Digital transformation is not just about technology: it is about making radical changes to the way we work and how we view the intersection between people and technology. Speaking at People Matters TechHR SEA, Leapgen CEO and co-founder Jason Averbook shared how this entails understanding a 'whole-person approach'—an approach that involves taking into account the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual components of how people operate.
Designing for the persona
In a hybrid work model, said Averbook, we are no longer as concerned with the physical aspect of where someone is working. Instead, aspects such as the emotional—whether they are happy—and the social, whether they are able to connect in their preferred way. There is the spiritual component, meaning their values and purpose at work; and there is the intellectual component, which is about whether they can continue to grow.
“When we think about the whole person, we look at personas,” he said. “Personas are not job codes. Personas are the attributes that make up how a worker works, what are their frustrations, what are their needs, what are their voices, what are their goals, what are their barriers. If you understand this, you can design for them. If you don't understand this, you're taking a stab in the wind and hoping that you're meeting the employee where they are.”
The digital equation for success
Going digital involves aligning four components with the organisational purpose: the mindset, the person, the journey, and the solution. And in Averbook's view, the solution is actually the last and smallest of the four.
In comparison, the mindset or vision is the most important, derived from and shaped by the purpose. Following on that is the ability to understand the person or the audience, which in HR's case is the employee. “What are they looking for?” he asked HR professionals to consider. “How do we make sure they're bringing their best selves to work?”
The third component is about how processes are working, and more importantly, how the journey feels to employees and managers. And only then, with everything else in place, then HR leaders can pick the technology and implement it to fuel their strategy.
“But if I don't do anything else except pick for technology, my chances of success and alignment to mindset, measures of success, and purpose are really small,” he warned. “Putting too much weight on technology alone does not change anything. But these four components are what changes organisations.”
Once in place, keep improving things
Finally, Averbook cautioned against the common pitfall of using technological implementation and deployment as a measurement of success, especially when it comes to employee experience. “These are not projects. These are continuous improvement initiatives,” he pointed out. “Experience is not just a user interface. We have to not just automate, we have to 'humanate' by realising that.”
Most importantly, he said, digital—or other—solutions have to be constantly maintained, adjusted, and updated for the times.
“At the end of the day, we must treat our solutions like pets, not like rocks. We can't just put them down—we have to walk them, water them, love them, take care of them, and we have to train them to the world of technology today.”