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Why Successful Digital Adoption Begins with HR

17th Feb 2020
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As arbiters of company culture and vision, HR departments are the heart and soul of any successful organizational transformation. This is especially true when it comes to digital adoption since there is so much resistance to digital disruptions within businesses.

Humans tend to be resistant to change in general, but they can be particularly daunted by the feelings of powerlessness and destabilization that comes with learning new processes in the workplace. And if the new processes give rise to insecurities about technical abilities, a diplomatic and digitally savvy HR department can be tremendously helpful in greasing the wheels of change to help facilitate a smooth transformation.

The Changing Role of HR

Once upon a time, the primary duties of HR departments were largely administrative. HR handled the details around hiring and onboarding, new employees, administering benefits and payroll, as well as other important but nonetheless behind-the-scenes responsibilities.

These responsibilities still stand, but the role of HR has been steadily evolving over the last thirty years. Today, the quiet department formerly tasked with mostly behind-the-scenes, admin duties has become far more visible and proactive.

HR today drives company culture by working with each department to holistically apply its larger organizational vision throughout all its operations.

What Exactly is Meant by “Digital Adoption?”

One of the foremost goals of HR in shaping a dynamic and engaging workplace culture is to attract and retain the best talent.

A culture of ongoing learning and digital adoption is a stellar means of attracting top talent. It refers to so much more than just the actual, physical transition to digital systems. It means mastery and fluency. It means embracing these new systems so completely and using all of their tools to such an excellent advantage that every last bit of their potential is realized, for each employee and for the organization as a whole.

When employees learn new and transferrable technologies, it adds years of marketability to their careers. This makes the prospect of learning new skills highly attractive to potential hires; Millennials, in particular, are the current largest generation in the workforce.

How HR Departments Can Drive Digital Adoptions

The traditional HR role of go-between among management and staff becomes transformative when applied to employee training for digital adoption solutions. Here a few important ways HR can help ease the process of digital adoption for any large organization:

• HR can get the whole company involved by actively encouraging feedback as well as brainstorming between management and their teams. They can also create a forum for employees to talk openly about current obstacles and frustrations, so the organization as a whole can work towards overcoming these hurdles and smoothing out processes via the upcoming digital adoption.

If an open feedback system seems like a stretch, HR can institute an anonymous feedback system, which may enable those who aren’t comfortable sharing suggestions openly to also participate in the brainstorming.

When the whole company is involved in the planning from inception through implementation, everyone feels empowered—and like valued, contributing members of the company community. The best way to keep employees fully engaged in the adoption process is to involve them so that they feel like an integral part of it.

• HR can “market” the advantages of the adoption to the organization from the top down, engaging all departments by helping them to view their participation in an integrative way. Clearly communicating goals and incentivizing employees to use the new system to meet those goals keeps employees excited about the transition and gives productivity a boost.

• HR can be instrumental in conveying to employees the deeper meanings and goals behind the adoption. How will this adoption make their jobs easier? How will it move the organization forward as a whole?

When everyone in the company understands why they are doing what they’re doing, digital adoptions go more smoothly. After employees have given their initial feedback, HR can use this feedback to work with company leaders in coming up with concrete goals for the adoption.

When goals are determined and communicated to employees, it gives everyone a sense of having contributed. For Arthur in sales, seeing that his suggestion has been taken to heart and that solving one of his pain points is a goal of the upcoming digital adoption, he will be fully engaged and onboard throughout the process.

• HR can monitor training progress. To ensure a smooth transition, ongoing monitoring of the employee training process is key. Regular check-ins with HR to make sure learning is on-track and employees aren’t becoming overwhelmed between work and training can keep organizations on schedule to accomplish all of their adoption-related goals.

It’s equally important for the monitoring to continue after the implementation is complete to ensure the continued success of the adoption. By continuing to monitor KPIs pertinent to company goals, it’s possible to quickly correct course if some aspect of the new system isn’t performing as projected.

HR Leadership is the Obvious Choice for Digital Adoptions

Since HR has access to the systems and information of every department in an organization, it’s the obvious choice to lead large transformative changes. This is the department that all other departments look to for guidance in coordinating companywide efforts of any kind.

When HR takes the lead in managing and coordinating the digital adoption process it takes the pressure off of the rest of the company so that they can immerse themselves in training and begin using their new digital systems to meet the larger goals of the company as soon as possible.

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