HR Transformation: A three-act play

HR Transformation: A three-act play

An HR transformation plan should star technology, people and processes.

Scholar with white feather in hand

As we noted in our recent report on KPMG’s Global HR Transformation Survey, many organizations pursuing cloud-based transformation today are facing diminishing returns as the cloud generates valuable new data that no one really knows how to action effectively. 

Companies mistakenly assume that simply acquiring cloud software and
plugging it in will redefine HR and bring new value to the business. What’s
missing is an organizational game plan – a change management strategy – designed to exploit the cloud’s game-changing capabilities by integrating the technology with people capabilities. My advice to businesses and HR professionals today is to approach transformation as a three-act play featuring Involvement, Action and Influence.

Act 1 – Involvement connects strategy to results

Cloud HR offers a tremendous array of robust data that can generate
critical insights, enhanced decision-making, cost efficiencies and unprecedented business value.

For those benefits to be realized, HR business partners and COE professionals need to demonstrate new levels of involvement with HR operations colleagues responsible for functions such as payroll and data maintenance. By working in close alignment, the HR ‘people’ and ‘admin’ experts can see end to end on every detail to ensure cloud technology is being implemented to truly redefine HR and its value to the organization.

This includes alignment on which key data will be maintained in the cloud; the analytics and business insights deemed valuable to the business; new processes and services available via cloud capabilities; and what the business
culture should look like as HR is transformed. The goal here is being able to draw a direct line from the organization’s talent strategy to the core decisions being made on cloud implementation.

Act 2 – Generating action that brings new value to the business

A new level of involvement that fosters collaboration and links technology to HR strategy and desired outcomes will position HR professionals to pursue the kind of action that will drive business and people decisions.

It’s easy today to acquire and rapidly implement the latest cloud technology. But without appropriate action, in the form of change management that strategically addresses people and their roles on the transformation journey, businesses won’t capture the required returns on their investment.

Intelligent change management will ensure that managers, and their
people, are well-equipped with newly acquired skills that are crucial to
understanding, interpreting and acting on the data and insights being provided. Line managers will need to understand their enhanced responsibilities and be trained to meet them.

Without deploying appropriate new skills and redefining roles, companies
adopting the cloud to generate important data will have no idea how to
capitalize on its potential. As our KPMG survey revealed, many cloud HR
initiatives have faltered because of this simplified plug-and-play approach. 

Act 3 – A new ability to influence is crucial to transformation

Improving line manager capabilities is crucial for transformation and
that will require HR professionals to exercise new levels of influence within their organization. This includes replacing the traditional HR role of performing talent management with the new role of teaching talent management. And that means articulating and conveying a very different, discreet, nuanced and sometimes difficult skillset to managers, so that HR is truly redefined to deliver the benefits and value businesses need.

For HR practitioners to gain a seat at the table in driving business
strategy and greater value, they will need to influence senior leaders to
become better ‘people leaders’ and decision-makers on how talent
and skills are deployed.

The HR professional’s role becomes one of training, educating and developing managers in an enhanced people management role that exploits the capabilities of cloud HR. The role of influencing is much harder than the familiar role of doing. It takes a bold attitude toward success because you are essentially redefining the traditional people-management and decision-making roles. But true transformation demands it.

If it’s true, as Shakespeare once wrote, that “All the world's a stage,”
today’s HR professional needs to produce a compelling script for strategic HR
transformation and then provide skilled direction to ensure everyone performs their assigned role to rave reviews.

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