HR managers play a crucial role in their company’s journey to digitisation

Jul 3, 2020

Surveys show that you as an HR manager play a crucial role in whether or not your company’s digitisation journey will be successful.

New digital tools create the conditions most organisations need to become more efficient. But to succeed, we must shift our focus from “how do we use new technology to increase profitability” to “how do we use it best to support and engage our staff”.

These days, many companies only see marginal improvements in efficiency despite making large investments in new technology and, as a result, they have started to adopt a new approach that builds on their employees. This is where HR can and does play a major, important role in a company’s digitisation processes.

These days, younger employees assume that their working lives will be just like their private lives where they manage virtually everything using their mobile phones. The widening gap between their reality at home and the analog processes they must follow at work means there is a growing risk that they spend more time trying to understand antiquated processes rather than moving your company forward or, quite simply, they choose to quit.

An article recently published in Forbes magazine showed that as many as 88% of millennials want “work-life integration”. Note that this NOT the same as “work-life balance”. They simply want to be able to manage their work using the same tools and channels as they use to manage their lives. They just don’t understand having to print hard copies because “that’s how we’ve always done it” – meaning they have to spend time learning how to do it and learning something that’s completely unnecessary.

There is a big difference in the number of companies who say they already have or are about to digitise their businesses and the very few who have actually succeeded. According to a report from McKinsey, a mere third of companies succeed in digitising their businesses. Most fail during implementation and engagement because those factors are down to people to see them through.

This is why you, as an HR manager, are so vital in how well your company succeeds in its digital journey!

 

On the go

The same report from McKinsey states that the companies that succeed in digitisation have had the following five pillars in place:

  1. The right, digitally knowledgeable managers in place. As an HR manager, you play an important role in ensuring that your teams include digitally knowledgeable and experienced managers.
  2. Processes for developing future talent. Absolutely crucial to the success of a company and a clear role for HR managers is the creation of the processes needed so that organisations can build and develop talent during the transformation.
  3. Create the conditions staff need to work in new ways. Here, too, HR has a crucial role to play in both encouraging through training programs and engaging staff in deciding which parts of the company’s operations are best suited for digitisation.
  4. Up to date tools and processes. As we said earlier, today’s employees want to be able to do their job anytime, anywhere. This applies not only to their interactions with customers but also to internal processes. One example of this is being able to manage business and travel expenses remotely using digital tools.
  5. Communicate frequently and measure progress so that you can be transparent when demonstrating both small and big changes within your organisation. This is a journey of change and the more you talk about it the sooner it will become part of your future culture.

Companies that create the conditions needed so that younger employees can spend more time gaining experience and knowledge from their older colleagues instead of having to learn out of date processes are clearly better placed to succeed in their digitisation journey.

One company that took a hard look at its processes is Stena Line, one of the world’s largest ferry companies. Part of Stena Line’s review was to modernise expense management with the help of Companyexpense, a Findity white-label partner. Previously, every employee had to staple their receipts to an expense report and submit it to the finance department for checking and payment. Today, this is a completely digital process using the Companyexpense app.

This is what Frida Lidén, Payroll Administrator, Human Resources, at Stena Line says:

“With Companyexpense and its built-in AI/ML analysis, there are far fewer errors and employees are reimbursed faster because managers can approve expenses more easily.”

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