HR going digital

Friday, 5. May 2017

By E. Simoni & D. Anastasopoulos, INTRASOFT International, Greece


In today's competitive corporate arena, an organization is only as innovative and successful as the talent it attracts and develops. By adding to this equation the emerging role of digital technology in almost every aspect of our lives, it becomes clear that a new digital era is about to take the lead. Latest cutting-edge technologies now allow Human Resources (HR) leaders to revolutionize the employee experience through new digital platforms, apps, and innovative ways of delivering HR services. This highlights the role of human resource executives, who are increasingly being called upon to serve as strategic partners and transformational leaders to their businesses, rather than procedural guards and document-routing coordinators.

Talent has gone digital

But why bother going digital?

First of all, new digital technologies enable higher integration and flexibility—allowing employees to have a louder voice, and enable them to create their own work experiences by giving them the tools and information they need to plan and develop their careers. This brings transparency into the corporate culture, structure, goals and objectives, so that each employee can continuously align to critical goals and objectives.

Moreover, both HR and business leaders have the opportunity to utilize cloud-based tools that offer them a more complete picture of the employee’s needs and potential. The ability for managers and HR professionals to capture huge amounts of data is increasingly important to derive insights and to drive strategy and services. Modern applications provide real-time interactive dashboards and integrated analytics. On top of that, digital HR boosts a corporate culture that emphasizes on talent management, is adaptable to the continuous market changes and seeks for new business opportunities.

Last but not least, cloud-based tools are cost effective as they relieve the company from running their own servers including the highly specialized personnel needed to administer it. Employees that manage their work lives through online services are more satisfied with their job, as flexible workplaces contribute to an increased work-life balance, and productivity. They can focus on activities that are of more of strategic value to their businesses instead of endless interface processes and document routing.

Digital HR and the Cloud

Following this digital trend and trying to optimize the potential of digital learning and career development DEVELOP makes a strong statement with a highly interactive cloud application that aims to deliver an adaptive learning environment that dynamically tailors the exploration, comprehension, and planning of learning opportunities and career paths. Based on transversal competencies reflection and social capital analysis, which are identified as key enablers of career development, DEVELOP will guide professionals in discovering optimal ways to align the company’s strategy and business goals with the employee’s potentials, career perspectives, and desires.

Taking into consideration the numerous benefits mentioned above it is time to legit for the leap towards the future of HR. But what are the steps towards this transformational future? Below are some tips and best practices on how to successfully design and implement digital HR applications as proposed by top consulting firms in the HR Transformation Business and experienced HR Managers.

Digital transformation is a significant change management project and thus people can either be a key driver or a barrier to adoption within the business, depending on their buy-in to the process. Therefore, the user experience is the most important criterion when any kind of choice is made. HR for HR doesn’t exist anymore. What HR managers need to do is to launch the new services as an easy to use offering that provides clear value, and to effectively communicate the benefits of the new solution. System design processes need to focus on analyzing employee needs and maximizing the user experience satisfaction in order to achieve the desired impact. In DEVELOP user requirements were gathered through careful analysis of end users’ needs. The user interface will be assessed by creating various use cases for each of the main user groups. It can be expected that such a carefully created system will lead to  stronger staff engagement and new processes will be implemented smoothly.


Like any major change management program, it is also important that HR processes and systems, such as learning and development, performance management, rewarding and recognition complement the wider strategic objectives of the business. Strategic goals and company vision should guide any change made so as to minimize complexity and confusion within the organization, and help build trust and support towards transformation and innovation. DEVELOP manages to integrate several HR processes as it takes into consideration performance evaluation outcomes imported into the system in order to assess transversal competencies and propose learning interventions, related to the career goal chosen by the employee. In order to achieve this effectively DEVELOP will take into consideration each employee’s Career Path Framework, Performance Management System, Learning and Development Policies and Competency Framework.

Furthermore, as digital transformation is a complex project, managers should consider an agile approach, rather than a non-reactive waterfall one. This can be brought to life by integrating the perspectives of HR, IT experts, employees and line managers. Agile methodology enables rapid development by integrated teams delivering prototypes and solutions in successive releases ensuring that all system stakeholders know about the development status, recognizing problems or changes in each area of impact to rapidly resolve them. Working by agile development methods DEVELOP involves various technical experts such as IT and Software specialists, researchers, HR professionals and end users in order to assure a flexible approach aligned to stakeholder’s needs. In the end the solution can be expected to fulfil the needs of both the organization and users.

According to Microsoft Australia’s MD Pip Marlow “Transformation is underpinned by a digital mindset that is a unique interplay of technology, people and process” and only by “adopting this mindset an organization can follow the path to digital transformation.”

Digital mindset

The new digital mindset can be built from a community of practice of early digital adopters in the company in professional areas, such as marketing, who share digital experiences and implementation insights across the company. Involving digitally experienced people in the transformational process can foster an enterprise’s digital mindset and capabilities. This aspect of transformation is probably the most complex one as change of mind-set and culture is an enormous challenge for every HR manager and it involves various change agents within the organization and has to be taken into serious consideration both at the stage of development and after launching an application. In the DEVELOP project group we try to learn from digital experts that share their previous experience in order to build this mindset and to pass it on to future users.

In addition, selling the transformation to internal customers (managers and employees) as an efficient tool that will maximize their productivity and develop them, involves providing them a solution that focuses on real-time access, decision-making, and immediate results that can be achieved by integrating analytics and reporting as part of any digital transformation. Specifically, platforms and applications that enable access to real-time information and trigger real-time analysis increase the time HR and business leaders can spend analyzing data and solving problems, instead of having to manually  create periodic reports. Therefore, the application needs to provide reports of high value and visual attractiveness. DEVELOP will provide a wide variety of valuable information  with interactive dashboards and data charts regarding competency profiles, social network analysis and career development progression, making the application attractive for managers, employees, and HR professionals .

It is finally time for HR to embrace digital innovation and DEVELOP gives you all the tools you need for this.