The digital age

Perspectives

The changing role of people management in the digital age

Digital has been a driving force of change across industries; and the transformation is accelerating – it took five years for Apple to transform the music industry while Uber and Airbnb profoundly reshaped the transportation and hospitality sectors in less than two years. One can measure the pace of digital disruption in months while it takes years for an organization and its people to fully embrace such fundamental changes in the way they operate. Change management is by far the most enduring bottleneck to digital transformation. While technology adoption continues to be top of mind in all digital things, we advocate in this point of view that fundamental changes in leadership and talent attributes are far more critical to successfully embark in the digital journey.

The three main areas that HR needs to acquire or strengthen its role in and that are directly related to the success of the digital transformation journey, are outlined below:

  • Re-structuring the organization to enable the digital transformation: Prior to initiating the transformation, the leadership team in any organization must align its thought as to what digital means to the organization and how it will fit into the overall business model.
  • Embracing the digital talent lifecycle: The talent plan should be directly linked to the digital strategy of the organization supporting HR in filling the gap between current and future digital competencies.
  • Empowering digital leadership: Digital leaders play a critical role in paving the way for the digital transformation and should heavily engage and communicate with key stakeholders (whether internal or external to the organization) in deciding, designing and delivering the digital organization.
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