Digital transformation: the importance of human resources

Digital transformation: the importance of human resources

The digital transformation forces companies to compete like in a car race: the fastest pilots, those who innovate better, get the pole position, and the others cannot but try to keep up and, in possible, overtake and lap the competitors. How? The latest survey issued by Prophet provides some suggestions to brands which are facing this challenge. The report entitled “Catalysts: The Cultural Levers of Growth in the Digital Age” focuses on one point especially: the digital transformation shall be driven, first of all, by a cultural transformation affecting not only organizations but also their customers.  This is the only way to make such change efficient, by coherently and logically turning theory into practice even when facing strategic changes of plan.  The final target to be achieved is the same for everybody: growth.

The first step recommended by Prophet consists in working out some basic principles to be used as guidelines while making the digital transformation leaner and more effective, considering that, in the average, the whole process takes 2/3 years to be accomplished.

The talent strategy

If the first thing to do is not to lose one’s way along the journey, the biggest mistake would be thinking, or even worst, believing, that it would be enough to replace half the human resources of a company to make the transformation fast and easy. On the contrary, brands had better deploy what the experts call the “talent strategy” or  “empowerment”. Replacing substitution with freedom. Which means, allowing staff more room to maneouvre, so that they can experiment and find new ways to work under the same flag: cooperation. And we are talking about collaboration not only among staff members, but also different business units and managers and employees.  (5 things business leaders can do right now to speed digital transformation).

Another precious piece of advice concerns the choice of the best ideas. Senior staff members don’t always come up with winning strategies. Actually, due to the growing importance of the so called user experience and considering how fast the market has been changing in recent years, increasing attention should be paid to people working in contact with the public, the ones operating in the forefront to understand customers’ needs and collect their complaints, those who, better than anyone else, know exactly what is needed and what is not and should therefore be fully involved in the digital transformation process.

Requalification: a priority

According to the Global Talent Trends 2019 issued by Mercer, 75% of employees are expected to keep on working after they have turned 65. Thus, companies tend to have two different types of employees: the young, unexperienced ones, and the over 65 with a lot of experience but few or no technological skills at all. Harmonizing the whole lot is crucial, as well as exploiting talents as much as possible. And this can be achieved only through training, i.e. upskilling and reskilling staff. And business leaders have become aware of this, to the point that staff requalification now ranks third or first among priorities, depending on the sector. Such need is particularly urgent for older people, the ones whose jobs, in 50% of cases, may be carried out by robots, by computers or AI devices.
Once again, freedom is key: employees should be free to contribute to the digital transformation, and should also be proactive so as not to passively undergo such transition. This will clearly increase motivation, too. And motivation is fundamental in every job.

In short, business growth cannot be achieved regardless of employees.  There is no system which may be imposed from the top without taking human resources into consideration. Staff must be motivated to grow and to cooperate at any level. And success stories prove this: companies whose staff members work as a team, actively contributing to the growth of the whole organization, have actually improved.

How would you enhance human resources and what would you change/innovate in the name of a correct digital transformation? Tweet  @agostinellialdo.

To find out more about the digital world, you may read my latest book entitled: “People Are Media” 

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