Leader or Laggard: Here’s how to assess the digital maturity of HR tech?

Shaping the business for a digital future is a challenge that is high on the CIO’s agenda. A Study by EY, says that 9 in 10 (87%) digital-ready CIOs are especially focused on setting out a vision of how IT can drive business transformation. It is a challenge that involves a transformation of processes, systems, and people. There’s a key step in this journey – to support employees in their work-related challenges day in and day out. The process of digitalization should, therefore, reflect on every people touchpoint– right before hiring till retention and exit.

The needs of a diverse employee base should be met while embarking on a digitalization journey. This means using technology to build complete transparency, enabling and empowering employees. Before embarking on that journey, it is useful to reflect on the HR technology that has the potential to make a difference.

In a webinar on this topic, Sanjeev Prasad, Global CIO, Sutherland Global Services, Rupinder Goel, Transition Global CTIO, Advisor Ex-CIO, Tata Communications and Prakash Rao, Founding Member & Chief Experience Officer, PeopleStrong discussed the importance of knowing where you stand in the digital maturity curve as an important step in making the most of your journey.

Is there a focus on technology awareness? Any digital journey starts with the HR function becoming technologically aware. For this, the mindset and culture within HR has to change first. HR professionals themselves should be equipped digitally and be aware of the ongoing trends. They must move away from blindly pushing tools and systems. The attitude of technological-comfort must extend to all leaders across levels. Bringing about a shift in the culture and the way people work will have a direct impact on the rate of digital adoption.

Are you able to build a relationship of trust with your employees using technology? A typical example is that of internet usage in offices. Employees are discouraged from using personal devices and often have restricted access on office network. This attitude need to change. Organizations need to build a relationship of trust towards their own employees by being transparent. This will mean working on a systematic approach to building the right boundaries. And empower and enable employees to engage in seamless work. Encourage employees to get a hands-on exposure to tools like analytics, AI and ML based hiring assistants, Chatbots to further accelerate your journey.

Is your technology supporting the CIO-CHRO partnership? HR business partners must proactively work towards a high tech work culture. Asking questions such as “How we can go paperless?”, “How can we provide a “zero-touch” experience?”, “how can we eliminate physical work?” and how can we reduce a multi-step process to single-step?”- These questions help HR to think about the digital layer – which then further helps build the right synergies with the IT department.

A true digital transformation maturity curve is one which makes the employee lifecycle (from onboarding to exit) digitally managed by providing a ‘WhatsApp or Facebook’- like workplace experience. The phrase “every job is a technology job” was never more true than it is today.

Are you building on future-ready skills? Organizations must scout for and build new skills for the digital age. Work skills can be categorized into five distinct types: physical and manual; basic cognitive; higher cognitive; social and emotional; and technological. Increasingly, it’s the curiosity, learning ability, the ability to identify areas of opportunity, and the ability to bring in the right technology for digital implementation that will play a key role. To build the right capability, creating a learning ecosystem that allows people to learn about where they want to go and grow is essential. This means providing ‘learning maps’ and digital content for people to grow with the company. To make this happen, CHROs must closely work with the CIO and drive the agenda with relevant stakeholders and vendors.

Keep the employee at the centre of digitalization: From an HR perspective, the biggest customer for digital transformation is the employee. Everything must start with keeping the “employee journey” in mind. Whether it is chatbots, or AI-ML based selection processes, managers must think of the employee before he or she is hired. Employee journey mapping is a cornerstone in the digital transformation maturity curve.
Any digital transformation happens through stages. Agile is the way to go, allowing progressive improvisation in the digitalization journey, while optimizing the resource-investment and engaging in course-correction on time.

Organizations need to be flexible, while maintaining compliance through a balanced control strategy. This is possible only when the key proponents of digital i.e. HR, IT and top leadership come together with a common cause.

A Constructive Collaboration
HR and IT are both internal service providers with similar SLAs. They should co-create; and not work in siloes. Digitalization demands bringing the functions (IT and HR) together with foremost focus on the output. In other words, it means a focus on the number of issues being resolved by employees themselves through self-service. A self-learning individual and learning organization which accepts volatility and disruption as a way of life is an important HR KRA to drive an organization that the people of tomorrow, not today or yesterday.

Source: https://www.peoplematters.in/article/hrtech-that-matters/leader-or-laggard-heres-how-to-assess-the-digital-maturity-of-hr-tech-19352

Want to become more strategic? HR leaders should heed this advice

The role of a CEO is becoming increasingly difficult as we move forward into the future of work. Digital disruption and the raging talent war are just two examples of issues faced by businesses globally. The digital era is filled with uncertainty but despite brimming with challenges, it’s also rife with opportunities for HR.

