Managing people

8 expert tips on embracing digital transformation in HR

Organisations are moving quickly when it comes to digital transformation.

According to our latest research report, HR in the Moment: Changing Expectations and Perceptions of HR, 75% of HR and People leaders have already invested in some sort of HR tech – and more than half plan to invest more.

Having the appropriate HR technology is essential for everything from admin automation and self-service functionality to mobile support and analytics. But where do you even begin?

We spoke to some of the leading HR and People experts and combined their thoughts into this article. Here’s what it covers:

  1. Creating a fireproof strategy

Often, HR practitioners spend more time putting out fires than strategising, which makes addressing HR technology and digital transformation a problem for most – simply because they don’t have time.

Most HR departments tend to be more customer services-orientated than strategically business-focused, which often results in time and energy being spent on urgent things rather than important things.

Take a step back from the day-to-day and consider the overall goals and objectives of the company to determine what value HR technology may provide, and work backwards from there.

  1. Embracing change

The most significant challenge to HR transformation is that those charged with driving change are often afraid of upsetting the status quo.

While change can be daunting – and pushback against change even more so – it’s important for HR leaders to understand that “no” simply means “not yet”. When leaders – or your people – say no, you might need to go back to the drawing board. Make your transformation vision so good and persuasive that others won’t be able to turn you down.

  1. Getting comfortable with technology in general

According to our Changing Face of HR research report, just one in four HR and People leaders view themselves as tech experts.

Some HR leaders aren’t tech savvy, so they usually just integrate the HR module of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system they’re already using.

In order to remain relevant as the world around us changes, HR leaders must drastically reinvent the principles they cling to about the profession. People managers are being compelled to adopt new identities that are more flexible, data-driven, and tech-savvy.

  1. Using HR and People analytics

Any digital transformation should prioritise clear data and analytics.

Revenue per employee, employee lifecycle value, worker productivity, and its impact on profitability are all important indicators to consider.

Remember that your people are your greatest asset, and it’s important to be able to quantify their return on investment.

  1. Understanding that change takes time

It’s important to be sensible and realistic about change. You won’t necessarily see the change immediately so it’s important to set achievable benchmarks.

Start with the objective and connect them to the organisation’s overall principles. Always start any transformation with a clear vision of what you want to achieve, which for the HR department usually means developing skills in people management, organisational design, change management, and service delivery.

With a clear objective, you’ll be able to work within the organisation’s technological structure, making it easier to understand how the business affects your role.

Laying out markers of success will help leaders to “understand the why”. Once every step to success can be rationalised, it will be easier for HR to get the investment they need.

  1. Speaking in a way that your stakeholders understand

According to research, business executives outside of HR are more inclined to regard HR technology investment as a strategic decision by the company, whereas HR leaders are more likely to see it as a tool to automate jobs and increase efficiency.

While both are true, expressing your plans in a way that your stakeholders understand will help to highlight the value of your investment to the business. Establish a clear roadmap to success and be firm in your reasoning.  If you’re certain about the solution you want, make a convincing business case to show your stakeholders how important it is to you – and them.

Consider how a COO or CFO reports to the company’s president or CEO. They’re straightforward and succinct. These communication skills are complex and take time to master.

It’s a good idea to practice phrasing. Learn how to interpret a profit and loss statement, keep an eye on the money, know your market and your customers, and above all, communicate as though you’re a corporate leader.

  1. Building strong relationships with tech experts in your organisation

One of the most crucial things to consider is developing strong internal relationships with tech specialists in your organisation. The world has advanced, and technical conversations are becoming more and more important.

Take a virtual coffee break with your IT leaders to pick their brains on the latest developments in their area. We no longer operate in the same professional environment as we did a year ago and these conversations will go a long way in helping you sell your vision to various stakeholders in the business.

  1. Taking advantage of new tools

HR leaders and organisations who show a natural desire to use HR technology as a strategic advantage will prosper.

Early adopters of data-driven intelligence will have a major advantage over their competition. Taking advantage of these new tools now will solidify your position in HR’s future.

The People team of tomorrow

New HR skillsets are emerging in today’s changing world of work. Are you prepared?

Explore the e-book to find out:

  • How the role of HR is shifting
  • The four vital skills needed and why they’re so important
  • How you can upskill for tomorrow, today
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