Industry News

What does workplace innovation look like? 2 HR practitioners weigh in

SmartBrief is accepting entries for its first annual Innovation Awards for Workplace Technology. As we experience a new normal, many companies are facing significant challenges in the workplace, which is why we believe it is important to recognize the great achievements and innovation across industries. Our goal is to recognize and celebrate the best innovations designed to solve problems in the modern workplace. Award categories include compensation and benefits, productivity and communications, and wellness and safety solutions, as well as emerging technology. 

SmartBrief spoke with two of our judges who will be evaluating award entrants: Tracie Upchurch, HRIS advisor at Moody’s and Bryan Otte, founder and CEO of HRPlus Group, a human resources consultancy based in Washington, D.C. Otte is the former chief HR officer at SmartBrief. Here’s what they had to say about HR tools and what employees need in today’s workplace. 

Tracie Upchurch

Hi, Tracie. Thank you for sitting down with me today. Could you tell us a little bit about your professional background?

I have 15-plus years of progressive experience across a broad range of human resources functions, as well as HR consulting, project management, talent management, and leadership experience. This includes the design and implementation of human resource information systems, as well as implementing and driving HR talent management solutions to integrate human capital strategy with business strategy.


Tracie Upchurch

Why is this awards program important right now?

I believe this awards program is so important right because the market is saturated with solutions and having a program like this is a perfect way to showcase technology leaders based on criteria that matters to decision makers and executives.

How do you define innovation?

To me “innovation” is defining new ways of delivering solutions that helps people work smartly, more efficiently and creatively. I feel as long as we are creative, we will always have innovation, and that lets us always move forward.

How would you describe the modern workplace and what is imperative for employee success?

For me, the modern workplace is a place that is nimble enough to adapt to the changing world, embrace the generations of workers, and a place that is open to always evolving to be better. For that workplace to produce employee success, most importantly, it needs to be willing to listen to their employees and be ready to embrace ideas and suggestions. Fostering employee feedback is the key to making this work.

Bryan Otte

Hi, Bryan. Thank you for sitting down with me today. I'd like to give our readers a better glimpse into your expertise and experience. Could you tell us a little bit about your professional background?

My professional background is unusually diverse. Before I became an HR leader, I held executive management roles in marketing and operations with Fortune 500 companies and also had plenty of experience in account management, technology and commissioned sales.  As a consultant, I see things from my clients' perspectives since I, too, was once an HR client.


Bryan Otte

Why is this awards program important right now?

The world of work is changing faster and faster thanks to somewhat predictable, as well as entirely unpredictable, factors.  More than ever, HR needs to provide responsive leadership.  This program is a terrific showcase of the kinds of tools that will help HR lead the way.

How do you define innovation?

In my view, innovation is what we do to identify opportunities and overcome obstacles that, when executed properly, provide value to customers. I work with companies great and small to devise solutions to HR challenges, and the SmartBrief Innovation Awards for Workplace Technology is a terrific opportunity for solution providers to get exposure to a similarly discerning audience. 

How would you describe the modern workplace and what is imperative for employee success?

The workplace today looks so much different from just 12 months ago, and I believe it will look quite different 12 months from today. With distributed teams becoming a permanent characteristic of the way we work, I see the primary challenge being how to maintain a sense of teamwork and unique culture.  Winning organizations, and the employees that power them, figure out how to leverage technology as a force to drive culture and reinforce corporate values that, ultimately, deliver on a company's promises time and again.

How are you innovating the workplace?

We are excited to see the types of innovative solutions that are submitted and that we know our readers will benefit from. If your company has a solution for the modern workplace that improves employees performance, communication, and health and wellbeing, we invite you to start your nomination here.

 

Lisa Nelms is a Product Marketing Director at SmartBrief.