HR departments have an important role in addressing the digital transformation of an entire company. This is because the major challenges of digitization of any company are related to the necessary changes in its organizational structure and its work culture.
In this post we describe 5 essential actions human resources should take to drive a digital transformation strategy and implementation in any business.
This post is also available in Spanish
5 key steps in a digital transformation plan driven by HR
An internal audit is necessary to know where a company is in their digital transformation process.
And for doing this, it´s necessary to ask employees for their opinions, to know their needs and understand what difficulties or challenges they encounter to address the changes that a digital transformation challenge imply for their work.
At the end of the day, employees are the ones who must change their habits, their mentality and use new digital tools in their day to day.
Similarly, it is also necessary to know what other companies in the same or in other sectors are doing in regards to digital transformation.
To perform an external audit, it is important to conduct a benchmark study: to investigate what actions other human resources departments are undertaking when facing a digital transformation.
This knowledge will allow your company to collect a range of good practices that could be applied to your specific situation.
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2. Strategy and roadmap
Once we have conducted an internal and external audit to discover where we are in our digital transformation process, we must create a roadmap to establish the guidelines to follow, both for the short and the long term.
We must define a responsible person for implementing the necessary actions, in this case led by the HR department, and determine how much time will be needed to implement each action.
The roadmap will help us monitor in a more detailed and structured way the different milestones we have and the time we need for achieving each of them.
3. Project Plan
The project plan is part of our roadmap, and should contain the following sections:
Internal Digital Communication
Some tools should be implemented in order to enhance internal communication, like an intranet, which gives employees a space where they can interact with each other in a fast, intuitive and direct way.
The intranet promotes constant communication within and between departments, and it allows employees to share interesting information with each other, which in turn results in increasing the knowledge in the entire organization.
The use of digital collaborative tools at work has helped to improve teamwork efficiency , as they allow teams to coordinate and work better together, regardless of geographical location.
There are plenty of tools to work together more efficiently, such as the Google G-suite for example, that lets you share all types of documents with your peers and allows several people to work on them at once.
The history of every change is recorded, so there is no confusion as to which is the latest version of a document. In addition, everything is stored in the cloud, so that all of the shared documents can be accessed from anywhere and from any device.
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Digital employer branding
People are not only looking for a good salary or a stable job these days, but for companies with a communicative and transparent working environment.
In this sense, social networks have become a window to show how a company is from the inside, with the goal to attract top talent and people that best identify themselves with the values and vision of an organization.
One employer branding strategies that many companies are launching nowadays is what is known as "digital employee ambassadors": launching programs where employees are responsible for spreading the word about the organization on social media platforms.
Content shared by employees gets 8 times more loyalty and credibility than content shared
by the company.
Thus, by broadcasting content related to the work environment by someone who works at the company, the message that reaches potential candidates is much more personal and credible.
Digital tools allow us not to rely on a fixed office space, this promotes the creation and use of workspaces that encourage communication and those where innovative ideas can be created and exposed in a much more natural way.
There are increasingly more companies where there is no table or chair assigned to each person, where workplaces are open, airy and even mobile for employees to work anywhere in the office.
Human resources departments should support designing and enabling spaces to relax that encourage open collaboration, inviting people to talk more, generate ideas, establish new partnerships, etc.
4. Adoption and communication plan
Throughout the whole digital transformation process, the human resources department must clearly inform their employees about the importance of using the digital tools selected.
The ideal is to lead by example: if managers begin to use them, it will be easier for the rest of the employees to gradually start to use them too.
It is also essential to properly inform coworkers on how to use the introduced tools, by constantly analyzing potential barriers and providing training in the skills they need to best use them.
At the end of the day, technology is an enabler, but by itself it is useless. Employees must learn to use all the technology that the company makes available to them.
5. Establish KPIs to measure and improve
In order to see the benefits of a digital transformation process, HR departments must establish indicators that allow to know quantitatively the impact of the changes introduced.
These indicators should be adapted to the type of action taken. Some examples would be: level of employee engagement , impact on productivity, efficiency in the selection process, resulting number of collaborative projects, impact on internal communication, etc.
In addition to these 5 actions HR departments should take to drive digital transformation in any company, we must always bear in mind the importance of creating a culture focused on innovation.
This is not only achieved by incorporating digital tools at global level within the organization, but above all by fully establishing a digital mindset, something that goes beyond any set of specific actions aimed at targeting digital transformation.
To achieve any goal set from the HR department, it is key to have the commitment from the side of the C-suite, since they are primarily responsible for promoting the vision behind any digital transformation project.
This post is also available in Spanish.