Needless to say, digital transformation is all about people. It’s easy to think it’s solely tech-focused, and therefore should belong to the savvy Chief Technology Officers (CTO) and their trustworthy IT teams, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it should always fall to them to push the project forward.
In truth, it can be up to any individual in the business who can project manage from start to finish – and anyone who is a stakeholder in the value-derived from digital transformation – especially HR teams.
Digital transformation might be an incremental change – like the introduction of a new communication tool – or a large-scale project, such as an entire business overhaul. But it’s not just about technology, it’s about adoption across the whole team. Therefore, businesses need to have a strong culture to be able to work collaboratively, be communicative, and agile. And a strong HR presence is vital.
Since hybrid working became ‘the norm’, it’s been the mission of many organisations to help their employees work more efficiently, be more productive, and gain a better day-to-day balance. In turn, those who have embarked on digital upgrades have been able to boost retention and attract new talent. In fact, 41% of HR executives intend to focus on the adoption of digital tools to drive growth.
However, many think digital transformation can be a quick fix for internal issues, particularly for the challenge of hybrid work. But businesses can’t expect to roll out new technology or upgrade to better systems to instantly solve problems, it requires strong leadership throughout to guide the project.
HR support through organisational change
It’s all about adding value. And HR should take a primary role in this. It requires leaders who understand culture, and how people’s jobs might change, to support and guide the team through the process. By communicating effectively, this can aid adoption.
Throughout, it’s important that staff understand that technology is there to enhance their roles. If the digital transformation strategy and implementation doesn’t suit those actually using the implemented tools, then the project will fail. Evidencing this, recent research from McKinsey and Co revealed that 70% of digital transformations fail most often due to resistance from employees.
That’s why HR leadership is so important. These individuals can dig into the team’s thoughts and feelings about the project and the impact it’s having on day-to-day operations. They should be able to give hard evidence to business leaders that staff attrition is increasing because of the technology the organisation is using – therefore inducing a change of direction. Or they can give positive feedback to drive the current strategy forward. Either way, each piece of useful insight can fuel digital transformation.
Lastly, businesses shouldn’t roll out digital transformation just because everyone else is. There must be a need and a strategic focus. This all comes back to robust leadership and the role in which HR plays in bringing everyone together towards one common goal. HR is the glue that holds it together.