HR Helping the Business Win … in a disruptive digital world

Posted by Arthur Mazor, Amy Sobey Sanford, and Ken Kunkleman on June 22, 2018.

Traditionally, HR has worked alongside the business to enable business strategy and accomplish objectives. To be effective today, organizations need to move toward a more integrated approach where HR leads the business to identify and solve real human capital issues.[i]

In the midst of massive disruption that is impacting business and workforce, HR is challenged to meet the demands on both sides. Businesses are focused on critical human capital issues like the future of work, the workforce’s increasing expectation for an irresistible employee experience, and achieving digital maturity. Despite progress over the last decade, many HR organizations don’t feel like they are keeping up with these business challenges. Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends research found that only 36 percent of HR teams believe that their capabilities are good or excellent.[ii]

Succeeding in this disruptive environment requires a new approach to managing human capital and driving performance, one where HR takes the lead. Is your HR organization up the challenge? Let’s take a look at how one company used this approach to address digital disruption and stay ahead of its competition.

On the front lines: An HR Strategy case study

Facing the significant disruption in their industry and markets, a large financial services company recently needed to rethink and craft its business-driven HR strategy. Business and HR leaders came together for a two-day, comprehensive strategy session to achieve this goal. The group started by examining the critical business issues related to the workforce and workplace. One of the most prominent of those issues was the need to become a more digital organization that can better attract, engage, and retain customers and stay ahead of strong competition.

The next step was to define how HR would lead the business in creating the human capital solutions required in the world of dynamic and rapid changes. The move to a more digital enterprise would call for implementing the right technologies, yet first it would require a shift in the way the business and workforce operate and behave; this was a human capital issue at its core.

To define HR’s role, the group worked through a series of strategic choices, such as:

  • What are the capabilities the company and HR needs to achieve these results?
  • How could HR innovate its solutions and offerings to develop the capabilities of a digital workforce that anticipates the combination of employees – and workers from non-employee sources?
  • What investments should HR prioritize to facilitate the shift to an agile and digital workforce?

Through this collaborative effort, the business and HR leaders determined they would need to evolve talent and operational efficiency for a digital world. For example, they would need to focus on talent acquisition and the future composition of their workforce if the organization wanted to engage with customers in new ways. HR would also prioritize learning & development to equip the workforce with the knowledge and tools and transform their work. These choices would help guide shifts to HR solutions, policies, tools, and programs to drive the organization’s shift to become a digital enterprise.

At the end of the strategy session, the group defined three high-priority initiatives that HR would lead to create a more digital workforce and, ultimately, a more digital organization:

  • Driving development of the enterprise digital vision and enabling the transition to a digital mind-set to deliver a culture of agility, smart risk- taking, and continuous innovation
  • Delivering HR programs and services tailored to the distinct segments of the workforce to provide a holistic end-to-end HR customer experience
  • Leveraging digital technologies to drive automation and enable self-service, social collaboration, and digital ways of working

The digital future is now and marketplace disruption is only accelerating. Leading organizations know that human capital is a valuable asset to developing sustainable solutions for the issues impacting their workforce. In fact, 51 percent of companies are already in the process of redesigning their organizations to achieve digital business models.[iii]

The right approach is clear: To make significant and timely progress, HR must be at the table with the business making informed, strategic choices about where HR will lead and how the business and HR together will deliver on the business strategy.

Are you activating your digital enterprise?

Arthur Mazor is a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, Deloitte’s Human Capital practice digital leader and the global practice leader for HR Strategy & Employee Experience. Art collaborates with complex, global clients to drive business value through transforming Human Capital strategies, programs, and services. He is the firm’s thought leader in activating digital enterprises, setting people & HR transformation strategies, and achieving High-Impact HR.
Amy Sobey Sanford is a specialist leader with Deloitte Consulting LLP’s HR Strategy & Employee Experience solution. She works with large organizations to guide business-driven, complex, global HR transformation.
Ken Kunkleman is a managing director in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital HR Transformation practice and HR Strategy & Employee Experience solution. His areas of focus include HR strategy, HR transformation, HR service delivery, and the people dimensions of transformations.

The authors would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions to this post: Dupe Babatunde, Hannah Keenan, Jessica Simon, Julie Kim, and Sam Yarnis..

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