Major also facilitating the process whereby business managers and

Major Human Capital
Trends    – Digital HR


Introduction to Digital HR

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In today’s
world, every individual spends an average of more than 2.5 hours a day on
mobile devices. The workforce is consisting of more and more millennials, who
expect the same level of connectivity in their workplace. Digital HR integrates
SMAC technology – Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud- to simplify and speed up
the HR processes of analysing employee data, recruiting top talent, engaging
and retaining top talent, improving employee performance, recognition and
compensation. Digitisation has led to development of a work culture that
enhances transformation, productivity and engagement of the workforce. When HR
functions are successfully integrated with applications, the department can
receive 10 times the responses from employees than they could before.

Digital HR
is two-fold. It not only means digitalising the HR processes and systems
through digital platforms and applications, but also facilitating the process
whereby business managers and employees transition to a digital method of
managing and working.

Dave Ulrich,
in his book ‘Human Resource Champions—The Next Agenda for Adding Value and
Delivering’, divides HR into 4 key roles. We can observe how the digitisation
of HR changes the character of each of these.


STRATEGIC PARTNER: It consisted of aligning strategies
with the business. It fostered customer focus in the business. Digitisation of
HR shifted this role towards integrating business strategies with the future
digital environment. It also focussed on adopting tools that would better serve
the internal customers, i.e., employees.

CHANGE AGENT: The department understood the
business culture and assisted managers in facilitating change. It now involves using
tools to facilitate e-based learning. The lead the path for better, newer ways
of working, developing

ADMINISTRATIVE EXPERT: Plays the role of structuring and
implementing HR processes to meet the unique needs of the business, as well as
to manage costs. It now extends to analysing and using multiple sources of
data. It uses this data to come up with solutions for various employee related
problems as well as to structure policies for talent acquisition and employee

EMPLOYEE CHAMPION: The role involved enhancing
employee contribution and commitment and building effective people processes
and practices. Digitisation has improved employee engagement though various
digital platforms and networking tools.

HR is slowly but surely transforming to adapt to the changing
digital environment. The old methods are increasingly proving ineffective in
managing the millennial workforce. Digitisation is streamlining HR processes,
improving employee engagement and accelerating the processing period. It
provides real time information and analysis.

The shift in HR is happening in the areas of workforce,
workplace and the HR function itself. According to a 2017 survey conducted by

of the surveyed companies are designing their themselves to leverage mobile and
digital tools and platforms.

of the companies are developing and adopting digital business models

of them are using AI for HR solutions

are developing mobile apps for their HR functions


Trends in Digital HR


Finding the
right employees is important for any company, but is more so for technology
companies and seasonal manufacturers that require a large number of employees.
Todays online platforms have recruitment management systems that facilitate
everything from sourcing to the final on boarding. The tools help with- finding
job candidates, marketing the company, distributing job postings, conducting
candidate skill assessment, psychological testing, background screening, online
interviews and on boarding.


Only 12% of
companies in 2017 say they have a strong digital employee training programme.
Online training programmes have several advantages over the traditional
methods. It supports collaborative learning where employees work in teams to
solve real work scenarios. It strengthens employees’ ties to their colleagues
and helps them develop strong relationships. These platforms also allow
employees to conveniently track their own progress, responsibilities and


platforms allow for continuous assessment of employees. Employees are able to
constantly update their progress on various assignments, and superiors are able
to evaluate them. It allows for the use of analytics whereby managers can
assess the performance of individuals as well as departments.


of HR will help collect various information that could be collaborated to gain
knowledge about employee working conditions, happiness and work-life balance. Information
regarding employee engagement, performance and recognition could be assessed to
provide advice on how to improve working conditions, efficiency of performance
and career advancement strategies.


tools and platforms make it easier to facilitate team work. They offer options
such as real time messaging, archives and searches.


Digital HR
is paving the way for analytics. New tools enable management to collect and
analyse data. This data could be used by the company to schedule meetings,
reorganise facilities and drive employee engagement.


