50 Innovators of the Year 2022
Companies can expand rapidly, especially if they are well managed, are aligned in processes and systems, and provide outstanding services or goods. Fractional HR consulting services immediately seem like an attractive choice once a business surpasses a particular point in both size and profit margins. Although the decision to employ HR consulting services can vary from company to company, such services have quantifiable advantages.
HR consultants provide advice and guidance to businesses and ensure that an organization’s human capital serves the company’s best interests. By creating and implementing bespoke HR strategies, they ensure the organization effectively utilizes its personnel to achieve its goals while working at optimal performance and efficiency levels.
One of the most innovative HR consultancy firms is Elevated HR Solutions (Elevated for short). Elevated brings a radical and creative approach to HR. They develop programs and initiatives custom to each organization they work with, all at an affordable rate, developing solutions that work for start-ups and small businesses. Elevated encourages the entrepreneurial spirit and understands what’s most important to increasing the bottom line.
Innovative HR solutions—innovating by being unique and unafraid to face failures
Nearly 95% of the companies’ Elevated works with list innovation as a value, yet they also seem to share something else in common - a massive fear of failure. “That,” says Michelle Berg, Chief Visionary Officer of Elevated, “makes zero sense.” In other words, Elevated goes about innovation with the perspective that it’s okay to fail. “You have to expect to fail! Failure is part of the innovation process—and the key is that organizations have to make safe spaces for their employees to do so!”
Elevated’s innovation related to building HR programs and assets is no different from building out software: they begin with prototyping a minimal viable product that they demonstrate quickly to the client. But the key is that the client has to see the product, feel it, touch it, and sometimes even smell it. After all, Elevated creates experiences and moments for employees that shift the business incrementally forward as it relates to their people and culture.
If a client doesn’t get it by looking at words on a white piece of paper, they can see the impact if Elevated can bring that same asset or program to life—either in pictures, videos, and even 3D products. One time, Elevated HR attempted to demonstrate the employee journey by creating a treasure map and making it look “old” by burning the edges and rolling it up with a twine bow. The client didn’t go for it (it was way too much work from an onboarding perspective), but the key was that Elevated did something different and unique and weren’t afraid to get a raised eyebrow and the word “no” thrown their way. “In the end,” Berg says, “We digitized it to give it the same effect. I’m fairly certain though, had they not had the experience of touch, they may have shyed away from it all together!”
Elevated innovating accepted workplace norms, one at a time
As the Great Resignation continues, attracting and retaining people is critical to a company’s success. Templated or “best-practice” thinking is becoming antiquated. Organizations are being forced to pivot, try new things and move quickly to keep up with the current job market—even if it means no one has ever done it before. Elevated claims that they become an incubator for “half-baked” people & culture ideas to see the pitfalls and strengths of various programs. In other words, they try stuff and watch it soar, but in most cases, the ideas tend to fail. This type of thinking began in the early days of Elevated, when “unlimited PTO” was first starting to get traction. “As an entrepreneur, I loved the concept of the program,” says Berg, “I had no liability on the books. I thought I was treating people like adults, and they were the master of their time.” But the harsh reality that Berg learned was, “No one took a vacation! Instead, my team burned out. Turns out people like some parameters when it comes to paid time off.” That’s when the morphed the program into “forced vacation at the same time” or “disengage to re-engage” time so that the entire organization could rest together. Does it work? “The jury is still out because our clients don’t necessarily shut down, but it’s at least heading in the right direction. What we know is that traditional PTO doesn’t engage the same way, so we know the right solution is close. We have to keep trying!” Berg concludes.
A real-world example of Elevated at work
When Elevated was asked to find a way to get rid of timesheets for an engineering consulting business, Berg recalls thinking the company was nuts. “People hours are a consultanting firm’s product. It’s like a widget or a shirt manufactured. If a company doesn’t track hours, how do they charge anything for the “shirt” they’re making.” But the Elevated team got to work and started trying a few things out themselves. It turns out people were more willing to share work, were better at project management, and did what it took to drive profit when they weren’t so consumed with knowing where every 15-minute increment was going. “I didn’t think it would work, but that’s what we love—a good challenge to a people problem that we can potentially solve—despite our initial biases!” says Berg emphatically.
Innovating for future HR solutions
Elevated’s current innovation? They realized that 99% of the problems their clients face weren’t necessarily HR rules and regulations, policies, or a lack of benefits. It turns out that inexperienced or reluctant leaders charged with retaining team members do not have enough tools in their toolbox to figure out how.
According to Elevated, many of the leadership courses available for small businesses are either cost-prohibitive or counter-intuitive to an innovative culture. So, Elevated built a curriculum to help leaders look at leadership with a framework that could be agile in different situations, regardless of industry or business. The problem? It was too localized from a delivery standpoint. So now, they are building out their curriculum to serve remote leaders and teams better across North America. Berg says, “It might not work the way I see it in my head, but that’s okay. At least I can look at my team and say we tried, and we most certainly learned. Or, we may just hit the jackpot after all. But the best part – we’re making work suck less for leaders and teams – even if it’s just one!”
Leading Elevated HR to innovate in human resource solutions
Michelle Berg is the Chief Visionary Officer and HR Business Partner at Elevated HR Solutions. Michelle has taken the approach that she can’t advise companies on how to build strong cultures unless she’s doing it herself – her team is 100% employee based and part of the day to day decision making at Elevated. Michelle has appeared on many webinars and panels, and regularly speaks at conferences, in univesrities as a guest lecturer, as well as at various networking events from WPO to EO, specializing in creating workplace experiences that matter. Michelle is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology and is a DISC Certified Facilitator. In addition, she is a Certified Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) as well as holds her SHRM-SCP.