Successful Digital HR Strategy for a Sustainable Transformation

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Soumyasanto Sen
Organizations should be very clear that digital transformation is a constant journey of re-alignment of business models, technologies and organizational culture to do business more effectively a digital age.

Creating a Successful Digital HR Strategy for a Sustainable Transformation

The global COVID-19 pandemic has challenged companies to manage their enterprises in new ways. Organizations are not only experiencing enormous scope changes to their daily business but also a restructuring of the economic order. Many organizations are now forced to transform their business, organization, and way of work for their survival and existence. Working with distributed teams is a very good example of such a business transformation that applies to most of the organizations today along with the rise of enablement for digital transformation.

“The primary challenge is that organizations must also operate in these changes at the same speed. As a result, they need to continuously adapt the way they managed the business before. As the world has become so unpredictable, adoption has become the only way forward in the fast-changing sectors of any economy.”

So, it is important now for organizations to do business with new resilient, and adaptive ways to engage within their ecosystem and deliver economic value. They must change the usual ways of doing business, come out of their comfort zone, and get ready for new digital mindsets.

Despite all of this, 2 out of 3 digital transformation initiatives and programs don’t succeed according to McKinsey. Many organizations are misunderstanding the transformation or, more precisely, the digital transformation based on their own perspectives. Organizational silos and bureaucracies are perhaps the biggest barriers for organizations aiming to harness the power of data and insights to ‘go digital’. On top of that, missing the right digital strategies is another reason why organizations struggle a lot when it comes to sustainability for the future. According to Gartner studies, 43% leaders admit not having a clear, consistent strategy for digital transformation is the biggest challenge in driving digital business transformation for the organization.

Organizations should be very clear that digital transformation is a constant journey of re-alignment of business models, technologies and organizational culture to do business more effectively a digital age. Organizations obviously need to start with the basics; what is it that makes sense for them, and they always require a readiness assessment from short, medium to long term. by going beyond conventional digital approaches, which are in fact not enough for sustainability. Along with this, they also need to build roadmaps for numerous phases in their upcoming journeys, which may change along the way and hence need to be reviewed timely. Based on the organization can decide on the approaches for successful sustainable transformation.

Understanding Digital HR and Strategy  

Engaging and empowering workforces is also crucial, as any transformation is made up of the most complex system of all – people. So, today digital HR is much more than digitalized current processes and buying digital solutions. Instead, the focus should be more broadly on –

  • The use of digital technologies to resolve business issues and add value-creating opportunities for the business.
  • A complete rethinking of the organization, with respect to culture, strategy, and operations.
  • Emphasizing human-centric experience, collaboration and a new way of work for the workforce.
  • Continuous improving the process of excellence.

Based on the above understanding and to confirm successful sustainable digital HR transformation, digital HR strategy is crucial for all HR practitioners and leaders to ensure that their organization adapts to this changing and increasingly competitive environment by creating a strategic approach for sustainable transformation which goes beyond conventional digital HR propositions.

Digital HR strategy should cover the key areas such as the importance of cultural change and creating a human-centric employee experience, leveraging value propositions, and harnessing data insights and analytics to improve performance. It should also explore frameworks, strategies and opportunities for wellbeing initiatives, upskilling and reskilling workforces to respond to and establishing a culture of collaboration and innovation.

Sustainable Digital Strategies and Roadmaps

In order to reach the right level of sustainability, a digital strategy should be broader when considering the transformation journey in the digital age. The same is true for digital transformation in the HR space. HR digital transformation needs to be posed with the right journey phases, depending on the digital maturity of an organization. These phases can be divided into three, keeping short, medium, and long-term benefits in mind and help to create the roadmaps accordingly.

Organizations need to start with a revolution phase targeting short term benefits. This phase is more about the understanding of the patterns of the changes based on the organization’s challenges. It’s also related to their workforces and leading them to reach their desired future state by defining the right purpose together. The key to success here is not only having the right, new technologies, but also the right mindset so that they can explore a new world full of opportunities and get ready for their own journey of transformation.

Although most organizations are dealing with their short-term journey, implementing cloud systems, leveraging data, building analytics practices, and even changing organizational culture, this is not enough to become sustainable. Organizations also need a further survival trail in their transformation journey for medium-term benefits, considering the growth of intelligent technologies, a new world of work and a demand for a human-centric experience. So, there are always further strategies and roadmaps that need to be considered for the medium-term, even when organizations are already in their transformation journey.

Many organizations have already started touching various of these aspects in their journeys, but unless they are part of a bigger ecosystem, this is not an easy task. On top of that, a progressively competitive environment leads to challenges for organizations when they struggle to adapt to change and many organizations fail to create the state that can lead to sustainability in the long term. A right sustainable transformation can only be accomplished by framing a clear, sensible approach, strategy, and collaboration. So, for this journey phase, there is a need for necessary strategies and learning, considering the long-term benefits.

Everyone is unique and different. What works for one may not work for another. Across industries, organizations know that a “one-size-fits-all” approach doesn’t always hit the mark with their customers. Organizations need to ask more relevant questions to start with their own journey, as they need to build their own model and approach, and these may vary from company to company. This should be a continuous process while exploring their transformation journeys, as nothing is set in stone today.

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