According to a recent study on digital transformation (DX) by the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC), most local enterprises have taken the first step towards DX. However, they lack the overall strategy and thinking to lead and raise staff awareness, hindering the pace of transformation.
Or, to put it another way, while the main focus of most DX discussions is typically on technology, the people piece of the transformation equation might not be receiving the attention it deserves.
That could end up being a critical oversight. In a recent white paper commissioned by SAP, IDC revealed that 50% of the respondents to one of its Executive Sentiment Surveys reported that building a strategy for digital skills and capabilities is a key challenge.
Putting people into perspective
Entitled People-Centric Business for Sustained Growth: a fresh vision for Human Capital Management, the paper notes the importance of putting people at the center of any digital transformation.
For CHROs, that means building a personalized growth and talent strategy and investing in tools to manage the overall work experience are more than merely crucial to drive higher engagement, productivity, and efficiency. They are key success factors in the overall goal of delivering on the transformational agendas set by their businesses.
No DX project can succeed without a people focus
The truth is that during the first wave of DX initiatives, transformation was closely aligned with the comprehensive reshaping of customer experience. However, IDC’s research shows that transformation on the customer side is always connected to transforming the workforce. And this goes well beyond the front office.
According to the IDC/SAP whitepaper, there is plenty for today’s CHRO’s to consider. Take attracting and retaining the best people by implementing a personalized growth strategy for example.
The traditional employee profile is changing rapidly. The workforce today looks at their employers and the employer brand through a new lens, and they are putting an emphasis on traits like engagement and overall working experience. In short, that means attracting and retaining the best talent should be viewed as a means of gaining a crucial competitive advantage.
Another focus is evolving the employee ecosystem to help employees thrive and succeed. IDC predicts that by 2021, at least 60% of global 2000 companies will actively monitor and manage the employee experience, and use it as a key differentiator to build and maintain B2B and B2C relationships. By 2025, the employee ecosystem will be a key determinant of business success.
For this to happen, businesses need a core technology foundation to enable better onboarding and help HR transform from simply being an interface between people and the business. What’s more a certain amount of future-proofing will be required to protect the business.
IDC predicts that by 2023, 35% of workers will start working with bots or other forms of AI. This requires company leaders to redesign operational processes, performance metrics, and recruitment strategies. They need software to help HR adapt to constant change and take on the challenges of managing new agile ways of work, such as contingent labour and digital coworkers.
Building a people-centric business
The paper covers a lot of ground. But, it does offer some advice in terms of areas for HR to focus on. Key points include:
- Invest in talent growth and retention, but also help your people grow with a plan.
- Rethink your HR-related KPIs and metrics as part of the wider transformation you are undergoing.
- Leverage workforce analytics and start planning for the future of your business, deciding now about your future needs.
- Focus on your employer brand and support it with mobility, development, and personal growth strategies.
The benefits are well worth it. With the right approach, the business quickly becomes an attractive work destination. Employees feel like they are part of a community, where they can be their best self, and where they feel valued. This keeps them engaged and aligned with the company vision.
By tailoring a bespoke growth strategy for the employee, rewards, recognition, and important milestones become part of a culture that celebrates personal achievement and contributions. In turn, having an engaged, well rewarded, and well-trained workforce instantly converts these traits into a competitive advantage and creates a thriving employee ecosystem that puts humans, rather than machines, at the epicenter.
Click here to find out more about the human dimension of digital transformation, and download the IDC/SAP paper on People-Centric Business for Sustained Growth: a fresh vision for Human Capital Management.