The digital age is blooming. Once, we managed people with pencil and paper. Then, we started working offline, using simple applications to manage files and basic processes. And then came the internet, bringing the cloud and new challenges for Human Resources to weather. This digital transformation transformed the way people behave, think and move when seeking and talking about information. Online people have become picky because they can easily determine the quality of services and where they can find something better. This behavioral change is challenging HR and staffing organizations in a competitive market of people. Their successful digital transformation requires them to adopt modern and more agile ways of communicating with and managing these people. Here are five must-haves for any HR business to make its digital transformation successful:
For a successful transformation, HR needs technology that supports its people-centered processes. In order to achieve the right business-technology fit, basic critical questions should be asked first. First, is technology going to solve the problems at hand? Perhaps tech isn’t the problem: perhaps the issue lies in the process of work, the behavior of people or the unclarity of needs. A pitfall of HR is believing that new software will solve inefficient processes or dropping operational results. Secondly, technology should carry out the envisioned processes, contribute to the business goals ánd empower the people. Thankfully, the perfect software doesn’t exist. Choosing and implementing new software to serve your business and your people, therefore, often means making changes in the way you work. These changes are necessary for the right business-technology fit, can be of great positive impact and provide both your business and your people’s engagement with a boost.
In this digital age, people operate and communicate online often more than ever before. We have come to expect that the things we seek and need can easily be found on the web. You might say we are literally with our heads in the clouds. Employee portals, online courses and job-related websites have been developed by HR and their partners to meet the digital needs of their audiences. But an online world that is filled with such rich and constant information, makes it difficult for HR professionals to influence and attract the people they want, in the way they want it. Many other businesses are trying to tuck at that same person’s attention, as well. The competition for the online audience is a war that is fiercely being waged. A common pitfall of HR professionals is believing that investing more money into advertisements wins them the war for talent. While the talents they seek often don’t fall for superficiality. Nowadays, content is key. HR professionals need to adopt clever, strategic, authentic and creatives ways of attracting, delighting and converting the people they seek or manage. In ways no one else does: by using the brands, personalities and stories unique to them.
“Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay!” Sherlock Holmes once said. And that is the truth when it comes to making a difference in the digital age. There are many developments happening at once and successfully attracting and managing people is not a given. HR professionals must keep on taking charge in order to stay in the run of a rapidly changing job market. They need a constant stream of information about the results of their efforts and what makes their audiences tick, in order to be able to continuously improve and make a difference. Data driven processes enable the availability of insights for the key figures who need to translate movements in the market to business decisions, and into actions. A data-to-action plan is definitely a must-have: big data will help organizations to perform fact-based HR in an agile, decisive and well supported manner. Indeed, the digital transformation would not be complete without data ánd a plan to turn this data into actions. So that both the organization and the people involved can be served more efficiently and effectively.
Data brings us to the next must-have for HR professionals in their digital transformation. Onward from the 25h of May in 2018, all European companies who work with people-related data must be compliant to the GDPR. In a nutshell, it means the people whose data is being registered and processed, are being granted more control and protection. Everything must be registered and answered for, from which data is being stored where, to what is actually being done with it. Personal data belongs to those persons and they get to decide what goes down. Failing to comply might leave businesses with heavy fines. Especially HR professionals and recruiting businesses that operate online, who process large numbers of profiling data, should think very carefully about how to achieve this compliancy. They need to assign a Data Protection Officer: one who continuously oversees compliance and who can help HR professionals to achieve agreements between law and data-driven decisions about people.
Transformation does not happen overnight and it certainly doesn’t happen without some stormy weather. But change is not necessarily a bad thing. Like the caterpillar becoming the butterfly – a different creature with a greater inventory of possibilities – HR can use the possibilities of this age to transform into a better version of themselves. However, all too often changes are being made without truly organizing the actual change. How much would adopting a new software change, really? Or the usage of a content marketing strategy? The adoption of data driven processes? A lot, actually. Mere change is not a synonym for transformation. We can change without transforming, like the caterpillar could turn into a worm and it would still not fly. Going through the digital transformation requires our behaviors, thoughts and customs to transform, as well. We might have to transform our culture, the way we communicate, the way we have always done things, in order to continue to make a difference. The last must-have is an arrangement for this transformation: an agreement between the people who are part of the changes at hand – who own them, who enable them, and who together make sure change results in beautiful, successful transformation.
The human factor
Modern HR finds itself with the curious mission of achieving harmony between humans and technology. You might have noticed that in all five must-haves above, the human factor is always present. After all, in HR people are the key. They are the employees, the customers and the users. And they will ultimately determine the success, effectiveness and the fun of the digital transformation.
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