As one CEO stated bluntly: “When s*** hits the fan, the first thing that management will say is ‘we didn’t have the right person for the job’. The root cause of anything good or bad that happens with a company is its people.”

And “people” are right up HR’s alley, so, as leaders in the field this turbulent time is exactly the chance for HR to shine and reclaim their role to help the organization navigate the uncertain business landscape.

But where should HR begin?

“It’s really about starting with the big picture,” SAP’s chief learning officer Jenny Dearborn told HRD at their recent SuccessConnect event in Las Vegas.

“Start by asking: ‘What are we here to accomplish?’ ‘What are our goals?’ In a perfect world, what would good look like?”

She added that the best way to digitally transform and effect change in an organization is to question what you know and put yourself in the shoes of the business leaders.

“Think more like a business person and question all the traditional goals and metrics that HR has had to manage itself against in the past. It’s surprising to me when I go around the world and talk to my peers and they’re very stuck in a traditional way of thinking,” she said.

What she means by “traditional thinking” is the belief that HR remains in a transactional role, processing “tickets” for those who are non-compliant with the rules of the organization and merely serving an operational function with functions such as payroll.

“How about preventing the problem that causes the ‘ticket’ in the first place?” she said.

“HR professionals need to question their work and ask themselves what is the ultimate business objective? What would the CEO and shareholders want to achieve?

“HR needs to think about things differently. It’s not just about the transactional role anymore. It’s about the business outcome.”

Work smart, get savvy

Asking the right questions is the first practical step HR can take to transform itself. What’s next? Dearborn echoed SAP’s CHRO Stefan Ries who said that: “HR needs to be data savvy”.

After figuring out the goals you want to achieve for the organization, she said that it’s pertinent you find out what data you have access to that tells you “whether you’ve been good or bad at achieving those goals”.

It’s only through this that HR can understand the data better and figure out how you can efficiently and effectively attain those goals. As always, data is only valuable when it is applied to a practical solution and outcome.

If you’re not data-savvy, fret not — Dearborn suggested partnering with individuals who are, whether internally or externally.

“In Stefan’s team, we have several statisticians, so I have more than one peer with a PhD in statistics,” she said. “SAP has a whole team within HR that focuses on analytics and machine learning.

“If you don’t have [the knowledge] yourself, you need to go out and get it. You need to bring somebody into your team who has the knowledge.”

What if the business leaders don’t see the value in hiring data scientists or in-house IT professionals for HR? Dearborn believes that’s still no excuse for a lack of savviness — you can always rely on existing “experts” in the company.

“A lot of corporations already have people who are comfortable with data — those in the marketing department, for instance. If you can’t hire someone into HR then you need to partner someone in other functions because there’s bound to be people who are comfortable with data analytics,” she said.

If all else fails, she suggests embarking on a personal quest to upskill yourself.

“If you don’t find [technical experts] in marketing, there are lots of courses you can take that are free online,” she said.

“There’s a lot of reading you can do and white papers available. With 15 minutes of rigorous Google research, you can find multiple sources to educate yourself.”

Partner your way to success

Collaboration is the thus the best way for HR to progress. Coping with digital transformation is not about becoming an IT expert, Dearborn explained it’s about being comfortable with things like data, machine learning and algorithms, as well as understanding how the new rules of working apply to HR.

Having a technical background is undeniably a plus, but not having one shouldn’t hinder HR from transforming and transcending HR’s reputation as an operational role, into a more strategic one.

It’s about breaking out of the old silo-ed ways of working and collaborating across functions to optimize your output and contribute to the ultimate business outcomes.

“You have the HR part: the emotional empathy, the emotional intelligence, the instincts around people — that’s great,” she said. “You’ve got to partner with a technical expert so that you can learn from them and they can learn from you.

“In today’s world, it is absolutely essential for HR to be extremely comfortable with technology,” Dearborn explained. This is especially due to how tech is infiltrating HR and pushing it to automate so much of its role.

“You need to be very curious about how you bring innovation and tech into traditional processes. Someone who is scared of technology is really in the wrong profession if they’re thinking of HR.”

Source: https://www.hcamag.com/features/want-to-become-more-strategic-hr-leaders-should-heed-this-advice-255496.aspx

What is the CHRO’s role in the age of augmented work?

The augmented workplace is fast evolving. On the one hand, emerging technologies are transforming work. On the other hand, the workforce composition is evolving to include gig workers, bots, robots etc. The composition of the workforce is also becoming more diverse- multi-skilled, multi-generational, each with their own with distinct aspirations and drivers such as passion, meaning, flexibility.

