The role of HR needs to change considerably. Instead of managing the processes and transactions, it needs to play a central role of driving the organisational culture, ensuring right skills for the roles and measuring the right metrics to ensure best possible outcomes.
HR will also be one of the fastest areas to adopt digital to the point of being business critical. A few of the areas that have started taking a business critical position include the following:
- Talent Management: The business models and the products are changing fast. Digital products are rapidly becoming the mainstream businesses, and digital disruption is increasing exponentially. This brings in a very critical aspect of talent management – the need for right-skilled and young talent –talent that understands the nature, behaviour and needs of the new generation. Attracting and on-boarding this young generation talent is critical and what is even more critical is to retain them particularly as the younger generation changes jobs at the drop of a hat.
- Driving the Organisational Culture: Organisational culture is a big deciding factor that impacts recruitment attraction, reducing attrition, improving productivity and discretionary effort, and driving innovation.
- Managing the Human capital: Gone are the days when employees valued an in-person discussion with HR executives. The processes have become so mature now that employees prefer following the process/policies and need HR only to move the transactions forward. This brings a very important aspect of Digital HR – enabling employees to interact with HR digitally, be it on-boarding, performance management, learning and development, digital communication, workforce enablement etc.
- Turning organisations upside down: Adapting to the changing business models can’t be done by sticking to the same old hierarchies. They need to be turned upside down to bring in more authority and accountability at every employee level. The structures need to become flatter, thus fostering continuous improvement and innovation.
How do we achieve this?
By Digital HR Transformation. Digital HR transformation (often misunderstood as new shiny devices) is a new way of organising, engaging with employees, building expertise and trust, promoting cooperation and collaboration. Helping employees work faster, better, smarter.
The role of HR needs to change considerably. Instead of managing the processes and transactions, HR needs to play a central role of driving the organisational culture, ensuring right skills for the roles and measuring the right metrics to ensure best possible outcomes.
This includes team building, selection, use of psychometric tools, micro-performance management and ensuring trust and collaboration are at the heart of every team development effort. Most importantly, leave the processes and transactions to technology.
There is a lot of activity in the marketspace right now as most of the corporates are trying to digitalise the process workflows so as to improve the productivity of the workforce.
But is that enough? No.
Millennials are going to get into the corporate workforce very soon and our HR setups aren’t remotely prepared for their needs, challenges and expectations.
There are so many new tools that allow digital interfaces (wearables, mobile apps, digital platforms, VR/AR) and they all come laced with some very credible and powerful capabilities).
For example, is there a possibility of allowing employees to manage their expenses, their leave, their approval workflows through wearables? The answer could be yes or no. But is HR willing to experiment?
Essentially, if we relate this to soccer, HR space is in the middle of a change where the field, the ball, the goalposts – everything is changing. A good part of this change also needs to be enabled by the technology providers. Traditional technology providers have designed systems and process with HR at the focus. That needs to change and the focus now needs to be the employee including:
- Reinventing performance management – making it more transparent.
- One ERP can’t do everything – you need to have micro-services to improve access of processes and transactions.
- Caring about employee wellness.
- Use friendly recruitment and learning platforms.
- Instant feedback and recognition mechanism.
- Behavioural management and economics.
- Growth/progression of the employee.
Mobile-first applications and platforms that support these initiatives will be the ones that will succeed in this changing environment and enable HR execs to embrace the digital age.
Vikas Goel heads the SAP Strategic Initiative for Capgemini across Asia-Pacific & Middle East. This is an edited version of Goel’s article on HR.