Tools Enabling Digital HR

Switch: this is a job-matching application
that connects candidates with hiring managers. It eliminates the need for third
party recruiters. Job seekers can swipe right to show interest, or left to pass
on job openings. Similarly employers can swipe right to reciprocate and left to


Wade&Wendy: these are chatbots that facilitate
advisory and hiring functions.

provided career guidance and grows with the individual’s career journey. Wendy
is the in-house hiring assistant that screens and delivers candidates that meet
company needs.

Mya: This chatbots automates 75% of the recruitment
process. It uses AI and natural language processing to automate the recruitment
process. Mya conducts initial interviews to screen candidates. At the end of
this it ranks the candidates based on weighted factors.

SuccessFactors: this is a workforce analytics tool
that automates collection and verification of employee data. It enables one to
benchmark company performance against others in the industry. It analyses and
forecasts trends.

Starling: this is a predictive behavioural
analytics platform that enables companies to quantify data relating to human

Workday: it brings data from various sources
onto one platform to enable producing and sharing of business insights within a facilitates data preparation, data management and operational

BetterWorks: this platform enables continuous
performance management. Employees can set their goals, regularly post updates
and give feedback. It increases employee engagement as well as transparency
within the company.

Ultimate Software: it is a cloud based platform that
provides human capital management facilities o its users. It includes data recording features related to time and
attendance, employee on boarding, performance management, compensation
management, succession management, recruiting, and predictive analytics.


Adoption of new methods: Digitisation of the HR functions will
require HR personnel to familiarise themselves with the new technology. It
requires from them a skill set different from what was required in traditional
HR. they must possess good analytical and statistical abilities as well as be
good at operating the new technology.

Perceived role of HR: the HR department is viewed by top
management as cost centers and not profit drivers. Thus undertaking new
initiatives is difficult. This department is the most subjected to cost cuts.
As such, adoption of expensive technology will be slow.

Out dated IT systems: the HR IT systems are not compatible
with the latest technology and tools available in the market. HR processes are
traditionally supported by multiple systems and sometimes custom-built systems.
These systems no longer function as required. They are incapable of supporting
the latest technology.

Poor data collection: disconnected systems and independent
data sources create challenges in data collection. Apart from this, very few
companies collect data in the sphere of competency skill gap, employee
engagement etc.

The Road

Build Top Management Consensus: in order for the HR department to
progress and move towards digitisation, top management support is a huge
requirement. It is up to the department to develop long term holistic views f
talent acquisition and training and align its activities to company goals. This
will help establish HR as a strategic partner that drives profits, rather than
a cost centre.

Upgrade HR IT Systems: the traditional fragmented IT systems
will not be able to support the latest tools and platforms available. Firms
will have to adopt flexible, interoperable systems. New technology will be
compatible with cloud based platforms that provide scalability and can be
implemented and operated at low costs.

Deliver Multi Channel Presence: the new HR systems should help
develop relationships between employees and the company. HR interactions should
be seamless across the various channels. HR will be required to monitor all the
channels to ensure that it is responding to each.

Use Data to Drive Decision Making: HR should employ methods that are
data driven. This should start right from sourcing of candidates to on boarding
of employees.

Companies Doing It Right

Deloitte has topped the list of the globes
best consulting firms for digital HR transformation. It is the most advanced
supplier of HR technology. It is using its digital acquisitions to offer new
services in the field of HR. PwC ranks second on the list. It has both deep
expertise as well as strong partnerships with cloud HR technology system
providers. At a joint third are EY and KPMG. EY has a holistic view and approaches HR from the perspective of
client company’s business objectives. KPMG
offers strategy, operating model design and implementation services.  In fourth stands McKinsey & Company. They
provide services like translating clients’ HR and business objectives into
hypotheses that can withstand empirical tests via data analysis. Fifth position
is held by Bain & Company. Its services are aimed at the human element of
HR. It is known for its work in corporate strategy and management, and has
extended its reputation as an industry leader in the delivery of digital HR
transformation engagements.