September 28, 2020

How Digital Transformation Has Become a Make-or-Break Factor in HR Practices

Art 14 - Jason 1

The year 2020 makes you wish you had a magic wand. Obviously, of course, you don’t. However, digital transformation holds the key to success and survival in the COVID-19 era. There are no pre-established playbooks or rulebooks to which companies can refer in the new normal. That could be a blessing or a curse, according to Jason Averbook, a leading analyst and thought leader in the domains of HR, the future of work, and the impact of technology on the future.

In an interview with Freshteam, Averbook, who is CEO and cofounder of digital HR/people strategies firm Leapgen, says the current moment is an amazing opportunity for companies and leaders as they get to write their own rules. In this way, it is nothing short of creating history. Here are some key takeaways from the interview on the theme of digital transformation:

1. The Three Pillars to Build in the COVID-19 Era

  1. Go digital: Without a playbook to refer to, organizations across the globe are mapping the current state and creating a future-state process, Averbook says. However, he notes that this doesn’t matter in the given situation, and the way to really move forward is to go digital.
  2. Design for different personas: Companies have been forced to opt for a distributed model of work. Single templates for all processes will not work, and companies need to create personas of their employees and design workflow processes that suit each persona.
  3. Redefine onboarding and performance: Organizations must unlearn and redefine what successful onboarding looks like. They need to answer important questions, such as how much time they should spend onboarding new hires, how to retain employees, and how to make sure new hires do not regret having joined the organization.

2. Design Workflows for Employees’ Journeys; Don’t Think of Them as Processes

It is important for organizations to adopt blue-sky thinking where there are no limits to brainstorming (ideas need not be grounded in reality). HR professionals typically follow certain processes to help employees onboard, but the thinking needs to change from “process” to “experience” and “journey.” This shift in mindset will naturally drive behaviors that are necessary to design onboarding strategies using technology as an enabler.

3. Companies Must Take the Human-Centered Approach to Digital Transformation

Because we are all dealing with an unforeseen and unprecedented situation, the marriage between employers and employees is likely going to be much more complex than ever. Averbook believes organizations are not good enough at listening to their employees. The current situation will probably force organizations to adopt more human-centric approaches to designing experiences so as to ensure employees are happy, feel fulfilled in their roles, and have the mental health support that they need.

4. Orientation, Integration, and Self-Sufficiency Should Be the Three Stages of Onboarding in the COVID-19 Era

Orientation: Averbook believes the situation brought on by the pandemic is likely to force organizations to do a much better job with orientation, given that a sizable percentage of employees are working from home and are likely to continue to do so in the near future. When designing onboarding experiences for virtual workplaces, the key is to overcommunicate.

Integration: One of the impacts of COVID-19 on businesses has been spurring the realization that different units are functioning in silos. Employees should not be overloaded with information by different departments, but organizations must think of designing one experience for their candidates and employees.

Self-sufficiency: Organizations need to realize that employees just want to do their jobs and want the relevant tools that make it easy to do so. Organizations should try to move away from the kind of work environment in which employees have to depend on certain specific individuals to get the solutions to their problems, because that system isn’t scalable. This isn’t just about helping employees access benefits and payroll more easily, but also about providing information to help employees do their work more efficiently and independently.

5. How You Narrate Your Digital Transformation Story Matters

When a company is driving digital transformation efforts in its businesses, it is imperative to tell this story to relevant stakeholders in a manner that is engaging and appealing. If you simply ask employees to adopt a new HR program, you aren’t going to excite them. If you provide them with the same tool and tell them how it will help them do their jobs in a better manner and chart out their career paths, employees will be more likely to adopt it. Companies need to get buy-in from their employees to adopt the change, not the technology. That is where the transformation goes from fairy tale to reality.

Three Phases You Need to Repeat Throughout Digital Transformation

There are three phases HR leaders need to think through while devising and implementing digital transformation strategies:

  1. Create a coordinated strategy: First, an organization should have a coordinated strategy, as opposed to different units having their own strategies. Begin this process with “why” rather than “how.”
  2. Deploy the strategy: Again, technology is just part of the strategy, never the whole of it. For the most part, deploying the strategy means explaining to employees what the new strategy is and what is in it for them, getting employee buy-in, and understanding what is working and what is not.
  3. Optimize: Treat your strategy as a pet, not a rock. You cannot deploy your strategy, forget about it, and move on to the next task. Strategies need to evolve in alignment with the pace at which the world changes.

The best way for HR leaders to think about digital transformation is to strategize, deploy, optimize, and repeat.

Freshteam by Freshworks is a smart HR software tool that helps make your onboarding process smoother and more humane with its numerous intuitive and easy-to-use features. It has transformed how businesses onboard their new hires and is designed to aid HR managers, especially while they are working remotely. It helps recruiters attract top talent from multiple channels and manage the process through screening, interviewing, onboarding, and offboarding — all with a few clicks. You can check it out for free here.

This article by Freshteam is built on the original article that first appeared on the Freshteam blog.

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Freshteam, a part of the Freshworks product portfolio, is a smart HR software that helps with handling recruiting, onboarding, time off, and employee information, all in one place. It is intuitive, easy to use, and affordable: a perfect fit for growing businesses. Freshteam helps attract top talent from multiple channels, as well as interview, track, hire, and onboard them with ease through its numerous features that are designed to aid HR managers at every step of the recruitment process.
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