Human Resources Digital Transformation
The digital revolution is transforming the needs of increasingly demanding consumers. Organisations are evolving at an ever-increasing pace to meet the demand for more competitive, agile, global, fast, and effective services.
With digital experiences, consumers are becoming increasingly engaged in their interactions with companies. What if interactions with HR processes were equally user-friendly? How different would the contribution and performance of an employee be if he/she was as engaged with their organisation as a consumer is with their favourite brands?
In this journey, human resources take the leading role, not only in their own transformation, but also in empowering the whole organisation in the skills needed for its digitalisation.
What is HR digital transformation?
The digital transformation in human resources teams means using data to guide and improve all the typical functions inside this area: learning and development, hiring, benefits management, payroll and performance management. By using digital tools and frameworks to improve its own operations, HR will be able to maximise the employee experience, reduce the time spent on non-value-added tasks, and, as a consequence, free-up time to strategise and deliver valuable insights to business units. On the other hand, the human resources department plays an important role in leading and supporting the organisation towards digital transformation by creating a digital mindset and developing relevant skills.
Challenges of Digital Transformation in HR
Despite several organisations reporting some maturity in the most basic digital skills such as self-service tools or workflows, few are those that master advanced skills, such as process automation, real-time monitoring or analytics. In addition to these gaps in technical skills, there are two common mistakes in managing this transformation process in human resources:
Failure to consider the impact on people and culture
One of the main goals of digital transformation is to support the elimination of waste, so that all employees use an increasing share of their time on value-added tasks. In this process, not considering the impact on people can result in frustration and can lead to the failure of this journey. Therefore, it is essential to change the organisation's culture to become more transparent while fostering a mindset of speaking with data. The new digital tools will require human resources teams to become more interactive, proactive and customer-oriented. Not changing HR's mission may well mean the failure of the digital journey not only in this team, but also across the whole organisation.
Digital transformation is all about automation
The role of tools such as RPA (Robotic Process Automation) in simplifying and automating repetitive transactional tasks, such as salary processing, is undeniable. By adopting a methodology of prior analysis of critical processes, prioritisation, and re-engineering, before starting the journey of implementing RPA, one is guaranteed disruptive results in reducing waste.
Additionally, digitalisation not only opens doors for more agile, comprehensive, global, and intelligent service delivery, but also allows employees to upskill. Not transforming processes before digitising them is a mistake that should be avoided as digital transformation is the golden opportunity to revolutionise HR's interaction with its internal customers, by adopting a customer-centric mindset through the delivery of more personalised and accessible services.
A popular application of this concept is the use of virtual assistance interfaces or virtual assistants (chatbots). This tool's implementation comes as a result of the internal customer journey mapping exercise. This exercise allows the identification of the experience's pain points and acknowledges which processes need to be redesigned to optimise this experience. Thus, this is the starting point that ensures a holistic view of customer interactions. In addition, service-desk implementation is another way to transform the customer experience, allowing customers to solve simple problems quickly and autonomously.
By bringing culture and technology together in the transformation of HR processes, it is possible to simplify, improve the teams' work and eliminate communication barriers. An example of this are the various areas in which top performing companies have been applying digital solutions to support process innovation:
Transforming the recruitment and onboarding experience
In order to increase the organisation's engagement and number of interactions with potential candidates, the mapping of recruitment sources and processes can be supported by the use of chatbots. This process, specifically designed to interact directly and in a standardised way with candidates, is responsible for high conversion rates and a considerably higher number of candidates when compared to the manual version.
Furthermore, in the admission process, several organisations have reported finding it difficult to manage all the information and communications with newcomers. After analysing which information is most relevant and eliminating unnecessary intermediate approvals, the use of workflow management software contributes to the dematerialisation and simplification of the process. From the moment the contract is signed, sequential and automatic actions are triggered, such as sending useful information for onboarding or even sharing helpful contacts.
Transform the development and training process
HR teams tend to spend most of their time managing the back office of the process (such as sending out notices, managing attendance, evaluating sessions, reconciling the agendas of trainers and trainees, among others). In order to increase the portion of time that these teams devote to value-added tasks in training management, it is essential to re-design and standardise the process by supporting it with digital tools that facilitate the interaction between organiser, trainee and trainer.
Furthermore, it is possible to use gamification concepts to increase satisfaction and attendance rates in training - for example by using competition elements such as rankings and leader boards.
Simplify benefit management
Keeping the benefits portfolio and working conditions of all employees up to date is a non-value-added task that is time-consuming for HR teams. Often, these documents require signatures, which increases the amount of time spent managing the paper and archive associated with this process. That said, it is difficult for employees to consult their up-to-date employment situation with regard to working conditions, salary and benefits. To increase employee satisfaction and improve their experience, several human resources departments have been adopting digital systems that allow the upload, digital signature, and quick consultation of all benefits, with no associated administrative burden.
There are several companies that have digitally transformed their HR operations and have been successful in achieving better financial performance, greater diversity across the organisation and increased productivity. If the first step of this transformation is simplification, technology can be used to re-engineer processes and achieve exceptional results in the quality of the services provided by human resources teams.
How to get started with HR digital transformation?
To launch a successful digital transformation programme, it’s essential to define a multidisciplinary team that will lead the diagnosis exercise. This mapping of the current state should start with a SIPOC analysis to understand the process list organised by supplier, input, output and client.
Next, the critical processes should be mapped in detail with the identification of the execution time and Lead Time of every task. With the aim of reducing time in HR departments, there is a strong dependence on information systems that, most of the time, are from different sources and don’t communicate. This highlights the reason why it’s fundamental to conduct information systems mapping.
After identifying all the improvement opportunities in the current state analysis, a Future State Vision should be designed, taking into consideration some principles such as: first improve and standardise, and second, digitalise, automate most manual and repetitive work, create data transparency and develop digital competences - which is core.
This vision should then translate into a detailed roadmap to be implemented with clear responsibilities in workshops and starting with the initiatives that have the most impact.
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