Five digital transformation tips for HR

Digital transformation efforts can start from within your own department

Silhouette of a team with people icons overlaid representing digital HR

IT departments have long been the focus of digital transformation efforts, with business leaders expecting them both to innovate themselves, as well as drive transformation across other business departments.

But sometimes, other departments like finance, HR and marketing can be left behind in these initiatives, and can risk missing out on time-saving tools and software.

There are ways HR can drive digital transformation themselves without waiting for company-wide initiatives. Here are some tips to help take your HR operations digital, whilst ensuring compliance with company procedures.

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Get on board with the cloud

Moving systems and processes to the cloud can be an important first step in an organisation's digital transformation strategy, and this is certainly true when it comes to HR. It opens the door to enable flexible working, which is increasingly one of the most valued factors when employees are looking for jobs.

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The cloud can also help HR and people teams analyse global workforce data to spot trends and issues in advance, as well as understand what employees need.

In fact, there are many complete HR cloud software technologies available, which manage the complete core workflow of the department. Not all businesses require this level of system; sometimes, strategic systems for specific issues are more cost-efficient.

Automate routine processes

Conversations about automation tend to revolve around stealing jobs and making the need for humans redundant. But automation can actually be used to enhance the work we do if implemented in the right way, and may, in fact, end up creating more jobs than it eliminates.

Workload automation and job scheduling of routine tasks and processes frees up HR staff to focus on higher-value tasks. It can improve productivity, efficiency and reliability of staff by removing human errors, and ensuring jobs aren't forgotten, or run out of sequence.

Using automation in the hiring process can also help with reducing discrimination in HR. Talent insight software can analyse the workforce composition of a company, identifying areas where diversity may be an issue. There are also tools available to sift through applications automatically, identifying the best people to take to interview stage. 

Harness data and analytics

Artificial intelligence and automation are making analytics even more powerful, which in turn has benefits for HR departments. There's a current trend for IT and HR to work together on data projects, as companies are beginning to realise that growth is reliant on connecting people to the data they need to make decisions.

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Cloud human capital management (HCM) software can introduce effective tools, allowing for real-time feedback and deeper understanding with predictive analytics

Some of these data and analytics tools are giving rise to people analytics', which HR teams can use to do things like predict which of a company's top performers is most likely to leave, so preventative action can be taken.

Smart analytics are even starting to make waves in areas like workplace health. By harnessing the power of big data and smart analytics, some employers are identifying and anticipating the health needs of their employees, and putting the right infrastructure in place to support their continuing productivity.

These examples may seem a little extreme at present, but being able to gather and use good data can improve HR's understanding of the workforce, and help improve employee engagement by creating better experiences.

Go paperless

A key part of digital transformation is reducing the need for paper documents and workflows. Going paperless has a number of benefits for HR professionals, from reducing the time it takes to get offer and agreement letters signed, to speeding up the onboarding process. 

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Demonstrating that you have a technically sophisticated digital workflow from the very start will help with attracting the best candidates who want to work for agile and forward-thinking companies.

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However, transformations like this should be done alongside the IT department, as the company will need to evaluate how secure and compliant a new digital workflow is, especially when dealing with personal data.

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Collaborate across departments

When it comes to digital transformation, new processes, software and tools can benefit every department in a company. Collaborating with different parts of the business to find out what processes can be made better, and which ones are working well, can be a good way of finding ways of doing things that can work across multiple departments.

Even collaboration and communication within your own HR team can quickly bring to light frustrating tasks that can be improved by introducing digital processes. 

Creating a friendly and collaborative working environment is also important when undergoing digital transformation to ensure that less tech-savvy employees don't get left behind. If they feel able to ask for help and are encouraged to learn how to work with digital tools, this will be hugely beneficial for staff engagement and retention.

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