Digital disruption: HR leaders under threat

by Human Capital01 Apr 2014
We’re told that social technology is the future, and that virtually no industry is immune to the potentially devastating effects of digital disruption. But what does this really mean for the HR function, and how can HR leaders get in front of this growing threat?
You need look no further than the bookstore Borders to see how swiftly a global enterprise can come undone, according to Professor Richard Hall, Associate Dean Management Education, The University of Sydney Business School.
“If you think about the speed within which a global business like that was destroyed, and how a whole sector has been fairly rapidly remade in a digital space, it becomes clear that digital disruption is coming after virtually every sector, sometimes in ways that we don’t yet understand,” Hall said.
This is both “a threat and opportunity for HR”, he confirmed – so the worst thing you can do is ignore it.
“The ability for digital technology to disrupt traditional ways of doing business, by creating value and interacting within and beyond the organisation, means there is this capacity to completely remake entire sectors of business, really quickly,” he said.
“The fact is, entire areas of business can be removed. If you’re involved in any type of intermediated business, and you’re standing between some sort of supply and its market, you’re under threat.”
Without investing in innovative strategies to help navigate this new digital world order, our very existence as HR directors could be under threat, Hall warned.   

“This has the potential to have implications for other key functions in the organisation. In fact, PWC are suggesting that Chief Financial Officers should be renamed Chief Performance Officers – which says to me that HR needs to move to demonstrate its value and function as performance experts,” Hall added.
Professor Richard Hall will discuss ‘HR in the era of digital disruption’ at our National HR Summit Directors Forum tomorrow. Limited seats still available for day two; for more information, click here.


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