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.