Organizations are left with no choice but to address these transformations by re-conceptualizing work, reskilling the workforce and using technology solutions to support their business processes.

Change is inevitable
The technological changes in the last few years have radical transformed the professional and personal lives. Employees use seamless technology in their personal lives, whether that’s ordering groceries using an app, or making bank transactions at the click of a button. They are demanding the same ease and convenience in workplace interactions- more digital-savvier and intelligent interactions that will help them grow. For example, the flexibility of working from home, mobile working are becoming commonplace employee expectations.

Organizations that want to deliver a great employee experience must build the right infrastructure, technology, systems, workflows etc. It is important for the HR team to design the right people interventions and support systems so that people can understand the change and grow with the change.

Leading the transformation on the people front
HR professionals should foster a culture where people are not constrained by the shackles of structure and ways of working but instead focus on freedom and opportunities to innovate.

This means that organizations need to look at “talent” differently.

The role of the CHRO has moved away from just navigating people challenges to navigating technology disruptions and changing business models. Here are some of the questions that organizations are asking:

What is the sync between the talent organizations currently have, and what is actually required for growth?

Do we have the organizational agility to move quickly as an organization to handle the changes?

Do we have the right culture to support and enable the right talent?

Are we futuristic? Can we innovate?

How do we work within the compliance requirements and yet grow?

The increasing expectations are around being futuristic and sustainable. Aligning the workforce with the overall organizational purpose, and building a future-ready company that can survive disruptions and overcome existing and future constraints.

How can CHROs Enable a Transformation?
Envision future-ready processes: To manage change, HR leaders must build the right processes in place. An optimum process set up today may become irrelevant when a new business model emerges. Agile and flexible processes are a must, and the ability to change quickly must be inbuilt into the HR outlook.

Create a culture where people are comfortable with change: Employees are constantly facing change. HR leaders must continuously cultivate and communicate an encouraging environment of trust. Having an awareness of the impact of change and the potential of individuals to change is critical.

Interventions to drive mindset change, attitude change, and work-style change are necessary.

Breed meaning and passion: Making work meaningful is another imperative. HR leaders must paint a picture of the future today and help figure out how to be relevant as an organization, for employees to be proud to be associated with the company.

Collaborate and communicate: By providing the right collaboration and communication tools, CHROs must create a conducive environment where people make the most of people processes.

Drive HR effectiveness: Building HR capability, by optimally building or buying HR process skills is a must. HR leaders must look for the right accreditations, competency-based interviewing and other skills and processes within HR to ensure that the change is mindful and thoughtful.

Drive strategy and innovation: The CHRO must work closely with the business to build a future-ready organization. Right from building teams and tools with specific agendas/ issues for each business or function, to getting all these into a single, usable platform. It is important to build a critical mass of employees who will make the change happen on the ground.
Employee involvement is central to orienting them to managing change confidently. This way, the augmented workforce will no longer feel burdened by technology transformations. They would imbibe it and grow with it. Positioning technology and transformation as a competitive advantage can be thought of as the single biggest success factor for HR leaders.

(This article is curated based on a webcast on the same topic.)

Source: https://www.peoplematters.in/article/lets-talk-talent/what-is-the-chros-role-in-the-age-of-augmented-work-19328

The Best Sentence I Ever Read About Managing Talent

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” –Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was a pretty smart dude (to understate wildly), so it doesn’t surprise me he’d have smart things to say about talent management. But I have to say when I came across the above thought yesterday, I felt it was the best single sentence I’ve ever read about management.

One of the key challenges that smart people, of whom business has many, face in management on a daily basis is subjugating their own ego. Subjugating their own ego so they can get better results for their organization than if they didn’t.

Because it’s a natural tendency for folks who are expert in one thing to feel they’re expert in all things. Which can quickly lead to nettlesome micromanagement – an easy recipe for frustrating up-and-coming talent in its own right. But the best managers know that it’s not about their personal accomplishment but about their team’s – which involves fully unleashing the talent of the smart people all around them. Which I believe is exactly what Mr. Jobs was saying.

“Tell them what to do, not how to do it”

This whole train of thought reminded me of an old story. A long time ago a very creative, accomplished woman whom I was managing grew weary of my overinvolvement (aka, meddling micromanagement) in her projects. One day to her everlasting credit she took me aside and said to me, “You know, when you’re managing creative people you’ll get the best results by telling them what to do, not how to do it.” A little different twist than the Jobs quote, but a similar sentiment. Point being, don’t prescribe solutions but let creative people figure things out. They’ll find a better way. My direct report was 100% right and I never forgot what she said. In many instances leadership is best served by providing sound strategic direction and then getting the heck out of the way.

