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Hire People Better Than You (and 3 Other Innovative Views From Guy Kawasaki)

Who is the visionary in your organization? You may not be able to immediately point to a spot on the org chart, but after you hear Guy Kawasaki’s conversation on episode 96 of our HR Break Room® podcast, you might be more likely to find them in your HR department than you think.

As the chief evangelist of Canva and the host of Guy Kawasaki’s Remarkable People podcast, Kawasaki shared his views on innovation, HR and the employee experience with a big-picture look that offers valuable, ground-level insights.

The shifting role of modern HR

In Kawasaki’s opinion, the HR manager’s current role is increasingly moving toward that of an evangelist who communicates the dreams and visions of the company. With the advent of self-service HR technology, today’s HR professionals are finding more time to add value by building and selling the organizational culture as they’re recruiting new talent.

According to Kawasaki, this would mean managers can work beyond a scope that used to be primarily limited to ensuring they “keep [you] out of jail, get the W-9s, 1099s and all the payroll stuff together.”

Understanding meaning as part of innovation

Using the example of the first digital camera developed by Kodak in the 1970s, Kawasaki explained how understanding the meaning of your work can help you explore avenues of innovation you might not find through customer feedback alone.

“If the goal of a Kodak product is to preserve memories, one would hope that you would have a more open mind towards digital photography,” he said. “If that engineer was thinking, ‘My function is to figure out better ways to put chemicals on film,’ he wouldn’t have invented a digital camera.”

The perception of effective technology

With the ubiquity of self-service technology in the marketplace, employees have a justifiably high expectation in today’s workplace tech infrastructure. As Kawasaki pointed out, a well-designed app doesn’t just successfully send a message to the consumer; it can also be key to creating a positive impression among employees.

“If your company has an HR app that’s really well-designed and onboarding was really great,” he said, “it’s a very positive sort of halo that leads them to think, ‘I’m working for a company that really has its act together.’”

The relationship between leaders and HR

When asked to offer recommendations for executives and HR managers teaming up in the search for the right HR tech, Kawasaki proposed an idea that is broadly applicable: Empower people instead of controlling them. Utilizing technology that returns data ownership to the employees who know it best and empowers HR managers to be strategic with their time benefits everyone.

“A CEO should look around their management meeting and think, ‘He or she does their job better than I can,’” he said. “That includes looking at the HR person and saying, ‘They can do that HR job better than I can.’ And that’s the start. You hire people who are better than you at that function.”

If you’d like to learn more about the attitude of innovation from Guy Kawasaki, listen to episode 96 of HR Break Room. You can also read more about undertaking successful change management in our white paper, Making the Change: How to Lead a Digital Transformation to Success.