When we think of digital transformation, we often think of the tech heavy teams in our organization. However, digital transformation is just as much about the people on your team as it is the technology, which is where HR comes in.
While companies often focus on the monetary risks and gains associated with updating legacy processes, something important to consider is how the team feels about your digital transformation initiatives. When the actual company users aren’t considered, digital transformations sometimes fall flat, and misses the goals we set. The main point of a digital transformation can vary, but the underlying ideas are often the same. Optimizing workforce utilization and efficiencies is what supports most transformation goals. When team members can leverage tech to make their jobs easier, they are able to then spend more time on tasks that bring more value to the company and the customers. Listening to what your team needs should always be the first step in laying out a digital transformation strategy.
“Human Resources is uniquely positioned to help an organization to achieve its digital transformation goals. Why? Well, although digital transformation implies technology, perhaps the two most important factors in a successful approach are people and culture. Human Resources is uniquely positioned to identify where talent gaps exists and close that gap through professional development and training necessary for existing staff or to hire additional staff with the requisite skills. Moreover, digital transformation requires a company to examine how its operational model is changing and to lead its employees through the constant iterations required to achieve success.” Says John McConville, VP of Administration and Compliance at Intellective
Having a supportive HR team when setting up a digital transformation strategy is important. Ultimately, the HR department is the eyes and ears to what your workforce is really feeling. They oversee hiring talent that aligns better with your new strategy, organizing ongoing training and continued education, and fielding concerns from team members. They are your front line for setting a precedence of what is expected from all parties.
Now there are many articles on how HR can support a digital transformation initiate, but today we’re taking a different approach. How can your company, your C-level executives, and your team, support the HR department during a transformation.
Now this may seem like a no-brainer, but the HR department should be a part of any initiatives in the company, even if the digital transformation is centered around a very ‘tech heavy’ idea. Integrating a new system with your older legacy ones may seem like it only applies to a small sect of users, but at some point, HR will have to interact as well, even if it’s just with frustrated teammates. Having clear goals and milestones laid out, as well as making everyone aware of where documentation related to changes lives, can keep headaches at bay and allow for HR to assist with onboarding and questions going forward.
“Human Resources should serve as a voice for both the executive team and the employees, delivering the message about where the company wants to go and providing employee feedback about how to achieve the goals. Once the direction is established, Human Resources can help to build goals, provide training paths, and establish metrics against which progress will be measured. Key to all of this is constant communication up, down and throughout the organization.” -McConville
Communicating what is going on is important but doing so before changes actually happen is also important. There is nothing more frustrating that coming into huge change both unprepared, and late to the game because the team forgot to include you. Giving your human resources team all the info they need before the change happens, even if they need to create documents to support the change, is much less hectic than letting them into the loop later after many team members already have questions.
Nothing is an Overnight Process
Keep in mind that technology may be the bricks of the digital transformation wall, but company culture is the mortar that keeps everything together. Be patient with your employees and HR team as they shift into new daily activities, while balancing the new technology and procedures. You may need a resource from them, but as their daily processes are changing, it may take a little longer than usual for them to get back to you with information. Patience is a virtue no matter what industry you are in!
“Effective change management is a crucial enabler when adjusting company culture in the face of a digital transformation initiative. Employees want to be engaged in decision-making as it relates to the direction of the company. Human Resources can help to drive this engagement through gathering employee feedback in the early stages of the digital transformation initiative.”-McConville
Overall, your HR team is a key player in your digital transformation. They are the translator between the technology-based ideas, and the humans actually making use of the concepts. By leveraging the information, they collect for you, and treating them as the important part of the puzzle they are, you can better support your e initiative, and guarantee a successful digital transformation.