Article: The CHRO in the age of digital disruption

Strategic HR

The CHRO in the age of digital disruption

How can HR leaders be ready to embrace the changes that have resulted from the massive impact brought by the wave of digital transformations?
The CHRO in the age of digital disruption

“Digital Disruption is the creation, implementation and operation of new best practices and business models, enabled by digital technologies”, states Holger Mueller, the Vice President and Principal Analyst of Constellation Research in his insightful session during the first day of People Matters Tech HR 2019.

Setting the context straight, Holger rightly explained how the business landscape is being constantly disrupted by digital transformations. Newer technologies such as machine learning, blockchain, AR/VR, cloud and connected devices are paving the way for creating a new digital ecosystem in business. This new ecosystem is breaking down traditional industry barriers with technology thereby impacting every business and their processes. It is all pervasive with continuous evolution of technology in every domain including HR. The business best practices in alignment with technology capabilities is seen evolving from the legacy phase to inflection point followed by opportunity stage and now the catch up phase of adopting it speedily. Amidst all these changes, sustenance of businesses with a differentiated competitive advantage has become a necessity.

Moreover, the mega trends like Globalization and Digitization that is creating changes all across has given rise to the war for talent. Sixty percent say that their workforce will be more important as digital transformation continues. Hence, the role of CHROs across the globe is changing in the age of such digital disruption.  The major focus areas that need to be effectively managed by the CHRO and the team are majorly centered on the following four quadrants:

Leadership and succession planning

HR leaders need to make their people feel comfortable with the changes; get trained to work in an AI driven world and open up opportunities for their successors with a clear vision. The visionary CHROs in the context of agile leadership will need to be able to sense the long-term direction, amidst uncertainty of rapid technology and business model disruption.  As a strategic business leader in the era of disruptive technology, CHROs will have to enable their successors to connect the right dots and be insightful enough to leapfrog the competition, creating new opportunities for their people.

Learning and Development

Retraining and re-skilling people to meet the future demand is seen as an extremely critical component. CHROs need to develop new age skills inventory and offer self assessment models to help their employees quickly assess where they stand in their digital skills development journey. And then by linking successful re-skilling strategies with their career progression score cards, they can provide the incentive for employees to undertake this journey in a much more credible and efficient manner. The use of VR/AR too can be adopted to radically improve the skill index of their company.

Talent Management 

With the demographic changes and millennials becoming a larger proportion of the workforce, the concept of talent management has become even more critical. The industry is in need of people who can re-imagine processes with the right blend of technical and team management know how, people who can unbundle the elements and repackage the technology with a strong service orientation. And CHROs need to exclusively focus on how to acquire and manage this talent pool by laying down actionable talent-priority discussions in every executive leadership meetings. 

Regulation and Compliances

The regulation tornado is getting stronger with various changes that technology has gifted to all businesses. In today's business climate, CHROs must be prepared to provide strategic direction when it comes to compliances that consist of several rules, laws and acts to follow religiously. HR compliance has always been an integral part that now needs to get integrated with the organization’s overall business strategy. However, CHROs must never make it an excuse to avoid bringing in the next wave of changes. The organization’s leadership has to take steps to balance the importance of HR compliance with the drivers of growth that HR leaders are capable of bringing in the organization.

To sum up, the CHROs are in need to constantly scan their environments - both in and out of their organizational boundaries. With technology driven change accelerating across industries, they must recognize and utilize the best data points that will equip them to significantly take better and informed decisions to deal with such disruptive business environments. The use of cognitive tools and data for recruiting and managing best people is seen to be an important area of focus. To be successful, CHROs must be able to make tangible business impact by getting to a point where HR function is positioned to drive change and disruption with much more ease.

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Topics: Strategic HR, #TechHRIN

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