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Go Digital with HR

HR: Don’t “Do” Digital… “Be” Digital

A recent Deloitte report, “2017 Global Human Capital Trends,” contains a wealth of information about demographic and economic trends that put technology into a much sharper focus as HR organizations begin to establish digital leadership.

Think about this: Executives surveyed for the report ranked talent acquisition as their third most essential challenge, with more than 80 percent defining it as “important” or “very important.”

The result is that recruiting and HR professionals are scrambling to demonstrate technology leadership — a bit ironic considering that HR has traditionally been a laggard, not a leader in this area.

But that’s changing. Deloitte’s report is certainly a wake-up call. As transformation accelerates ever more rapidly, innovative technologies become even more essential.

In the past, HR has traditionally been characterized more as a “support” function — delivering services to hiring managers, tracking applicants and employees, and maintaining compliance. As HR teams are now under pressure to fill roles in a world where the talent pool is quickly shrinking, leaders are asking themselves how to create more digital opportunities to be more competitive.

“Be” digital — don’t just “do” digital

I see this shift in a wide range of organizations — in full agreement with Deloitte’s view that hiring success will come from a focus to “be” digital, not just “do” digital.

The difference may seem subtle, but it represents an entirely new way of thinking about technology. Legacy systems and processes won’t be up to the competitive challenge as more companies become digital organizations in actual practice, not just “talk the talk.” HR teams will need to be empowered to embrace the essence of “being” digital.

Artificial intelligence to cope with growing transparency

Roughly 33 percent of HR teams reported that they are using some type of artificial intelligence to address the need to make better hiring decisions. These technologies enable data-driven decisions, yet also bring with them the need for far more transparency.

Only a few years ago, HR processes and performance were exceedingly opaque, both within organizations and to candidates applying for positions. Now the environment has shifted, making it essential to not only acknowledge but welcome transparency.

For example, compensation data is far more widely distributed across social networks and on sites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor. Candidate experiences are also far more widely shared, making it more important to use the best technologies available to deliver a more engaging experience these candidates discuss online.

Being prepared for being digital

As transformative change continues to evolve, business leaders – especially in HR – need to adopt new practices for leading, organizing, motivating, managing, and engaging a workforce for the 21st century.

The report recommends several steps and best practices. These include:

  • Upgrade technology: Replace legacy systems with integrated cloud-based platforms that are far easier to use and streamline processes.
  • Build a digital HR team: Dedicate staff to exploring new vendor solutions, including artificial intelligence and cognitive computing to improve recruiting, collaboration, and decision making.
  • Benchmark: Study how other organizations meet similar challenges, plus join organizations where industry professionals discuss these issues.

No, it’s not easy to become digital, but emerging macro trends and a changing economy demand that you do so. Your new focus needs to center on more than merely delivering a service, but to optimize productivity, create more engaging candidate experiences, and to take full advantage of artificial intelligence and other new technologies to make data-driven decisions.

Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report is certainly a wake-up call – and well worth reading.

Nick Ricciardi