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2017 Benchmarking Report

Tags:  (2017 Oct 10th - 4:19pm)

IPMA-HR releases its 2017 Benchmarking Report with a focus on Innovation. The benchmarking survey focused on organizational culture, structure, innovative projects, and HR’s role in fostering a culture of innovation in the organization. The survey was completed by 311 of 5,275 IPMA-HR members.

The study defines organizational culture as the value, beliefs, and attitudes which affects how people behave in their organization. The survey asked participants about their perceptions on communication and collaboration between staff, with managers, and with other departments. It also focused on their perceptions of the organizations support for change, autonomy and leadership’s commitment to innovation. According to experts, cultural factors have been shown to be key determinants of building a culture of innovation.

The structure of the organization was also assessed, particularly regarding its support for innovation. IPMA-HR members were asked if their organization included innovation in their mission statement, designated a Chief Innovation Officer, and developed a workforce and succession plan. Procedures that may support staff to be innovative, like time allocation for new projects and periodic implementation of employee engagement surveys were also considered.

The results of the survey show that organizational culture is related to the structure of the organization. Members from organizations that include innovation in their mission, vision, or value statement rated their organizations higher on communication, collaboration, and support for change. Organizations with higher levels of senior leadership commitment to innovation scored higher on communication between staff and managers, and staff autonomy.

Support from leadership for innovation seems to influence organizational culture and norms. This is reinforced even further when support from leadership was chosen as the top factor to enable HR to play a role in organization wide innovation.

Some differences in structure and culture were found by organization size. Medium-sized and large organizations were more like to include innovation in their mission, vision, or value statement and more likely to have a Chief Innovation Officer or an innovation workgroup. However, in general, members from smaller organizations rated communications between staff, managers and staff, and departments higher than their counterparts at larger organizations.

Although organization size had no effect on the top factor to enable innovation, primary challenge to innovation vary for organizations by size. Small organizations identified budget constraints as the greatest challenge, while medium-sized and large organizations identified outdated HR systems as the greatest challenge to innovation.

Lastly, participants were asked to briefly describe recent innovative projects, with the comments showing that the most common type of innovation is incremental service innovation. That is, organizations are most frequently adopting upgrades or employing new methods and technologies to improve the delivery of existing services. Across all areas of recruitment, hiring, compensations, performance management, and learning and development implementing digital updates as the way they deliver services was a main theme of innovative projects.

For a more details, please reference the IPMA-HR 2017 Benchmarking Report at

Maria Villarreal is IPMA-HR’s research associate and can be reached with more details about the report at