‘Digital’ has been the most popular buzzword of the 21st century. Digitization holds enormous power to change the way the world works. This power has embodied itself in the changing market conditions and thereby has caused the internal structures of the organizations to undergo significant changes as well. However, HR was struggling with the D-word and was starkly lagging in 2019.
Market disruption projecting internally
The digital disruption is causing drastic fluctuation in consumer demands. This requires the workforce to channelize their output accordingly, thereby creating newer demands from the workforce as well. Hence, the external shifts getting projected on the internal structures are putting significant pressures on HR.
How is HR dealing with this?
The KPMG 2019 HR survey highlighted that 60% of HR leaders did not have any digital plan in place for 2019. Since the dawn of the digital era, an apparent dichotomy of HR leaders has been noticed – One is the enlightened category of leaders who are leading the way and predicting digital disruptions. The 2nd category of leaders is unenlightened ones who are more reactive than proactive and are overall confused about digitization. Unfortunately, the latter are in the majority. If the latter category doesn’t adapt to the ways and means of the former category, then there will be serious consequences for the organizations and the workforce.
Why was HR lagging behind in 2019?
- Individualistic perspective
For decades HR had functioned as a separate department in the organization that had its own goals and responsibilities. However, the functions of HR intermingle with every department in the organization as HR manages the most valuable resource any company has. HR, therefore, needs to integrate with every other functioning team in the organization to gauge what happens on the ground level. A holistic perspective where the policies are not entirely built by the HR but are created with the HR including other departments will help in catching up with disruption internally, externally and more critical on the digital front.
- Need to gauge broader trends
According to Deloitte, one of the most important factors that play a crucial role in embracing digital disruption is looking at broader trends. Gone are the days when one app or single software used to be the talk of the town. The year 2019 marked many such milestones in the digital world, showing us that disruption is not a one-time thing but a continuous and spontaneous process. To understand this fast-evolving digital landscape and to foresee the disruption, the HR needs to have a broader perspective.
- No measures of success
90% of the HR leaders surveyed by KPMG haven’t identified measures of success for their digital plans. This is yet another roadblock for HR. To have a full-proof plan in place for digital disruption, they need to adopt an ad-hoc process and this process requires a clear evaluation and success measurement tools. In order to have an improvised version of the plan, they need to first evaluate the success and failure factors of the existing ones. Hence, until and unless there’s a precise evaluation of digital plans, HR will always lag behind the digital disruption.
- Cloud is the only focus
It was observed that HR was heavily relying on the cloud to draw insight-driven decisions in 2019. However, the cloud alone won’t produce great results. To catch up with the digital disruption, the cloud needs to be assisted with more tech capabilities. This will help in not only redefining the digital strategy but will also help in producing real value for the bottom line.
What does this mean for the workforce?
An unclear digital strategy or lack of planning leads directly to confusion and cluelessness. When the workforce is vague about where the organization is leading on the digital frontier, they will be unable to build any proactive measures for mitigating digital disruptions. Higher risks lie if there is a functional digital team within the organization without a clear purpose about the organization’s digital goals. This will impact the morale and overall employee satisfaction negatively and will further deteriorate the digital strategy and cause higher attrition.
How to handle the digital discrepancy in 2020
The first most important and seemingly fundamental step that HR leaders will have to take is to move from spot solution to unlocking what lies ahead. Spot solution is a reactive approach where the problem always receives an immediate and short-term solution (For example, building an app to acquire more customer base). However, such spot solutions must be accompanied by a long-term vision. When the HR shifts its lens from short-term to long-term, they indirectly are taking the first step to embrace the disruption.
Digitization has turned around the normal HR functions into more dynamic and complex responsibilities. By catching up with the digital disruption in 2020, HR will gain more focus in the corporate world and will pave its path to become a key decision-maker in the organization.