Many HR departments have already taken important steps towards digitization. That’s a good thing, because it has already contributed to a significant increase in efficiency. What has to change when it comes to digitization is the direction and the pace.

At the beginning of digitization, companies focused solely on personnel administration. Users and those affected by these new IT solutions were primarily the employees in the HR departments themselves. Aspects such as an increasingly tense labor market situation or the continuous and rapid change in tasks and job descriptions now require companies to make a cultural change. Companies need to find employees with the right skills and mindset, retain them, encourage engagement and lifelong learning – while also meeting rising expectations of mobility and flexibility. The challenges to HR and HR digitization go far beyond the efficient administration of personnel data.

From HR managers to HR strategists

Many of the issues associated with social and economic change must be managed by HR. For HR managers, digitization is accompanied by a change in their own role and orientation. It is important to fully exploit the potential for your own area. It must be possible to use HR technologies to optimize the use of existing resources and to focus released resources more on strategic tasks. HR managers are more and more HR strategists who actively control cultural change and make an even greater value contribution to sustainable corporate success.

“In the future, 32% of jobs could change radically.”
The Future of Work, OECD Employment Outlook

What can that look like in concrete terms? One approach, for example, is to focus more on organizational and personnel development. This includes the further development of organizational and management structures with professional change management – as well as the design of cultural change with a view to agility, continuous learning and (digital) leadership skills. If digitization is properly thought of, it is aligned with corporate and HR goals and serves to achieve them even more effectively and efficiently.

In the end everyone benefits

There are already many technologies for HR to address the current challenges. In addition to HR, the main focus is on employees and managers as users and beneficiaries. Last but not least, modern technologies as such contribute to attracting younger generations of employees in particular to the company through state-of-the-art solutions.

Some examples:

  • Optimize use of resources – with cloud technologies and standard processes:
    Cloud technologies such as SAP SuccessFactors with standard processes based on best practice approaches enable the fast, flexible, cost-effective and scalable digitization of HR processes. Managers and HR benefit from simple processes and use real-time data and evaluations for well-founded management decisions.
  • Finding employees – with automation through bot and AI technologies as well as digital networks:
    Candidates receive automated just-in-time help from chatbots on the application platform for a smooth application process. Self-learning AI technologies help to find other suitable candidates. On the basis of previous application processes, they match profiles and skills with all vacant positions. In addition, HR managers can address large pools of potential candidates by linking the company’s internal recruiting platform to digital networks (such as LinkedIn, Xing, Monster or StepStone).
  • Engage and retain employees – through collaboration and feedback tools:
    Employees use collaboration tools to network with other colleagues, share their knowledge and, if necessary, can access information on relevant topics themselves at any time. Feedback tools encourage employees to share their opinions about companies and processes – valuable feedback from which companies can derive meaningful measures.
  • Develop employees – with learning platforms and transparent career options:
    Modern learning platforms enable employees even more than before to actively control their own further development. Internal company portals are also well suited to openly communicating career options or vacant internal positions.

Conclusion: Use the opportunities

As a driver for a digitization culture, HR gains the opportunity to redefine its own role and to align itself much more strategically than before. Due to the rapidly changing external conditions, it is advisable not to wait any longer, but to actively shape the internal digital change. Whether flexible cloud solutions, interactive chatbots or e-learning – there are many ways to use new HR technologies. HR managers should define the overall picture of their HR digitization and the next steps based on their corporate and HR goals. Ultimately, however, a successful change can only succeed if it is also supported and driven by the management.

HR digitization with CONET

With CONET’s HR digitization consulting, you benefit from our many years of experience in the HCM area with numerous well-known and satisfied customers.

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This article originally appeared in Personalwirtschaft.

Imke Niehaus is Head of Human Capital Management at CONET Business Consultants GmbH with a focus on SAP SuccessFactors.


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