Article: What is digital HR leadership?


What is digital HR leadership?

Understand the role and skills of digital HR leaders in today’s business environment.
What is digital HR leadership?

A ‘Digital HR Leader’ is a transformation & change-oriented HR leader who can bridge the gap between digital experiences through technology and employee experience (EX) with a business-focused output. The business output would need to be defined by data and must lead to a revenue impact. Bear in mind, that today’s workforce is all about “work-life integration” and no more work-life balance. 

Optimizing workforce-related decisions involves a holistic view of the workforce and the intersection of HCM and finance data. Business leaders care more about business analytics than HR analytics; eg., the real cost of engagement, ROI of improving quality of talent, or investing more resources for skill-building. So, HR needs to be aware of the business side of things and take into account the factors that impact revenue. The role of a digital HR leader becomes even more critical in this context. 

What is the role of Digital HR Leaders?

  • Be worthy of technology assessment: Being aware of tech trends in the field of HR is essential. The world is turning digital, and HR cannot and should not stay behind. In other words, have the answers to questions like which processes are already digitized or automated; which tools and systems are being used, and to what extent do they meet the needs? 
  • Define the HR digital strategy: The digital strategy for HR is a detailed blueprint for the digital transformation. It describes where you need to go and how you will be getting there. Project management skills certainly help to define the project roadmap of the journey and designing an effective strategy. Digital HR Leadership is, thus, leveraging technology to enable employees to manage their personal and professional lives quickly and efficiently. It also means providing employees with tools that make them successful and happy(ier) at work.
  • Be a consulting HR partner: Understand employee and business needs to articulate individual journeys rather than define a policy to impose it downwards. This is a paradigm shift, and requires several technology tools; some companies are already moving ahead using this approach of personalization, wherein every employee is a customer, and the integration of AI in HR is leading to an increased EX while showcasing increased revenues. A necessity to deliver this would be a design thinking mindset, wherein the transformation never ends and is only a journey towards a swift and agile organization. Keep listening to your customers (employees) and keep prototyping solutions to stay in pace with the expectations.
  • Design a practical stakeholder management experience: Digital leaders need to get stakeholders, such as business leaders, solution providers, and corporate IT involved early on and actively manage them throughout the transformation process to enable a frictionless experience. 
  • Lead team transformation: HR needs to be in the loop to enable a smoother digital transformational journey and the process of re-skilling the workforce. Thus, hire individuals who are aware of and willing to upskill. Inspire them so that they understand how digital integration can improve employee journeys and HR processes.

What does it take to be a Digital HR Leader?

  • Business Savviness: Being aware of how to align HR strategy with business needs; this includes understanding how HR technologies can drive greater business value.
  • Strategic Focus: Understanding how HR will change and anticipating future needs. Understanding business needs, knowing the business revenue lines, having market focus, and not being process or policy-centric. 
  • Change Management: Excellent communication and change management skills are indispensable; you need to understand how and when to manage different stakeholders.
  • Tech Savviness: As the Digital HR Leader, you will need to have a detailed and up-to-date overview of the HR tech landscape. You must be curious and should be able to learn quickly about how new technologies work. 

As technology keeps advancing, digital transformation aims to create an agile organization that is ready to evolve. The absence of this agility can be one of the reasons why a digital transformation strategy could fail. Digital and organizational agility can prepare yourself and your team to remain engaged, be aware, and skill yourselves in this process. As HR picks up the baton of digital transformation, being aware of the latest technology and trends can go a long way in easing into the change. 

Finally, digital HR is about innovating existing HR practices as well. So to understand how HR can add value to the business, you will have to know how HR and technology works. Thus, to cultivate digital agility, leaders need to dive deeper into understanding how HR operational processes and roll up your sleeves to know how their teams work.


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Topics: Leadership, #LeadTheWay, #GuestArticle

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