The urgency for HR to become digital leaders is growing, but few have the confidence to take charge.
If you’re still wrestling with how to harness technology and digital change, you’re not alone. A recent survey of 1,200 global HR executives suggests there is a huge gap between action and indecision. However, survey authors suggest that a “wait-and-see” approach to digitalization is risky at best and has the potential to leave stragglers in the dust. They say, “The trailblazers are exploiting uncertainty and doubt as a critical opportunity to drive new competitive advantage and leap ahead of the pack.”
Among the survey’s findings:
· About two-thirds of respondents say they agree that HR has undergone or is undergoing a digital transformation, but only 40% say they have a digital workplan in place.
· Nearly three-quarters of HR leaders recognize the need for workforce transformation, but only 37% feel very confident about HR’s ability to move forward with key capabilities such as analytics and artificial intelligence (AI).
· Nearly half of respondents say that workplace culture is a top barrier to digital transformation, and 35% say their current culture is more task-oriented than innovative or experimental.
· Despite studies documenting the value of data in delivering insights and enhanced decision-making, only 20% of respondents say that analytics will be a primary HR initiative for them over the next 1-2 years. Only 12% cite analytics as a top management concern.
· According to respondents, the highest spending in recent years has been for cloud and human capital management software. In the next year or two, 60% are planning investments in predictive analytics, 53% in enhanced process automation, and 47% in AI.
· Those companies that are ahead of the curve on AI and machine learning say that this can drive significant value for HR; but only 36% of HR functions have introduced AI to date and just 14% have invested in this technology in the past two years.
· Among those who have invested in AI to date, 88% call the investment worthwhile.
· Half of respondents say that they are “not at all prepared” to respond strategically as the pressure grows to use AI and machine learning.
While most HR leaders see the value of technology, many feel stifled. While 39% of HR leaders are confident in their ability to transform the workforce and 37% are very confident, 24% say they are less certain or not confident at all. These individuals share some common concerns and characteristics. They say HR is not seen as a value-drive, they aren’t using predictive insights, they are timid about AL, and they have no digital plan in place. According to survey results, HR leaders see creating a new employee experience–or defining the right employee value propositions to match the needs of five generations in the workforce–as undervalued by senior management.
A forward-looking company, say survey authors, needs “not only modern employee-development programs but close attention to employee well-being, ongoing communication, and an ongoing desire to give more responsibility and accountability to younger employees using a modern ‘bottom-up’ approach and ‘reverse mentoring.’”