The Change Makers for an Organisation’s Digital Transformation

Boundary-less organisations need a highly networked leader.


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The more I think, I realise that the Human Resource (HR) teams are going to be the most potent force for an organisation’s Digital Transformation. I recently chaired one of the most engaging HR workshops on “Clearing the Digital BLUR™.”

Quoting Gary Kasparov, the chess grand master “Do not fear intelligent machine” helped me to lessen all the speculation around automation taking over the minion jobs. After winning his first game with the IBM super computer Deep Blue; in the year 1997, Gary Kasparov lost the second game to the machine. The Grand Chess master attributed the machine’s win as the computer had access to past records and data. Gary Kasparov’s mind-set to embrace an intelligent machine is truly an empowering story as the grand master mentions in one of his recent interviews “Deep Blue could look at 200 million positions per second, while I was limited to two or three, and yet we competed equally. The human brain is an unmatched analogy engine, findingthe  useful patterns to leverage our lifetime of experience to make decisions.”

My introduction to Sophia, the humanoid robot who is now a Saudi Arabian citizen was a curtain raiser to the social change Sophia would bring in. Sophia, the she robot who does not conform to the dressing norms of her home country. This shows that HR teams of the future would not only have to deal with white / blue collar issues but also of the metal collar.

Digitisation and Digitalisation are causing the stagnant lines of the industrial age to make way for the Digital BLUR™. Digitisation refers to the process of converting anything physical into the digital format while the latter refers to unlocking new value by incubating a digital mind-set.

Deciphering the Digital BLUR™ framework to chisel Highly Digital HR (HDHR™)

Boundary-less organisations- The Australian arm of the ANZ Bank is restructuring itself into 150 start-ups as they want to build agile teams and work like a technology company rather than just a bank. Uberization of the workforce is persuadingthe HR community to make fixed human resources into fluid teams. Similarly, Digital Leadership moving from being a fixed asset pertaining to C-suite, today the Digital Leadership is built at all levels of an organisation. 

Limitless Digitalisation – Data analytics is now part of everyday working, Learning and Development (L&D) teams are unlocking new talent insights through capability analytics and employee churn analytics. HR teams are repositioning themselves to become execution assurance teams, using data to ensure timely execution of the company’s strategy.

Unbounded Innovation-Employee experience is the core agenda for any modern HR team. Gamificationis one approach to taking employee experience to the next level. Gamification is the use of mechanics of gaming in a non-game context, such as learning, employee engagement, and innovation. McDonalds UK developed and delivered the till training game, a gamified learning experience for employees across 1,300 restaurants to support the launch of a new till system. 

Mahindra Group, the Indian multinational conglomerate uses KNOLSKAPE’s Build Your Business Simulation and Gamification Platform for building business acumen among their high potential managers.

Relentless Iteration- The Human Resource team needs to relentlessly iterate to carve out new internal customer experience strategies. Annual appraisals are being replaced by real-time feedback with higher acceptance to embrace failure and smart learning.

An organisation’s HR can help them steer along Digital BLUR by ensuring Digital to be practiced not only at an individual capacity but at an organisational level. The people’s team needs to ensure that Digital is very much part of the organisational DNA-

•    The HR team should ensure that Digital Awareness spans across the senior, middle and frontline levels.

•    While senior-level fabricates design thinking into Digital Strategy with middle and frontline teams ensuring Digital            Execution.

The above game plan would ensure that Digital Leadership is built across the organisation.

Recipe for Clearing the Digital BLUR™

Digital Strategy+ Digital Capabilities+ Digital Culture= Desired outcomes

Building Digital Capabilities and Culture is integral to the HR and Learning& Development functions. Basis the BLUR™ framework new leadership competencies need to be build-

•    Boundary-less organisations need a highly networked leader. The rise of fluid organisations is motivating leaders to break free from their closed cuckoo of networks to building facilitator networks. As Sundar Pichai, Google CEO says “As a leader, a lot of your job is to make those people successful. It’s less about trying to be successful (yourself), and more about making sure you have good people and your work is to remove that barrier, remove roadblocks for them so that they can be successful in what they do.”

•    Through the data enabled limitless digitalisation, a leader should make sense out of the multitude of data points and narrate a compelling story to the rest of the organisation.

•    A design leader led by unbounded innovation should be able to adapt out of the box design thinking to build internal and external eco-systems.

•    An agile leader should relentlessly iterate to transform organisational strategy to deliver better external and internal customer experience.

The HR needs to re-define digital age befitting culture and competencies by –

•    Encouraging teams for seamless peering and sharing for a boundary-less organisation.

•    Discourage the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion (HIPPO) culture to make decisions. Enabling teams to adapt                   limitless   digitalisation and practice data driven decision making.

•    Encouraging diverse and inclusive culture to fuel unbounded innovation led by ideas.

•    Making relentless iteration an everyday ritual by embracing the fail-fast culture. Organisations need to incorporate real time learning from smart failures.

HR has a crucial opportunity to produce game changers for organizations in their digital transformation journey. At the end of the day, at the core of it, digital is all about a deeply human story. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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innovation digitalisation human resources Organizations


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