Why HR Should Drive Your Digital Workplace

What does the digital workplace mean to your organisation? Perhaps its primary purpose is to enable remote work and improve the employee experience. Or maybe it’s supporting your wider digital transformation strategy. Either way, whilst technology might be the enabler of the digital workplace, it’s your employees that are at its heart. 

Fundamental to the future of work and the alignment of technology with teams is your HR department. HR professionals are vital to creating engaging, inclusive, and productive work environments for your staff, so it follows that they should be driving your digital work initiatives. Digitalising HR processes will play a key part in this, as we explore below.

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Why is digital important for HR?

If the digital revolution is about people and processes, then HR leaders should be in the driving seat. And if your organisation intends to respond by becoming more agile and flexible, allowing cross-disciplinary teams to drive forward innovation, then you need to create a digital workplace that boosts employee engagement.

Innovation in the workplace empowers employees to adopt best practice in a culture of trust, where what gets done is more important than where it’s done. And happier and more motivated employees are more productive – by simply adopting an intranet with enterprise social network features, your business could see a 15% uptick in productivity. 

Aligning the employee experience with consumerised IT and organisational goals makes the team the ultimate unit of productivity, and HR teams have the experience to create optimal teams to leverage the best possible outcomes.

Digitalising HR: What does it mean?

As the digital workplace moves the workforce away from stepped hierarchies to an interconnected web of multidisciplinary teams, and human resource departments drive the processes of productivity, HR professionals will begin to move away from a focus on their core business of compliance, governance, and administration. 

Automating manual processes and paper forms, as well as moving towards a self-serve culture for basic HR processes like booking annual leave, will free up your human resources team’s time. Liberated by digitised processes and HR tech, HR professionals can assume a leadership role in creating the structures and tools for a fully collaborative and empowering digital workplace.

Where HR teams have often looked to IT to implement technology in the ‘technology first’ digital workplace, they will now need to assume the responsibility for assessing and incorporating tools where they are the means by which the workforce are empowered to do better business. And HR functions will have an increasing role in analysing the data from those mobile collaborative tools to derive business actions that are not just meaningful but actionable.

That’s not to say that HR should make IT redundant; far from it. But as the greater workforce breaks out of its silos, HR leaders and IT teams need to examine the ways they can support each other to make decisions on HR digital transformation. This includes measuring if the digital workplace technology is fit for purpose to empower employees.

Incorporate L&D into your ​​digital HR strategy

The role of HR is changing as core functions adapt to the digital workplace. The modern HR professional is no longer a generalist waiting for employees to reach out but a proactive specialist in operational development, skills and talent management, and business advice.

Learning and development are no longer bolt-ons but necessary functions of empowerment, and the link between learning and performance is now firmly established. Digital tools have transformed the way that learning and development are designed, delivered, and implemented, allowing employees to enhance their knowledge quickly to deliver outcomes at speed.

If HR teams can incorporate L&D into their HR strategy, this will improve the employee experience, which in turn creates the stickiness that retains talent and differentiates your company from the rest of the pack.

The future of work

The nature of work is flipping from the drudgery of the work ethic to the opportunities for fulfilment in the digital workplace. HR has never had a greater opportunity to connect and inform employees than it does in the 21st century.

HR digital transformation creates a more connected workplace, with more focus on employee engagement as well as inclusive workplace activities and practices. HR must be ready to leverage the innovation and people analytics that flow out of the digital workplace and drive those ideas to execution.

If digital transformation is to achieve widespread adoption, then it needs to be about more than the digitisation of HR processes. HR technology must enable the trust that’s needed for flexible and remote working, promoting ways of working collaboratively and cooperatively for the benefit of a shared organisational culture.

The best digital workplaces are not about the technology itself but how it can create better employers and employees. And human resources teams should be at the heart of creating and nurturing working practices that drive the digital change.

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