As someone whose entire career is focused on digital HR transformation, I spend significant time with HR professionals creating the right vision for Digital Workforce Experience and a plan to get there. While every organization’s vision and plan are different, the fear and nervousness surrounding the migration to a more digital model is always the same.
We hear it all the time, and we get it:
- “Our company runs on relationships. Are we going to lose that if we send them to a portal to find the answers to their questions themselves?”
- “Our employees will think we aren’t supporting them if we tell them they can no longer walk over to our desks and ask us to print payslips.”
- “They don’t want to talk to a chatbot, they want to call the same HR professional who they have been working with for years.”
The skepticism around digital HR is pervasive at every level in organizations, too. Our Chief People Officer and Customer Advisor, Kim Heger, recently talked employee experience with a Head of Strategy at a large investment firm. "I don't use any of that HR technology. It's irritating to get hundreds of email notifications. It's just easier to pick up the phone and talk to someone in HR.”
This company is using Workday, PeopleFluent, and SmartRecruiters - all GREAT cloud technology. I’m guessing they just skipped a few critical steps required for true digital transformation; when Mindset, People, and Process aren’t addressed, the experience of Technology alone will fall on deaf ears.
This is one of the biggest challenges to tackle for successful digital HR transformation. We as HR professionals need to change our own mindsets before we can ask the employees that we support to do the same. We need to realize we are going digital first so we can be human when it matters.
What does Digital First mean?
It doesn’t mean we’re replacing HR Business Partners with robots. Instead, we are using available tools to save time often spent answering routine or basic questions. Trust me, you don’t want your HR team spending time (over and over) telling employees how many days off they can take this year or explaining a benefits deduction on a bi-weekly paycheck to a disgruntled employee. Not when these routine questions can be accurately and efficiently answered in an automated way. If information is made available with an easy button, meeting employees where they are, everyone wins - the employee is happy, HR is happy, the business is happy.
More importantly, this frees up the HR business partner to devise performance, succession, training and development programs to deliver the right talent to the right projects as your business grows and evolves. It allows them to produce and evaluate meaningful analytics to advise the C-suite on the business’ talent bench and people performance. It creates space and time for them to deliver the right experience at moments that matter, like onboarding, job transfer or promotion, life changes, or upskilling and retention.
The future of HR comes to life when you leverage digital, scalable solutions to free up your human resources to be there when it matters most for your workforce. This is the true power and opportunity of digital HR transformation.
About the Author
Alex (DePolo) Zea is a people strategist, lover of technology and data advocate. She has focused her career on helping organizations reimagine HR through data and tech at Time Inc., Morgan Stanley, and now as senior strategic consultant at Leapgen. Alex’s work has included implementations of Workday, Visier’s workforce analytics solution, and Collibra, a data governance technology.