To give full support to a newly digital workforce, HR needs to embrace digital technologies. Doing so is going to require a closer relationship between HR and IT and a better understanding on HR’s part of what digital can and cannot do.

The transformation agenda for HR is extensive and includes finding individuals with the skills needed to adapt and evolve quickly in a changing technological environment; customizing the employee experience; making training a core competency; and expanding the concept of the workforce to include internal and external talent.

To accomplish these objectives, HR needs to embrace digital technologies, including analytics, collaborative tools, social media and many other innovations.  This is going to require a closer relationship between HR and IT and better grasp on HR’s part of what digital can and cannot do.

Take analytics, for example.  Few HR organizations have a robust analytic capability, yet such a capability is essential if the firm is to provide customized benefits, tailored incentive programs or other elements of a personalized employee experience.   While companies have found it difficult to collect clean, consistent and integrated employee data, service-oriented architecture, data analytics, and master data management (MDM) of HR data technology can help companies gather and organize such information. Similarly, data on contingent workers can now also be more easily integrated into a single system to give employers a more complete view of all of the workers— internal and external talent alike—who are working in teams to complete projects.

HR and IT are also working together more closely to harness technologies such as gamification and social media to make learning a core competency for the organization.  Talent management software companies continue to add social and gaming functionality to their existing offerings, making training an anytime/anywhere activity and broadening the entire concept of learning on the job.

HR should be asking some key questions about their relationship with IT, including:

  • What is the current state of HR analytics? Does HR have access to the data and analytics skills and software needed to support a digital, liquid workforce?
  • Are collaboration tools and technologies in place to promote information sharing and training in new skills and behaviors?
  • Is HR looking at social media, gaming and other technologies to make training more effective and on-target?

As technology changes the kinds of people and the kinds of skills needed in the digital workforce, HR also finds its role changing.  I will discuss the evolution of financial services HR in my next blog.

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