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What lies beneath—the digital transformation of HR


Everybody knows that digital transformation can radically shape new business models and optimal ways of working. But what you perhaps didn’t know is that Digital can also transform your business from the initial concept of a global system to the execution of local HR administration and adoption across the board by your employees, managers, and HR professionals.

But does that mean a Human Capital System (HCM) provides the answer to all needs, in all circumstances? Not always, no.

The iceberg effect

While digitizing, integrating, and streamlining business practices can make a huge difference to the management of talent, payroll, general HR administration, and more, there are some areas of the HR process that digitization can’t easily reach. I call it the iceberg effect—we can see many of the benefits of digital transformation, but there’s still plenty beneath the surface that remains relatively inaccessible.

Take contingency workers. Many organizations need to hire people on a seasonal basis or for projects, across different countries and jurisdictions—sometimes thousands on a single day that have to be paid the very next day.  In many cases, these are people whose work doesn’t make them easily contactable via digital means.

Not all employees have access to a laptop or mobile at work—those in manufacturing, mining, and retail are often “offline” and unconnected from the technology we naturally think of in an implementation. They’re not sitting in front of computer screens or using handheld devices, and for many, may even be actively discouraged from using laptops and smartphones.

In a nutshell, how do you communicate at scale with people for whom technology is not an integral part of their work? As an employer, you may have spent time developing fabulous HR practices to administer, engage, and empower your employees—but they’re not going to self-serve in large numbers if they don’t have a ready means of access.

Customer-driven principles

To find a solution, organizations need to approach the issue from the opposite direction. Just as successful online consumer marketing strategies don’t start with functionality, neither does HR. Digital starts with developing an understanding of the customer experience. HR practitioners and service providers need to think about the daily practices of the people they are trying to reach.

If people are doing shifts on a shop floor, in a factory or mine, what are their touchpoints—in other words, the moments in their day when they’re in contact with the administrative function? Answers to this question might include:

  • When they’re clocking in at the start of their shift.
  • When supervisors call team meetings to allocate tasks for the day.
  • When they’re being paid.
  • When they’re signing out at the end of their shift.
  • In retail, when they’re logging on or off at a point-of-sale terminal.

All such occasions provide opportunities for contact and communication—leveraging the response channels and response levels that best match the needs and circumstances of the employees involved.

Fulfilling the digital transformation promise

The benefits to maintaining smart contact with offline workers are many:

  • It makes everyone visible and part of the wider team.
  • It can improve employee satisfaction…
  • … and increase productivity, by simplifying access to information that might otherwise take up time for offline employees.
  • It streamlines communications and plugs gaps…
  • … and enables you to make best use of your workforce.
  • It can reduce HR service desk costs by 25–30%.
  • It demonstrates your duty of care.

What’s more, it establishes a consistent, enterprise-wide model.

It’s often said that digital transformation is, or ought to be, customer-driven. In HR, the customers aren’t just external, but also internal—your people. If you really want to optimize HR administration and the adoption of day-to-day administration, engagement, and empowerment through digital transformation, you need to treat your unconnected employees as customers.

At Capgemini, we’ve spent some time addressing this challenge, and we’ll be discussing it in a webinar entitled “Digital for the Unconnected Employee.” Everybody likes to feel valued, and in the webinar, we look at how organizations can make that happen, while also improving their processes.

Register for our “Digital for the Unconnected Employee” webinar, and learn how Capgemini and SumTotal’s HR management solution enables your employees to stay connected and well-informed via biometric scanning devices and multimedia kiosks on the factory floor.

To find out more about how Capgemini’s Digital Employee Operations can narrow the engagement gap for your unconnected workers, contact:

Click here to learn more about how Capgemini’s Digital Employee Operations can improve your HR function and employee satisfaction.

About the authors:

Chantelle Brandt Larsen is a tech-savvy thought leader with over 17 years experience in organization development (OD). She is passionate about the power of technology and mindset in changing business models and operations. She has successfully designed and executed multiple OD solutions across a range of businesses.