The evolution of HR has been striking, especially in just the last 10 years. Clearly, technology is making its mark. But with so much invested in digitizing Human Resources departments, there is now a growing belief that HR Digitalization is the next evolutionary step.
Between the responsibilities of recruiting, ensuring company compliance with legislation and managing the complex web of employee leave and other entitlements, the day-to-day workload of a HR department can be considerable. But now, HR is also being tasked with bringing on existing employees, advancing their skills, building morale and increasing employee engagement levels.
We have already looked at HR’s evolution into Human Capital Management, but in the digital age, experts believe HR strategies must also evolve – not only in Talent Acquisition but in how that talent is identified, attracted and interacted with before and after they join the company.
Digitization Vs Digitalization
You’re probably wondering what the difference is – other than spelling. But there is a distinct line between the ideas of digitization and digitalization.
In a nutshell, the difference lies in the degree of influence that technology might have on the processes your Human Resources department uses.
- Digitization relates to the conversion of information from hard copy (or analog) form into digital form. It means that a whole lot more information can be stored more securely and accessed remotely. The simplest comparison is when record companies began to record music digitally, replacing those bulky (though much-loved) vinyl LPs with smaller, lighter and much more convenient CDs. The system might have worked more smoothly, but the system was not fundamentally altered.
- Digitalization, on the other hand, is all about how technology is being used to evolve an existing system. It relates to remolding a process so as to take full advantage of the benefits the particular technology promises. That means stepping away from selling physical products and, instead, streaming music directly to the music-lover. It’s jumping from CDs straight into Spotify. So, distribution networks are no longer necessary, which means record stores are out. The system is changed utterly.
Re-imagining The Way We Work
Human Resources is well-positioned to create new digital ecosystems that bring around people, processes and technologies together. The result is a workforce that collaborates more effectively in a vastly altered way of working.
But to do this requires a new way of thinking, not least the idea that all technology matters should be left to IT to deal with.
Of course, there are a couple of imperatives that should be met when designing a HR Digitalization strategy:
- Digitalization should be aligned with and support business objectives
- Digitalization should enhance employee performance
But there are some real benefits to HR Digitalization.
- Ease the Talent Acquisition pain – Statistics from a 2014 PwC survey revealed that 70% of CEOs in the US had a genuine concern over their strategies plans due to difficulties in finding recruits with the right skills. A digitalized HR department is better equipped to analyse both graduate and working candidates that have the required skills.
- Improve Employee Engagement – using the same types technology employees like to use enhances the workforce experience. Instead of logging into a system to check on rota or project updates, for example, they might do so using ‘Siri’ on their smartphone. HR can also boost engagement by encouraging social media within work, allowing people to be social, connect and build friendly and personable relationships with each other and the organization’s customers.
- Learning & Development – using digital tools can promote gaming concepts in the workplace to boost learning and development. It can also be used for evaluations and feedback with employees.
- Big Data Analytics – HR can build more detailed profiles on employees, on their skills and abilities, and identifying what skills gaps need to be filled.