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Digital Transformation: the Chief HR Officer’s dilemma

People make digital transformation a success

Their ability to effectively adopt (and adapt) digital ways of working and technology drives sustainable competitive advantage. So how can a Chief HR Officer (CHRO) transform and motivate people to realise the benefits of digital for their organisation?  Here are a few ideas…

Workforce re-skilling or up-skilling

Across social media there is talk daily of new ways to deliver projects and services. “Waterfall” approaches in particular are being seen increasingly as too cumbersome and unresponsive for both B2C and B2B customers.

But that shouldn’t mean people who are skilled and experienced in such approaches no longer have value for an organisation. If anything, it’s not the fact they use “Waterfall” that counts, rather it’s their industrialised and tacit capabilities that delivers benefit. Furthermore, should these resources choose to exit an organisation en masse, it will probably be weakened severely (possibly in terminal decline) anyway.

Consequently, re-skilling and up-skilling activities (like training or mentoring) should be cognizant of the value every person brings to the organisation – no one gets left behind.

These activities are also vital at a time when potentially many people are feeling vulnerable because they feel their skills and experience no longer fit in a rapidly changing digital world. Yet it is their competency, performance and motivation that will make digital transformation successful.

Team risk organisational culture

Innovating products and services using digital confers competitive advantage. Agile’s philosophy of “fail fast, fail often” enables such innovation. To realise the benefits of Agile-enabled innovation requires people to have the confidence to fail and learn effectively from this iterative experience.

People should also feel they are not being blamed individually when innovation fails – for digital transformation to succeed (controlled) risk and reward must be shared by the whole team. Consequently it’s essential an organisation builds genuinely integrated business and IT teams that take risks together to maximise the opportunities for innovation. This cultural value is intrinsic to helping motivate people’s performance because individuals, teams and the organisation as a whole demonstrate that they care about the same things.

Always aim for better

In an environment where people are making grand claims about their digital transformation skills it’s essential to remember that trust and authority should not be assumed; it must be earned. This approach must come from the top of an organisation and also be a key factor when recruiting resources. Only when everyone in an organisation demonstrates thought leadership and commitment to digital will such transformation succeed.

If you would like to find out more about how digital transformation can benefit your business, please leave a reply below, or contact the Sopra Steria Digital Practice.

Published by

Mark Howard

Mark advises on user centric digital service design & transformation with a focus on tangible business benefits realisation. His passion is helping organisations to transform how their people use digital ways of working to interact with users to deliver an seamless, integrated customer experience. Mark’s recent private sector experience includes delivery of a mobile application prototype for a European business services company and advising a major UK high street retailer about using enterprise social media tools to drive competitiveness. Mark has 10+ years consultancy experience advising blue chip Telco, FMCG, Retail and Pharma clients as well as UK Central Government. Mark holds an MBA from Open University.