The Fertile Ground of HRO Innovation

Kelly Services’ recent announcement of its new Office of Innovation was fascinating as the company has long been a leader and innovator in the staffing services field. Go global, check. Provide MSP, check. Add RPO, check. Add consulting, check. Launch mobile access applications, check. Supply chain management, check. Its success shows in the results, with 2011 revenues totaling $5.6 billion, a 12% increase over 2010.

To find out more, I had a lively discussion with Kelly Services’ Senior Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer Rolf Kleiner. Basically, Kelly Services has already done so much that it is focusing on new solutions and capabilities to remain ahead of the competition and keep up with its many Fortune 500 clients.

According to Kleiner, the company has always done well with the “little I” incremental innovations that improve and enhance its current services and capabilities. Kelly Services is also looking for new “big I” innovations, those that can move the needle on results and set precedents within the company and in the marketplace. It was felt that by adding more visibility and vetting larger scale opportunities, the Office of Innovation will be able to identify, develop, and bring new innovations to market faster.

Kleiner plans to set up a “pull” process for ideas that includes many stakeholder groups including employees, clients, suppliers, and other industry experts. He likened the process to farming. It will take working with the communities of interest on an on-going collaborative basis to develop a harvest of ideas.

There were several items I found especially interesting. One is using this effort as an opportunity for talent management. Some proof of concept and development projects will be managed by the Office of Innovation and will provide highly visible opportunities for those assigned. When projects are managed outside of the normal lines of business, integration and communications will be maintained which brings reality to planning and brings market needs and innovation participation deep into the infrastructure and culture of Kelly Services.

Also, there is a very crisp vision for the strategic initiative and clear criteria for the kind of innovation opportunities that are being sought. There is solid alignment with the goals of the company, scale for sizing market opportunities, and an openness to solutions that could include internal developments, partnerships, supplier networks, etc.

Finally, the selection of Kleiner as head of the Office of Innovation is a strong indication of Kelly Services’ seriousness with this endeavor. He reports directly to the CEO and his previous assignment was as Senior Vice President and General Manager for the KellyOCG group, which provides consulting and outsourcing services. The pulse of the market, the voice of the customer, and the operational beat of the business are all fresh and fertile ground for Kleiner’s new challenge.

Our NelsonHall HRO team always advises clients to look for service providers that can meet today’s needs as well as offer partnership for meeting the needs of tomorrow. How is your HRO vendor focusing on the future?

Linda Merritt, Research Analyst, HRO, NelsonHall

Interested in reading the latest HRO news from NelsonHall? Subscribe to our newsletter by emailing amy.gurchensky@nelson-hall.com with “HRO Insight” as the subject.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Consulting, financial results, hr outsourcing, hr outsourcing research, hro, HRO Innovation, HRO providers, hro research, Mobile Apps, MSP, nelsonhall, recruitment process outsourcing, Staffing, Supply Chain Management, Talent Management

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