Article: Digitally yours: The digital HR transformation case


Digitally yours: The digital HR transformation case

How does digital HR transform the workplace? In how many forms does it help the HR functions? Read more to learn.
Digitally yours: The digital HR transformation case

The workspace today is undergoing drastic changes and technology seems to be driving these changes. The paradigm shift has resulted in the change in the way we work, engage and relate to both work and live. With this change, the biggest challenge foreseen is how to manage and keep the Human Capital of an organization engaged.

Latest reports show that about 70% CXO view internal capacity & capability shortage as a prime reason for the failure of the business models. Reports suggest that this divide will further expand in the next three to five years. The Human Resource team has a mammoth task to shorten this divide.

In a period where the emphasis is on everything digital, the DNA of the HR Organization seems to be undergoing profound change. Digital transformation at workplace today seems to be the key In the lock. HR today is playing a vital role not only in by contributing to the “Digital Ethos”

Against the popular belief, Digital Human Resources is all about automation and digitization; it is more about digital evolution of an organization. 

Digital evolution and organization change 

The digital enterprises today are built upon years of efforts by HR leaders to adapt and evolve. In the late 1960s and ’70s, Human Resources departments were all about ensuring that transactions & records were maintained, thus resulting in firms globally to adapt to the first phase of digital evolution of digital record keeping and maintenance. With the maturity in HR Practices and the reforms in organization structure and creations OF COE’s, the HR functions moved into talent management practices. 

In large organizations, it became imperative to adopt technology solutions to support the functioning of these COE’s by the late 80’s. The mid 90’s saw a new model in HR called HR Business Partners (HR Generalist) and the 2000’s saw an evolution of HR as a business function than a people function. HR today has to play a frightfully delicate role in ensuring people and profit management within an organization.

Today, The HR organization meets one of its biggest challenges to attract and retain talent. This shift is a result of the decreased workforce age and inclusion of Generation Z in the workforce. HR organization faces a tough challenge to cater to the needs and aspiration of a wide range of generation with different work ethics.  However, something common in the later generations is the need of digital workspace with the flexibility to work on their own terms and The HR teams are expected to deliver this New Age promise of digital workspaces.

The Digital HR has fundamentally become the ground to make organizations future ready. Technological advances make the HR transactions intuitive & informed enabling organizational effectiveness and organizational change seamless. 

Over the past few years, the human resource function has undergone a stream of changes. Technology today seems to be catching up like a fad within the HR Industry. A few years back it was about basic HRMS migrations, salary processing etc. to HR analytics and predictive HR decision systems. 

Like the technology function, even HR Today is practicing agile methodology in its HR practices.  These trends are now visible in HR functions where the internal and external interfaces play a prominent role in the way the organizations operate.  

A few of the prominent areas of digital HR are as follows. 

Digital workspaces: It is no more about the time or the location that you work about but about the activities that you are assigned and you are completing. Such workspaces have been enabled by Technology (Office 365, Slack and many others), which makes work more effective. Even engagement is now digital, using digital platforms. “Why drive to work when I can work from home.”

Digital Generation: Organizations drive management practices, cultures and innovation through digital interventions. Even talent practices are digital today thus resulting in the emergence of matrix-based digital network organizations.

Digital Human Resource Practices: Organizations today are adopting digital tools and apps to ensure delivery of solutions and innovate continuously. The best examples can be seen in form of Talent Analytics and talent development forming a crucial part of the organization lifecycle.

  1. Digital HR as an engagement tool: the workforce today expects itself to be viewed and treated as an end user or consumer and has standard engaging experiences consistent across various checkpoints within the organization. The expectations are that the HR function should be digitally enabled to achieve the motto of “always available.

  2. Digital HR as culture level: All employees want and need transformation, but very few understand the nature of this transformation and the impact it would have on the organization. Major impacts associated with such changes are varied, related to different facets of the working and personal relationships.

  3. Digital HR as a talent attraction lever: EVP comes in different forms. Its one of the most critical activities is the attraction of talent. The modes of the attraction of talent have changed organizations focus today on digital channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook for their job search.

  4. Digital HR and Insights Lever: The Integration of AI, Analytics, Big Data have enabled the HR teams to provide insightful Data on performance. It enables the possibility of predicting the future and also suggests the impact of these changes on Individual and company performance. These indicators can help in charting the future course of action of the organization.  

Why this shift

The HR leaders today have evolved to take up larger roles not only maintaining the ethos of the organization but also to ensure profitability. The attempt at being digital is just one step away to the next level of being a social enterprise. More than 50% organizations across the world are in process of redesigning their HR programs with the aid of digital transformation and mobile tools. 

Almost 40% organizations are preparing the digital redesign charter for their current business models based on the global business aided by digital transformation. Almost 60% of the organizations globally are using some form of digital transformation or automation in HR to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

The Digital HR revolution is based on the needs for experimentation to meet the changing needs of the organizations. Even the HR organization is using Hackathons and design workshops to create and rollout HR products. There are techno-functional roles available within the HR teams today which concentrate on HR automation and digitization. 

