Clear Today; Cloudy Tomorrow

Angela Chammas, VP-Human Capital Strategy and Technology Planning, Sprint Corporation

Angela Chammas, VP-Human Capital Strategy and Technology Planning, Sprint Corporation

No one would deny that technology advances and new trends are reshaping and reinventing the workplace. Embracing new ways of working that include mobility, social media, collaborative workspaces and work-from-anywhere capabilities is the norm not the exception. These same trends create new opportunities for companies to leverage HR technologies, changing what and how employees work and engage with each other in today’s new workforce.

While HR has been seen more as the “people” side of an organization, its use of technology is what truly enables effective execution of human capital strategies that drive business success. Understanding and delivering the right HR technology enables companies to surge toward the new way work needs to get done.

As a trusted business advisor, and in order to effectively lead and implement new HR technology solutions that deliver new workplace capabilities, CHROs should embrace three actions:

Envision Today the New Way Work Gets Done Tomorrow

The way work is done today will be dramatically different in the future. In fact, many are saying if you recognize the workplace today, tomorrow, you missed the movement. In the new workplace, employees are choosing innovative ways to engage so enabling the right workforce capabilities with the right HR technologies is paramount. CHROs should be mindful that:

• The digital revolution will fundamentally shatter workplace boundaries giving more power to employees  

• Mobility, gamification, social engagement, and on-demand learning will enable continuous, anytime engagement and development

• Embedded data analytics will provide predefined models that can recommend learning/ development needs and identify talent based on experience, skills and roles

• Employees are expecting consumer-grade applications and user experience in the workplace

• Employees believe that the use of digital tools and applications in the workplace are essential for their job productivity

• Employees will expect to be able to collaborate anytime and anywhere with other employees

• Social media will create new communities of shared knowledge enabling direct, yet informal, ongoing employee communications

• Social listening will enable businesses to proactively anticipate the needs of employees

Get Strategic about Delivering the Right HR Technology Capabilities

The first questions to ask when creating a HR technology plan is “what do you want your organization to be and what do you want it to do?” More often than not, in the spirit of wanting to just get things done, organizations rush to create a HR technology plan that’s more driven by external forces than by internal business values and purpose. This approach runs the risk of delivering the wrong capabilities for what you thought were all the right reasons. There’s a better way.

A HR technology strategy creates a clear path for delivering value and measuring return on that value. Specifically, it helps answer the critical questions of what values will this effort drive for the business and how will that value be generated. Done correctly, a HR technology strategy helps ensure everyone understands today’s mission and tomorrow’s vision. A mutually-agreed upon strategy ensures priorities stay aligned with business priorities even through the shifts and drifts of the business. Successful technology strategies are dynamic in nature, with flexibility already built in so they can quickly adapt and align with changing needs of the business.

Elements of a robust HR technology strategy include:

• The voice of the customer, employee and the business

• Alignment to overall business strategy and goals

• Understanding of the business problems to be solved

• Understanding of current business capabilities

• Expectation of future business capabilities, including new technologies and opportunities

• HR Technology Guiding Principles, Roadmap and Timeline and Measures of Success

Understanding these elements will better define how long the journey may be between where your business is today and getting it to where it needs to be tomorrow.

Guiding Principles Help Lead the Way Forward and Keep Everyone on the Same Path

HR technology strategy leaders must create and maintain a spirit of purpose and excitement throughout the journey. The link between effective leadership and a successful strategy is tied directly to making sure the team is not only aware of the strategy’s purpose, but also provide unwavering support and commitment to the goals.

Just as companies use storytelling to build relationships with their customers to get buy-in for products and services, companies should also share their vision and purpose, or Guiding Principles, of its HR technology strategy.

Guiding Principles should provide:

• A predetermined sense of top-to-bottom support that expedites decision making. This provides a clear understanding of how to make the right decision quickly and purposefully in the midst of many available options

• A shared set of beliefs and values that leaders use to align and identify the right initiatives and tactics to move forward

• Statements that bind leaders to be aligned and consistent. Statement examples include:

• “I will ask ‘how is this going to change and enhance the employee experience?’ ”

• “I will optimize for long-term goals while achieving short-term wins.”

• “I will build capabilities for the future, not the past.”

• “I will optimize technology investments by maximizing performance and value.”

• “I will focus on what’s best for the business and make the right tradeoffs to keep this a priority.”

• “I will recognize and celebrate success along the way and seek to win the “hearts” of employees.”

• “I will execute my role with ownership and total accountability.”

The workplace of tomorrow will indeed look different than it does today. Changes will come fast and employees, and customers, will expect leaders to keep up. Creating and implementing a HR technology strategy that aligns with today’s business and changes with tomorrow will help keep employees engaged, customers satisfied and success ongoing.

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