Digital HR has been saved
A new world for HR technology and design teams is on the horizon. Mobile and other technologies could allow HR leaders to revolutionize the employee experience through new digital platforms, apps, and ways of delivering HR services.
Create and download a custom PDF
Watch the related video
Explore the related infographic
The all-digital world is changing how we live, how we work, and how business is organized and conducted. For HR and business leaders, this digital transformation poses two fundamental challenges. First, HR can help business leaders and employees shift to a digital mind-set, a digital way of managing, organizing, and leading change. Second, HR has the opportunity to revolutionize the entire employee experience by transforming HR processes, systems, and the HR organization via new digital platforms, apps, and ways of delivering HR services. Our discussion of this trend focuses on the second part of the digital HR challenge: how to reimagine HR and the employee experience in a digital world.
The era of true digital disruption has finally hit HR, transforming the way HR delivers solutions to employees. With the founding of Workday in 2005, the acquisition of SuccessFactors by SAP in 2011, and the purchase of Taleo by Oracle in 2012, HR remains at the forefront of the move to digital and the cloud in the workplace. The barriers between work and personal life are dissolving through the use of mobile devices. Mobile has become the channel of preference for workers, giving organizations an opportunity to drive adoption of mobile HR technologies to an extent rarely seen with traditional HR platforms.
Imagine integrated apps that can manage time and attendance automatically; pinpoint every appointment and meeting location; deliver on-demand video learning to participants in a new project; send messages to a team when someone is running late for a meeting; monitor stress levels and recommend when it is time to take a break; and even review 401(k) plans and offer intelligent recommendations. This is the new vision for digital HR—integrating SMAC technologies to redefine the employee experience and make work easier, real-time, more productive, and more rewarding—while, we hope, improving work-life balance.
As discussed in the design thinking chapter, HR teams are now rethinking the way people work and adding digital tools to make these solutions better. The impact of design thinking may be most profoundly experienced with digital “appification.” Rather than building an onboarding system, a learning system, a performance management system, and a collaboration and coaching system, design thinking brings these solutions together in seamless apps that improve employee experiences across the board.
When these functions are moved to apps in a thoughtful way, HR can receive 10 times as many responses from employees compared to traditional systems.4 Employee productivity can improve. Data quality can rise. Unsurprisingly, leading companies across all industries are embracing this trend.
DuPont, for instance, embarked on a major project to replace, simplify, and combine all of its HR and learning systems into one integrated portal.5 Rather than offering a traditional “self-service” application, the company developed a streamlined interface that has improved productivity.
Telstra, one of Australia’s largest telecommunications companies, is using an app to transform its first-year employee experience. By using design thinking, studying the behavior and frustrations of first-year employees, and creating personas, Telstra developed an integrated onboarding program that dramatically improved employee engagement and retention.6
Despite impressive results at these and other companies, too many HR departments have yet to embrace this transformation. Today, only 7 percent of companies use mobile technology for coaching, 10 percent for performance management, 8 percent for time scheduling, 13 percent for recruiting and candidate management, and 21 percent for leave requests.7 The power of digital transformation is only beginning to emerge.
This new world of digital HR is arriving fast, but, according to this year’s survey, only 38 percent of companies are even thinking about it and only 9 percent are fully ready. Nearly three-quarters of companies, or 72 percent, believe this is an important priority and 32 percent define it as very important, so it will be a major area of opportunity for HR in 2016. (See figure 1 for our survey respondents’ ratings of digital HR’s importance across global regions and selected countries.)
Digital HR, however, is more than just building apps. It encompasses developing a new mobile platform with a wide range of apps built with cloud and analytics technology behind the scenes. This platform can be used for hundreds of apps: from time and attendance to employee wellness, to recruitment, collaboration, goal-setting, and more. The design is integrated, the user experience is location-aware, and integrated data are used to inform and make recommendations to users throughout the day.
The digital enterprise and digital HR are a revolutionary leap forward, not an incremental step.
Consider the difference between current HR service delivery models and digital HR, illustrated in figure 2, to understand how radical and profound the digital HR transformation will be.
Figure 2. Differences between current HR service delivery models and digital HR
|Current HR delivery
|Transactions and processes
|Integrated HR platform (policy, process, systems, operations)
|Systems with web browser access
|Paper-based forms moved to web forms
|Human-centered, experience-driven design
|SLAs (service level agreements)
|Real-time (once and done)
|HR (and shared) service centers
|Real-time interactive dashboards
|Integrated analytics platform and dashboards
This approach represents a completely new way of thinking about HR solutions. While the replacement of legacy systems into the cloud is a major part of the transition, so is the adoption of design thinking, integrated mobile app design, and real-time HR operations. The principles of behavioral economics, the use of analytics, and constant iteration on design also underpin these efforts. To succeed in this new paradigm, HR teams will likely have to partner with IT, adopt design thinking, use integrated analytics, and analyze vendor solutions carefully. It represents a new world for HR technology and design teams, one that will open up new career opportunities and transform the impact HR has on the business.
Reliance Jio, the 4G telecommunications and digital services company headquartered in Mumbai and owned by Reliance Industries, began its employee launch of digital telecom services in early 2016.8 The company’s vision is to provide video-quality digital mobile Internet service to 1.2 billion customers across all 29 states and 7 union territories within India. For several years, the company’s focus was on building out the network infrastructure; in late 2014, the focus turned to starting up the business operations and recruiting and onboarding employees across the country. As one of the largest start-ups in the world, Jio’s leadership crafted a strategy suited to the business’s growth, scale, and the current state of HR technology by designing a mobile-first, cloud-first, digital-powered approach to Jio’s HR strategy and launch.
The business goals for Jio are to build a national 4G network across 18,000 cities and towns in India to serve hundreds of millions of customers; deploy the largest start-up 4G network in the world; hire and manage a workforce of 50,000; and orchestrate a national network of hundreds of thousands of retailers and distributors.
From the start, the HR strategy was based on an employee value proposition to support candidates, employees, and business managers with an experience that would be easy to use, quick, and safe. The HR program was digital-first; it allowed recruiters, candidates, employees, business managers, and HR staff to complete HR tasks and reporting by leveraging real-time apps and secure, cloud-based services using mobile devices.
Second, all HR processes, policies, and technologies (including SAP and a series of cloud apps such as Salesforce.com) were integrated into an HR platform to support the apps, reporting, and HR operations.
Third, with the goal of end-to-end digitization and real-time HR, the company is challenging itself to eliminate its shared services organization. Core activities were automated and streamlined to be conducted, reviewed, and approved in hours (in some cases, minutes) and not days. The HR platform is being run by an HR operations center tasked with clearing all inquiries and exceptions on the day they are received while working with HR centers of excellence and HR IT to continuously improve the platform.
Further, the HR platform and HR operations center have been designed and built using an agile approach that included multiple releases of both the systems and operations center. This agile approach has enabled the HR process, policy, HR IT, and business teams to learn and build capabilities in the new digital HR environment.
HR’s digital transformation begins with a change of mind-set within the HR organization, prioritizing connectivity, real-time operations, platforms, automation, and mobile-first. For many organizations, both in HR and across the enterprise, this is a revolutionary opportunity. The digital HR journey focusing on the employee and HR experience is one part of the larger digital HR challenge: to answer the question, “How can HR play a role in developing the overall digital enterprise strategy, organization, and culture?”
Deloitte’s Human Capital professionals leverage research, analytics, and industry insights to help design and execute the HR, talent, leadership, organization, and change programs that enable business performance through people performance. Visit the “Human Capital” area of www.deloitte.com to learn more.