Opinion: Digital HR – What is it?

In an age when the workplace has already gone digital, how can we fully adopt digital HR and transform our firms to make them future-ready?

Opinion: Digital HR – What is it?
Written by Yazad Dalal, senior director of HCM transformation for ASEAN at Oracle
The world of work is undergoing a seismic shift. Technology is changing the way we work, communicate, relate and above all the way we live. Work happens during, before and after traditional business hours hours. Work, life, and work/life balance have all gained new meanings.
This interconnected evolution has made managing human and talent issues the foremost challenge of the business enterprises. With over 64% of Asia-Pacific CEOs concerned about availability of key skills and 63% perceiving the likelihood their organisation will face an internal capability shortage in the next three to five years, HR has a mountainous task on its hands.
In an era when talent has already gone digital, Digital HR is now a transformation imperative for the survival of all organisations.
Contrary to popular belief, Digital HR is NOT just about process automation or digitisation however.
So what is Digital HR really?
Digital HR is the foundation for organisational transformations to make firms future-ready.
It is a technology-enabled way of work that leverages new age sciences to make HR transactions and decisions intuitive, informed and inspiring to enable organisational effectiveness. It is an integration that embeds HR activities with business on a real-time and real-impact basis. For an organisation:
  1. Digital HR is a lever for employee engagement: The modern day workforce is looking for a workplace that treats its employees as customers and provides a similar user experience across touch points. They want their HR transactions to be managed from ‘always on, always available’ mobile-enabled devices. A recent global survey reported that digital workforce enablement yields up to 64% higher employee engagement.
  2. Digital HR is an enabler of cultural transformation: While everyone wants to transform their organisations’ culture, few really understand the ‘trim tab’ of such transformation. As generation Y and Z enter the workforce, the mere idea of workplace is becoming redundant as most work and interpersonal interactions happen in the virtual social world. Only Digital HR can enable cultural transformation in today’s contemporary workplace.
  3.  Digital HR is an empowerment mechanism: It enables the transfer of many processes such as, recruiting, compensation management, learning & development and talent management to managers and employees, which leads to much higher empowerment and transparency. Employees are more in-control of their careers and work/life which creates significant and measurable impact on various business matrices.
  4. Digital HR is the competitive advantage in the war for talent: Delivering employee value proposition through digital channels helps organisations attract and retain higher quality talent. A substantially high proportion of prospective employees today leverage digital channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook for job searches. Seventy-one per cent of companies report better sourcing through social tools.
  5. Digital HR is insights and predictions: The seamless integration of real-time employee data, inbuilt analytical capabilities and referencing big data enable Digital HR solutions to provide meaningful insights. It can even predict future events that may have mission-critical impacts on the business. An organisation’s ability to predict attrition of individuals or their future performance, for example, can have a huge positive impact on its ability to manage its results.
  6. And finally…Digital HR is the key to HR’s seat at the table: Like it or not but HR is still has a limited say in the formulation of business strategy. This is largely due to the subjective nature of HR initiatives and qualitative impact measurement. According to a BCG report, “There is a strong correlation between the use of KPIs and the strategic role of HR. HR leaders who want a role in strategic discussions with the business must be able to quantify workforce performance. This goes beyond input metrics, such as cost and headcount, towards more sophisticated output indicators such as productivity”. Digital HR enables this.
Understanding and embracing Digital HR will lead to a lot of HR aspects getting embedded in everyday work and businesses. The Digital HR team can then spend more time on strategic initiatives, guided by insights to achieve higher workforce effectiveness. This will enable the measurement and monetisation of the value that HR has always promised to deliver but has often failed to display. Go digital or perish is the new survival mantra for HR.

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