Demystifying HR Digital Enablement

By: | Category: Employee Experience

Recently, Net at Work held a virtual roundtable with Jonathan Goldin, CHRO of Net at Work and Harold Ford III SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Employer Solutions Consulting Manager. In the virtual session (watch here) Jonathan and Harold laid the groundwork for organizations looking to accelerate their adoption of digital technology in the human resources realm. However, listeners discovered that there are some misconceptions concerning digital enablement. A greater understanding of what the process is and how it allows companies to unleash their power will make for a more successful journey.

What do we mean by digital enablement?

The COVID-19 Pandemic drove many organizations to hasten their move toward greater use of digital technology in their organizations. Remote meeting tools were quickly adopted as a method of interviewing candidates. Employee Self Service efforts were brought online to get check stubs and other information out to employees. And remote access for employees working from home was put in place, especially for critical HR functions like processing payroll. So, using these new digital tools is digital enablement, right?

As pointed out in the session, tactical use of technology tools is not digital enablement of the organization. Digital enablement needs to be part of a broader, long term strategy beyond the immediate needs of the current situation.

In a related white paper authored by Harold Ford it states: “Being digitally enabled allows the entire enterprise to accomplish more with technology, as opposed to consuming technology to address one issue. HR digitally enablement means unleashing the efficiencies and effectiveness of all business processes. For HR, this means understanding and serving the company’s values while being agile and making data-driven decisions.”

How do we start on the enablement journey?

In the roundtable discussion, Jonathan and Harold discussed the prerequisites of the journey. Among them is having a long-term vision for the organization. HR needs to have a thorough understanding of the business, the future issues to be faced and how HR can address those issues.

A second area of preparation for this journey is to have a thorough grounding in change management. Digital enablement will affect every employee, every supervisor, and every senior manager. Resistance to change is a normal human reaction to new requirements. However, as Jonathan and Harold pointed out, not properly managing how the changes are rolled out or recognizing and overcoming resistance can doom a project, even if it is in the best interests of the company.

No One-and-Done

There has been much talk about the 2020 pandemic and the economic effect as a ‘once in a generation’ event. Addressing the short-term needs of the business using technology was critical to many organizations’ survival. However, as Ford points out in his white paper, “utilizing technology in a bubble to solve a specific issue or produce a specific outcome is not digital enablement.”

Digital enablement has a broader focus, understanding the needs of the organization and building people strategies that align with and allow the company to unleash its capabilities in the future. As such it is not a single event, but an ongoing process of discernment and action on the part of human resources.

Quoting the white paper again,

  • HR Digital Enablement is Not Optional – Most of the workforce knows what it means to be digitally connected and engaged in their personal lives. They demand it at work as well.
  • HR Digital Enablement is a Journey – Enablement requires long-term strategies coupled with process reviews to fully understand how we can sustainably elevate and advance the workforce.
  • HR Digital Enablement Never Ends – Businesses, HR roles, employees’ needs, and technology will always evolve. Your digital enablement must evolve too.

To learn more about how Net at Work can guide you on the digital enablement journey and unleash the power of your organization, you can contact us here.