Personas@Telekom: Accelerating Digital Disruption

Posted by Jeff Mike on July 9, 2018.

One of the best parts of my job as a researcher with Bersin is the opportunity to engage with the most innovative HR leaders in the world. The strategies and insights these leaders share help us create compelling stories of how HR has started to take the lead in driving digital transformation and shaping human-centered cultures in some of the most well-known and innovative companies around the globe.

One of these innovative HR leaders, Dr. Reza Moussavian1, is the SVP of the HR digital and innovation team at Deutsche Telekom. We featured Reza’s team in our High-Impact HR study2 as a primary example of how HR can lead digital transformation in large organizations. Deutsche Telekom’s HR digital and innovation designs and develops a people-centric, digital world of work, which is structured around four roles:

  • Understanding new technologies and experimenting with their application for HR purposes.
  • Questioning the status quo with disruptive thinking, radical innovation, and network-oriented collaboration.
  • Incubating and expediting HR innovations and solutions.
  • Building communication, people networks, and communities to promote new ways of working.

The anchor of digital transformation inside Deutsche Telekom is a strategy called “digital@work,” combining all the digitization efforts throughout the organization into an aligned set of targets, with a special focus on leveraging new ways of collaboration.

Personas@Telekom: A Lighthouse for Collaboration

As a follow-up to the feature in our High-Impact HR study, Reza and his team agreed to participate in an in-depth Bersin case study to share how they foster understanding and collaboration in the workplace through employee personas. I had the pleasure of working closely on this case study with Tina Riester3, senior expert in digital work and project lead of Personas@Telekom, who was a consummate collaborator herself throughout the development of the story.

Personas are powerful tools that enable marketers to “step into the shoes” of their target audiences. Personas are commonly used in marketing when designing and testing new products, helping marketers understand the needs and wants of a reality-based fictional customer, and learning how customers make purchase decisions. In HR, personas help employers to understand the needs, mindsets, and challenges facing its workforce while developing user-centric offerings intended to improve employee experience and productivity.

A focus on user-centricity was the impetus for Deutsche Telekom to create the employee personas. In the case study, we describe how the HR digital and innovation team worked closely with more than 500 employees throughout the organization to create 22 personas containing the different personal facts, characteristics, values, work styles, collaboration behaviors, digital mindsets, and future orientation representative of employees, both now and five years into the future. We also describe how leaders and teams at Deutsche Telekom apply the personas in various situations to inform the design of IT products and services, define requirements for future working spaces, and create target-group-specific measures for change management. The story closes with a description of how the HR digital and innovation team socialized the use of the employee personas across the organization, along with some important lessons learned for HR in developing and applying personas to their workforce.

The full case study, titled Deutsche Telekom Accelerates Digital Disruption with an Innovative Practice, is available on the Bersin website for a limited time. We invite you to download the study for yourself and take a closer look at an innovative practice that can empower a human-centric digital transformation and truly enable the practice of treating your workforce like customers.

Jeff MikeJeff Mike, Vice President, Human Resources Research Leader, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Jeff leads HR research for Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP. An expert in building the capabilities of corporate HR teams, Jeff transforms HR professionals from process-oriented practitioners into strategic partners who are able to compete in complex global talent markets. His ability to combine research with innovative development activities was honed through experience as a faculty member in human resources development at Al Akhawayn University in Morocco. Also former head of human capital at IMPAQ International, Jeff has a bachelor of arts in English literature from the University of Washington, a master of science in organizational development and strategic human resources from Johns Hopkins University, and a doctorate in human and organizational learning from The George Washington University.

1 Dr. Reza Moussavian
2 High-Impact HR, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP / Jeff Mike, 2017.
3 Tina Riester

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