Later in my management career at one point I believe I was probably the only person in our company managing two people with PhDs. They knew a lot more than I did about most things, and though I’m sure I sometimes screwed up I did try to bear in mind what the woman noted above told me. As a manager “it’s not about you,” but it is about optimizing talent.

Which judging by his results Steve Jobs understood a whole lot better than the rest of us.


I retired in 2012 from the corporate world with over two decades of Fortune 500 front-line and executive management experience, most of it in Communications and Marketing. I’ve long been interested as a practitioner in the subject of management, both good and bad, effective … MORE
My current focus is on coaching and developing new managers. My book is The Type B Manager.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2018/09/25/the-best-sentence-i-ever-read-about-managing-talent/#5552fa15cdfb


5 Tactics for Transforming Performance Reviews That Range From Ineffectual to Invaluable

Many business leaders and experts say that performance reviews are just not that effective. It’s true that there are many ways employers can tank one of these reviews and make it less helpful for workers. Some employees feel unfairly targeted or find it hard to listen at all.

The reality is that performance reviews have evolved into a fairly standard procedure that often fails to motivate employees, and even triggers more complaints than compliments.

However, I don’t think the performance review is a useless tool whose time has come and gone — at least not completely. Reviews can be helpful for both the employer and the employee, as well as the company itself. All you need is a few strategic tweaks to the process.

1. Make reviews more frequent than once a year.
By their very nature, annual reviews cover a lot of ground. A lot of tasks, projects and accomplishments get missed. The same is true of challenges and areas in need of improvement.

Moreover, focusing on employee assessment and motivation only once a year leads to a perception that the appraisal process is more a formality than a truly important business strategy.

Instead, use a shorter quarterly review to help both you and the employee keep accurate track of their progress towards company and personal goals throughout the year.

Related: 4 Unconscious Biases That Distort Performance Reviews

2. Always be preparing for performance reviews.
As beneficial as more frequent employee appraisals may be, they’re not always realistic for every company. For example, you may have a large workforce that would render four appraisals a year unworkable, no matter how short you make the appraisal meetings.

If that’s the case, you can still work with the employee to set specific work-related goals at an annual performance review. Just don’t wait until the last minute to make notes for that review.

Throughout the year, touch base with the employee when you can, and talk to their coworkers and direct supervisors. Then you can regularly update a word file or spreadsheet outlining the employee’s progress towards agreed-upon goals.

3. Don’t perform a solo.
While the traditional performance review is generally a solo act, where a manager shares their own opinions, a better approach is to crowdsource your reviews.

Include customers, colleagues and other stakeholders with whom the employee regularly interacts as valuable sources of information in preparing a performance appraisal. This will not only help you form a more complete picture of the worker’s strengths and weaknesses, but will also help you identify new areas for potential additional training or advancement.

Maybe the customer service representative has a talent for sales, or perhaps the marketing team member is ready for a management role. A solid way to find out this kind of information is to ask all the people who regularly interact with that employee.

Of course, you’ll want to apply this policy evenly to all employees, at all levels. And you’ll also want to insist that any feedback or commentary you collect from others should be productive and positively framed, and also stay confidential. It’s not typically another employee’s job to critique a coworker, after all.

4. Make it mutual.
The most productive performance reviews are dialogues, not monologues. Use the opportunity presented by the performance appraisal process for an authentic, in-depth conversation with your employee.

Solicit the employee’s input, and really listen. Take notes, listen thoughtfully, ask clarifying questions and then try to implement any good ideas your employees might share this way, giving the employee credit.

5. Acknowledge and praise.
It’s all too easy to focus on the “correct and motivate” part of the employee performance appraisal, and forget about an equally important aspect of the process: recognition and praise. Don’t simply criticize and correct. Remember that an appraisal requires assessing the entire “big picture” of the employee’s performance. That means the positive as well as the negative.

Acknowledgment encourages deeper employee engagement and commitment to both your company and its mission.

A dedication to helping employees grow and reach career goals must be baked into company culture, especially for startups. Part of that culture revolves around ensuring your employees, as well as your product, stay one step ahead of the competition. The employee appraisal should be geared towards helping improve their work performance so it helps your bottom line.

The ultimate goal of the entire process is to ensure that your company finds a product market fit (and profit), so that it’s attractive to investors at some point down the road, be it through an initial public offering, an acquisition or some other investment vehicle. Improving your employee appraisal process so that they’re actually helpful to your employees as well as your company is an essential step in reaching those company goals.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/320542