HR digital transformation is a hot topic for many HR professionals. And for good reason, since digital technology has the potential and ability to transform HR as we know it. But while it’s one thing to talk about digital HR transformation, it’s an entirely different thing to do it! In today’s article, we dive deeper into the phenomenon of HR digital transformation: what is it, why is it necessary and how do you go about it?
HR digital transformation is the process of changing operational HR processes to become automated and data-driven.
According to Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends report: ‘It’s about HR teams taking up the dual challenge of transforming HR operations on the one hand, and transforming the workforce and the way work is done on the other.’
So, rather than HR digital transformation being just about HR Software India, it’s a metamorphosis that involves organizations as a whole. Or at least it should, in order for it to be successful.
First things first. As a rule of thumb, any HR transformation, whether it is a digital one or not, has to take place with a clear objective in mind. It has to make business sense.
Too often still, companies seem to give in to peer pressure; their competitors all ‘do digital’ so they feel like they have to do something too. But digitalizing certain HR processes just for the sake of it is never a good idea. It leads to the implementation of (expensive) technology that doesn’t meet the actual needs of the business. Needless to say, this totally defies the purpose of a transformation.
There are countless examples of how HR is (slowly) transforming, we’ll give you a small sampling:
As you may have seen in our 9 must-read digital HR and HR tech articles of 2017, Unilever is radically changing its hiring process. The company is experimenting with – among other things – social media, online games, and AI to further digitalize how they are recruiting.
Another example comes from Jeanne Meister who talks about Cisco.
app and Ask Alex. The former is meant to help new hires and their managers during their onboarding period and the latter is a voice command app that gives quick answers to various HR questions about holiday policy, expenses, etc.
IBM is well-known for its experiments to drive new digital HR solutions. The American technology firm launched – among many other things – a digital learning platform that gives its employees a fully customized experience.
While all of this sounds good in theory, it can seem pretty daunting when it comes to making that first step towards an HR digital transformation. So here are a few ingredients for a successful start:
- Establish a clear goal
- Get everyone on board
- Don’t overcomplicate things
- Prioritize ideas
- Assess performance
- Culture is important
Let’s go over them one by one.
Again, before going off on a big transformational HR journey, first establish a clearly defined goal that makes sense from a business perspective. Most of the time, this goal will be to solve an issue employees encounter.
That’s why, in a process of HR transformation, the focus should always be on the employee as an end-user. It’s also why you want to let your employees test any new technology themselves first before you implement it.
This means all stakeholders, from employees to the C-suite and everyone in -between. When it comes to a digital HR transformation – something that will affect the entire organization – you need all the support you can get in order for it to become a success.
We’ve said this before – in our ‘What is Digital HR post’ – and it’s still true. Always start simple and small. Look at the areas of your HR processes that could do with a digital makeover (preselection & recruitment, onboarding & inboarding, learning and development, payroll management, and so on). Talk about this with your employees and the members of the C-suite. Ask them what they think should be a priority.
This will undoubtedly result in a long list of ideas. Prioritize them based on impact and effort. The former means the business impact of digitalizing the ideas and the latter means the time and money it would take to actually get the ideas to go digital.
Start with the ideas that are high impact and low effort. They will help you build the business case for digital Payroll and get you going quickly.
Trying and implementing digital technologies is great, but doesn’t make much business sense if we don’t look at their results. Hence we need to critically assess what works and what doesn’t.
After all, the only way for us to advance is to solve actual problems with technological solutions that truly solve these problems.
Digital technology alone is not enough for an HR transformation. Let alone a digital transformation of an entire organization. It’s just as much – perhaps even more – about the mindset of everyone involved. And that has everything to do with your company culture.
From the new people you hire, via your current workforce all the way up to the C-level, a digital mindset – in the broadest sense of the word – is essential for a successful transformation.
In a world that’s digitalizing at a fast pace, with consumer-slash-employees that don’t know any better than for virtually anything in their lives to be digital, HR and employers simply can’t stay behind.