The Business Transformation Network recently hosted an event on "HR Transformation: Excellence in Delivery" in partnership with People Doc, at the Ham Yard Hotel in London.
The conversation was open and varied amongst a room filled with an array of attendees, looking at how embedding digital change and activating new strategies within HR is an ongoing battle, focusing on the sub-topics:
1. Reimagining the employee experience
2. Embedding HR Digitalisation
3. Case studying delivery
Reimaging the Employee Experience?
When it came to reimagining the employee experience, the general consensus amongst the room was that, first and foremost, organisations needed to work out how to convince people to 'self-serve' and what the employee experience actually meant to them. There were a variety of arguments around how to approach this from being flexible to looking at how we use technology, to assessing what success truly means and how to measure it?
- Moving from employee engagement to employee experience
Historically, organisations have focused on employee engagement, with modern businesses looking more towards employee experience. However, attendees agreed that, although different in their approach, modern businesses need to combine both employee experience and engagement to help completely reimagine the process and experience. For this to happen organisations need to be simple, transparent and fair in how they build and communicate the model.
Adaptability and flexibility are often underrated in processes like this, but for the model to work throughout a whole organisation, it must be incredibly flexible and adaptable.
- Technology as an enabler
The focus on technology in this area, with organisations trying to find the right blend of best of breed applications and still deliver a unified employee experience, is a common problem with HR transformation. The attendees discussed how technology itself is not the answer, but is an enabler. Although they understood the importance of technology, attendees agreed that to deliver a service, you’ve got to touch the people that do the service first, and technology will never truly engage you at work (like a new social media app does). The different HR conversations need a bit more exploration in this area to allow them to provide a functioning service that understands the employees of the organisation and has learnt from the past. Therefore, technology plays an integral part as the enabler to change, but technology should merely focus on how you deliver a great HR service, not on being front and centre of the function.
- User experience
Organisations need to build the experience behind the scenes, thinking about the different ways in which people interact, ensuring that the experience is as efficient as possible for the user. Employee experience, in itself, drives engagement and chatbots can become your first point of call in this area for long-term efficiency, but the biggest issue that the attendees agreed on in this space was about the quality of the data being used to drive employee experience and transform HR.
The conversation then progressed to looking at what success means in the capacity of HR Transformation, focusing on what is used as a measure of success for something intangible and ever-changing. HR Transformation, and all transformation for that matter, is impacted by communication and the ability of the project team to successfully market their programme to the rest of the organisation to ensure product adoption in the long-term. From this, the room proceeded to look at the importance of agility and project champions during times of change.
Concluding this part of the conversation, the attendees focused on the importance of changing the narrative about what is successful and what success means when it comes to HR Transformation and employee experience, highlighting the role of leaders that are bought in and how they can help change the perspective of the organisation.
Embedding HR Digitalisation?
In a business environment where the only constant is change, adapting to new, more adaptable and digital ways of working are integral to both success and survival. Digitalisation within HR is integral in business today, as HR tends to be process driven with a vast amount of 'Red Tape' that makes any form of transformation slow. Having discussed this, attendees continued to acknowledge how, skills and the ability to embrace technology aren't the problem, the people are... The way we learn and adapt is incredibly difficult to manage when trying to transform. To overcome this, attendees discussed how giving people the right platform to express themselves freely (especially when it comes to change) is integral to encouraging communication, which in turn, can improve understanding.
Taking this into account, the main focus for implementing HR digitalisation was a clear, concise and well understood vision, statement and steps for how to get there, which can be openly communicated throughout the organisation to improve buy-in. Furthermore, HR digitalisation needs to focus on how it can improve the employee experience (as well as their engagement), meeting their expectations as best it can, as there seems to be an enormous disconnect between expectation and experience.
Case Studying Delivery?
This part of the discussion was impassioned as it looked at what real organisations had done in the way of conducting HR Transformation and what the triggers for these projects were, their successes and their pitfalls. The main focus amongst attendees in this part of the conversation was on how to get people onboard for the long-term change, focusing on the difference between a 'big bang' style implementation and incremental changes.
Attendees agreed that the main reason for HR Transformation was as a result of your employee experience and their feedback on this (throughout their organisational lifetime), concentrating on how to create long-term engagement and how to change your environment and organisational culture to accommodate this change.
In short, the attendees agreed that transformation is always a matter of attempting to improve processes and systems that are already there, but aren't working to their full capacity, but when it comes to HR it is slightly different, with the ultimate goal being to connect transformation with the way in which an organisation manages it's people. The general consensus amongst attendees was the future of HR will be increasingly digital, but will focus on multiple systems that can work together to provide one seamless employee experience, as opposed to one system that attempts to do everything.
From this it was concluded that HT isn't HR anymore, it is a 'Jack of all trades' managing how to embrace technology in the best way for the people, and then how to market this to appeal to the people in the long-term, combining functions and their abilities to help organisations succeed in the long-term. For the future, success in HR will be when people don't realise that they are even engaging with HR and when 'transformation' is no longer needed, as transformation is problematic in the essence that it implies there is a final end form of being 'transformed'.
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This event write-up is exclusive to The Business Transformation Network.