HR Strategy in Digital World

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Leadership by default holds the responsibility to drive the workforce, lead the adaptation and steer the organization to be future ready to take on the challenge of digital disruption. The first step towards this is the transformation of the Leadership into digital leadership. Digital leaders would thus be better prepared to lead digital transformation and engage and communicate with the stake holders in deciding, designing and delivering the digital organization.

They can have the best assessment of the situation and decide on the type of change management interventions to form the Structure of the organization through the journey. For this the Leadership themselves have to be equipped with the essential leadership skills in the digital scenario thus furthering their leadership characteristics. The Digital leader should have a comprehensive understanding of the digital market thus equipping him with a mindset to develop solution to potential disruption. This will also help develop a mentality to promote and gain buy-in for digital initiatives. The financial acumen too has to be upgraded to accordingly quantify value and return on investment in a digital scenario. The business understanding with the digital mindset will help to manage the tension between various cross functional teams. An entrepreneurial spirit to continuously innovate products and manage the product life cycle.

Along with the digital upgradation the traditional leadership characteristic also have to adopt to the digital environment. The digital Leader has to be Flexible and Adaptable, giving people freedom to innovate and allowing the individual styles and preferences of working.

To encourage the experimentation and development of ideas the leader has to be Tolerant. Champion the use of digital tools and media and enable Mobility with flexible and contingent working hours. Collaboration, Communication, Feedback, Decision Making in tandem to the digital workforce would help in quick, clear decisions backed with sound digital mindset. Post adapting to the mindset of a digital leader, it is imperative to restructure the organization to enable the digital transformation. Understanding of what digital means to the organization and its fitment into the overall business model. The restructuring will require the mapping of future required digital capabilities and their execution in the organization.

The leader has to strongly drive the Digital capabilities and restructuring around Strategy, Planning & Operations, Product/Service department, innovation, User experience as part of operating model. These capabilities are then required to be linked with specific roles and responsibilities thus leading to the Organizational restructuring. The involvement of leadership at all levels in this exercise will form a strong base with proper role based evaluation of tasks and finally determining a proper span of control that allows effective, lean and scalable management.

Leadership should focus on the talent plan that should directly link the digital strategy of the organization thus filling the gap between current and future digital competencies.

Leadership has to play an important role to drive the talent lifecycle management from acquisition to development and retention.

Plan & Acquire – attracting the best fir talent is all about creating a compelling employee value proposition. Leaders have to portray the organization as a digital brand utilizing innovative solutions. Attracting individuals who are digitally savvy and socially aware becomes the prime focus. Such employees would be able to understand and relate to the impact of digital transformation on the organization.

Lead & Develop Organizations should enable a learning environment and invest in existing capabilities within the organization. They should utilize their existing pool of talent by providing their employees with the tailored learning and development framework to transition them to digital. It is the responsibility of leadership to offer education programs through a variety of channels and to allow employees to take ownership of their development plans, not only to build technical skills but also to adapt and develop new ways of working in alignment with the organization’s digital strategy. Leadership also has to focus upon

further up-skilling employees on understanding the cultural shift that is happening. A digital culture is one that embraces information and insight, and recognizes the value of autonomy, entrepreneurship and creativity. It creates an environment of openness, opportunity and trust, and allows the organization to be flexible, adaptive and responsive to change. If the Leadership is focused, this enables ways of operating that can deliver exponential and disruptive changes in performance.

Engage and retain: Leadership has to focus on the future by investing in employee engagement initiatives and making the workplace appealing to the right talent at the right time. It is important that organizations adopt innovative and collaborative techniques and encourage the use of digital platforms, giving talent the rules to live by and the freedom to live with them–allowing employees the flexibility to work from wherever is most convenient to them.

Evidently digital is impacting every industry and every organization, and thus the Leadership in this era of digital disruption will affect the survival of the organization. Leadership has a vital and critical responsibility to lead the change and translate strategic objectives into competencies that are constantly revived to keep up with business challenges and market trends. Again, basics of the leadership remains the same, but with digital transformation is no longer an option, it’s the imperative. The speed, the quantum, the affect will surely depend on the organization, the business and the willingness to adapt and keep moving with the times.

“Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine”Chris Hadfield


Author- Mukul Chopra has over 20 years of professional experience and currently he is working as HR Director at Huawei Consumer Business Group. Prior to Huawei, he has worked with organization like Airtel, Reliance, GE Capital among other his last company was Aircel where he was Head TA & HR strategy for the group. Mukul did MBA –Human resource from Punjab University in 1996.

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