the industry. We never neglect the end-user, they make use of the system on a daily basis and offer many insights.”

There are many other classical examples, but the common denominator amongst all these leading companies is making the employee the hero and allowing the mind to be free. Innovation and your people make a powerful combination. Don’t neglect one for the other!

Connect with X/procure® on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or www.xprocure.com. Call them on 011 562 6500.