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HR Digitalization and the Path to Future Success for Growing Businesses

Feature Article | November 14, 2017 by David Ludlow

Mobile devices and apps, wireless networks, and collaborative platforms are just a few of the many technologies that are changing how people approach everyday life. We are constantly engaged in experiences that are highly curated, individualized, responsive, and immediate.

But what most people miss is how this moment in human history is creating immense upheaval for HR organizations as they fight to acquire and retain the right talent – and keep them engaged – to compete effectively in a landscape of constant change and disruption.

A lack of digitally enabled HR processes can limit the ability of a company to have the right talent and thereby thwart future growth. This can be an issue for small and midsize companies as indicated in the Forbes Insights briefing report “Competing for Talent in the Digital Age,” sponsored by SAP SuccessFactors, where less than half of surveyed executives cited having an established strategy and undergoing a coordinated transformation.

Would anyone willingly jump back to technology experiences in the workplace reminiscent to those from 10 years ago? Most likely not – people want the same access to digital capabilities they use outside of work. For the HR function, it’s time to start supporting preferred ways of working to help the business run with an engaged, passionate workforce that is willing to do what it takes to help the company succeed.

Redefining the Value of HR in a Digital World

HR strategies and processes touch every employee, manager, and executive within small and midsize businesses, impacting workforce behaviors and productivity. However, the adoption of digital technology can have a significant influence as well. By marrying processes with technology that mimics favored digital consumer experiences, HR organizations can raise their value to every member of the workforce and ignite a wave of engagement rarely seen in most workplaces.

For example, HR organizations can transition the workplace culture into one that values and encourages continuous learning and career advancement by making development opportunities ubiquitous, simple, accessible, and convenient. Employees can take advantage of individualized learning plans relevant to their current role, future aspirations, and short- and long-term changes in their position. New digital technologies, such as machine learning, can better assess the personalized needs of each individual and intelligently suggest relevant learning courses or mentors. Plus, open collaboration platforms can encourage knowledge sharing across the organization.

Learning and development are just the beginning of the full potential of HR digitalization. Managers can make data-driven decisions based on data that has been transformed into recommended courses of action by using these new digital technologies. And they can do it on the go, anytime and anywhere with their mobile devices. Employees can quickly get the right answers to their questions using natural language instead of guessing where to navigate next on a series of menus. But perhaps most important, work becomes an enjoyable experience as the frustration of making decisions with limited information and using latent, complex IT systems become a thing of the past.

Turning HR Digitalization Into a Foundation for Future Success

The transformational power of digital technology is unmistakable in the world of work. HR organizations can effectively foster digital skills and productive habits that align with current needs, while flexibly evolving work experiences to align with new market dynamics and changes in business strategy in real time.

With a range of cloud-based HR technologies available, small and midsize businesses can increase control of the digital capabilities they adopt, keep IT costs low, secure information confidently, and authorize access to the right people anytime and anywhere. The HR function not only streamlines user experiences and accelerates processes, but also creates a foundation for an engaged, informed, and prepared workforce that can handle anything the future brings.


Find out how small and midsize businesses are digitalizing HR with cloud-based models to create a competitive edge in the digital economy.
Read the Forbes Insights briefing report “Competing for Talent in the Digital Age” sponsored by SAP SuccessFactors.

David Ludlow is group vice president of Solution Management for SAP SuccessFactors

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