Human Resources... the importance of the H

Burke Turner

When it comes to digital transformation, not all employees and generations are equal. Some users will embrace the opportunities, others will fight change. Unfortunately, this lack of equality really does matter. Research cited by McKinsey found that 70% of change programs fail to achieve their goals, largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support. Where is human resources in all of this?

When faced with unfamiliar digital tools, new ways of operating, faster life cycles and shifts in the balance of power it’s understandable that employees will worry. Some may simply panic and refuse to engage altogether. Digital transformation is a transverse change but if implemented from above, in terms of the group, it will probably fail. The individual must be taken into account.

An individual approach may sound complicated and expensive but it is, in fact, neither. When employees are involved from the start, all the way through training, they will be more receptive to change. When this approach is applied right through into their daily digital environment, both at work and at home, employees will feel reassured that their individual needs are being met.  

In many organisations, it is the IT department that delivers the technology while operational managers deliver to task. This leaves a yawning gap where the bigger picture should be. The new digital working environment only works when built on trust, collaborative communication, and a mindset that transforms risks into opportunities. Who can successfully deliver the radical cultural change that this requires? It is, of course, Human Resources… with the emphasis firmly on the H.  

Digital transformation isn’t just a technological challenge, it’s a human challenge.

Human Resources must therefore be involved from the outset. Once HR strategy is in line with the organisation’s transformation strategy, it is in the best position to get it there successfully. The culture will shift automatically, almost despite itself.

But how do you integrate culture with transformation? Atmosphere have created a practical and actionable insight report, including a 3-stage Ways of Working model. It helps organisations better understand their current position, identifies the issues to address and sets out a clear strategy for moving painlessly into the digital age.

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