The face of innovation continues to undergo an unceasing transformation as we gear deeper into 2019. As organizations compete to build the next big product or acquire the hottest skill set, it has become equally important to leverage the innovation potential of their employees.

Having said that, what is the primary nemesis of innovation in today’s disruptive digital backdrop? The answer lies in the rising gap between the expectations of leaders and employees. The CHRO Quarterly Report by Gartner unearths some interesting insights that reaffirm this:

  • 67% of business leaders believe that if their company cannot be significantly more digital by 2020, it would no longer be competitive.
  • 77% of the employees now expect to have easier options for completing routine tasks as compared to 3 years ago.

This begs another critical question – What should be the aim of digitization and how can this gap be effectively bridged? As a matter of fact, the solution rests in the most unlikely of places where leaders expect it to – in the hands of the CHRO.

How are CHROs Impacting the Face of Digital Transformation?

To begin with, strategic CHRO functions possess the ability to build and harness a network of expertise to innovate at scale. Since this requires comprehensive knowledge about the roles of every employee and leader, CHROs are rightly positioned to lead the digital transformation wave.

This can be driven by:

  • Engaging employees in the process of generating and filtering innovative ideas
  • Increasing the risk-taking ability of leaders by enabling them to share the risks
  • Guiding and consulting employees about how to leverage networks to innovate

Why is this necessary? If we tap into the perspective of the CEO, their foremost aim is to implement digital transformation in a way that boosts workforce performance, improves delivery time, produces products and services quicker, and cuts down the costs.

On the other hand, employees expect digitization to improve their personal work experience. Thus, a new challenge emerges as organizations delve deep into the digital route – improving digital experiences of employees in a way that drives performance. This is why CHROs are increasingly finding a more comprehensive role at the strategy table today.

How Can HR Take the Lead in Digitization?

Here is how you can begin restructuring your digital transformation strategy from the ground up and allocate more priority to HR functions:

  1. Gather Better Employee Insights: Simply asking the employees for feedback does not work anymore. You need to converse with them and motivate them to openly share their problems in a way that does not violate their privacy and trust. Companies need to measure what their employees think and do in real time.
  1. Understand the Candidates’ Journey: With the proliferation of online platforms, it is easier than ever for employees to apply for jobs. Thus, you need to focus more on driving candidate decisions by identifying the most relevant and premium candidates and then motivating them to apply for the job.
  1. Leverage Cross-functional Management: Decision-making processes are increasingly becoming horizontal with organizational works spanning multiple functions. Hence, HR needs to shift the focus on creating people managers who can seek answers throughout the organization instead of traditional managers who believe in coaching the employees themselves.
  1. Shift from Self Service to User Experience: Instead of focusing on self-service employee portals and on-demand access, start focusing on technologies that provide both managers and employees access to information in an effortless manner anytime they require.
  1. Faster Performance Management: Trends suggest that almost every CEO today wants HR to improve the HR management process. Hence, the essence of performance management needs to go past the methods of evaluating the works of employees and reevaluate the ways in which goals are set for them and making it more dynamic.
  1. Agile Workforce Skill Management:  HR and learning heads are constantly faced with the challenge of reskilling workforce which are primarily driven by dynamically changing business environments. Thus, the CHRO organization needs digital platforms to manage this agile workforce skill and re-tooling requirements paving way for an agile enterprise.

The digital ecosystem has given birth to a data-based economy today and the rising prominence of HR is the latest addition to a digital warfare that an increasing number of organizations are finding themselves to be a part of.

What are your views about the role of CHROs in digital transformation? Share them in the comments section below.

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Posted by Rupal Nanavati

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