While the Cloud-Based approach has brought tremendous changes in the value chain of the HR lifecycle, it is not enough. Today, HR teams are working hard towards rethinking and repackaging the solutions that they have. The name of the game is customization of any of these packages and making it viable for the organizations. 

The need for customization has opened the market for solutions providers to think and innovate “Out of the Box” needs of the customers and the value chain does not seem to end. Today market is flooded with AI-based tools and apps which facilitate the HR teams to be seamless in its operations. 

Other organizations are monitoring engagement, recruiting, turnover metrics on a real-time basis. This has considerably helped in business predictions and sustainability as these trends predict the employee’s life cycle within the organization and pre-warning to take preventive actions if needed. A lot of coaching, recognition and community building to happens as a result of these platforms.

As this digital revolution sweeps across the HR fraternity today business partners and Talent Acquisition teams are being digitally empowered. What is surprising is that a large number of the organizations are today looking for HR specialists rather than HR generalist forcing HR teams to reskill and Re-tool themselves. 

How has the HR ethos changed?

Over the years the HR ethos is undergoing change. What used to be advanced systems are now redundant and are quickly getting replaced with dynamic systems. The evolution or change is mentioned below.


While the focus has been on replacement of digital legacy systems, the major part of the transformation has been driven by technology changes. Apart from this, the adoption of Design thinking, app-based approach, and real-time HR operations have taken the scope of digital transformation to the next paradigm. The biggest transformation comes in the form of HR’s readiness to contribute to the business. 

New tools for HR

  • AI or Artificial Intelligence with cognitive processing: There is a ChatBot there from answering to employees questions on recruitment to exit. ChatBots today are helping them plan the careers. The more you use them, the more intelligent they become. With a 100% TAT and a 90% plus accuracy, the ChatBots may soon replace human interventions.

  • Analytics & Big Data: Tools available today can predict the success of an employee up to a fair degree of accuracy based on analyzing past performance Data. A lot of tools today do profiling and suggest various indicators in the employee’s life cycle.Tools also are effective in the matching of attributes of employees who are joining the organization to their managers to suggest what team dynamics can be expected. This is a combination of digital psychometric tools and pure Analytics. Also available are DSS Tools which combine Analytics, Big Data and Database management.

  • App-based functions: Majority of the tools today have an app-based function which enables your information at your fingertips.

  • Talent Acquisition: Recent tech developments have ensured better outreach to candidates. It has become easy to facilitate interview due to the enhanced connectivity interviewers can connect effortlessly to potential candidates both locally and globally. Assigning tasks online to assess talent has become fairly easy. Tools can today monitor responses and directly suggest in case the candidate is a fitment for the role. Even resumes are now digital with video recordings. 

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Where to start

Redesign and reinvent: Human capital teams must take responsibilities to transform and drive digital transformation both with leadership as well as associates. They pay a critical role in ensuring that not only do they not understand the change in the overall aesthetics, but are also in a position to explain the network structure of the organization to associates.

  • You upgrade, we change: Replacing a legacy system can be a harrowing experience for many, as far too many dependencies have been created and there is always resistance to change. Human Resources teams are always called in to ensure that a context to the change is set, not only does the Human Resources team take the responsibility to explain the change but also to drive it. What is to be driven is the “WIFM” change strategy.

  • Do you have a plan: Human capital teams need to make phase wise transformations and plan this transformation well in advance, so as to not hit the two critical road block of finance and affecting “Ongoing Business”. The planning may include a long drawn phase wise strategy on what elements to change and what technologies to include. The same has to be a researched approach as the technology trends tend to phase out soon. HR has the opportunity to use agile development—rapid development by integrated teams delivering prototypes and solutions in successive releases.

  • Build a digital HR team: Have a techno-commercial HR SME or train one who can advise the Organization on what solutions to improve using the latest trends; and how those changes will impact the bottom line and top-line over a period of time. Try to see in case you can get the technology team to work with the HR team to provide solutions.

  • Re-think & re-invent: Rethink your HR model to drive change and communication. Focus on employee experience, Analytics, DSS etc. to drive the change.

  • Innovate and Implement: Reimagine the entire HR lifecycle and Induce digital checkpoints. Organize Hackathon and digital sessions to ensure employee participation.

  • Reskill and recruit: Being a dynamic function, the HR team needs to appreciate new ideas. Reskill Individuals from the business functions to propel alignment. Also, try to recruit fresh talent with analytical skills to drive initiatives on transformation.

  • Benchmark: Take time to visit the organization and find out what they are doing, Foster new ideas which lead to innovation. Align this innovation with business and profitability.

  • Embrace design thinking: SMAC tools are used only for adoption. Incorporating design thinking throughout the process will help companies maximize the impact of new digital technologies. 

Bottom line 

HR digital transformation is not a technological change rather is an Organizational change in mindset. It is a deep-seated conviction that in case you can manage your employees better you will have a more sustained business practice model. HR shoulders this responsibility for change. By enabling employees technologically you increase the efficiency of the department and reduce redundancy.

HR Organization today strive to compete with various parameters and emerge successfully. HR Digital Transformation might be that crucial difference between Good and Great Organizations. 


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Topics: Technology, HR Technology, Diversity, #HRIndustry

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