What Does a Bathroom Faucet Have to Do with HR?

Nancy Gray-Starkebaum

I was in New York City a few weeks ago, and used the public restrooms in Penn Station. I was blown away by the innovation!

A faucet has a lot to do with HR

 

The faucet pictured here has soap, water, and DRYER functionality all in one place. How cool is that?

 

The bathroom was remarkably clean, no need for paper towels, no water drips, and with the best bathroom faucet I’ve ever seen.

 

So, what does this have to do with HR?

 

It got me thinking about innovation and how many hurdles the inventor of that faucet had to overcome. I’ve sat in countless HR meetings over the course of my career where innovative ideas have come to die. It’s amazing how many obstacles come to mind like privacy, legislation, compliance, legal, money, the list goes on. All of these words chip away at innovation and at the innovator’s confidence.

 

The next time someone brings an innovative idea to a meeting, follow these steps:

 

  1. Start with the outcome in mind – if you went forward with the idea, what would the result be? Would it make something more efficient, more effective, create a better experience?
  2. Keep the energy up – brainstorm ways to make the innovation even better.
  3. Map out who would benefit from the innovation. Leaders? Managers? Employees?  Candidates? Why and how would they benefit?
  4. Is there a way to quantify the gains? Use easy math to test it out and don’t worry about being super accurate at this point. Just verify that there is movement in the right direction.
  5. Is there a cost involved? As a leader if you believe the idea has merit, then find the budget. Don’t put that monkey on the back of the innovator. Make the business case and get the funding.
  6. Finally, support the innovator in creating a simple plan to move forward. Don’t kill the innovation with layers of PowerPoint decks, forms, white papers and other bureaucracy.

 

Your team’s ability to innovate and create will drive your business forward and who knows, you might just create the next great faucet!