Creating a digital mindset for a new decade of work

06 December 2019 | Opinion

Jason Averbook

Do you ever look back on your New Year’s resolutions (if you make them)? Do you even remember what they were? Maybe you resolve the same thing every year—either because it’s a persistent goal or because you never actually meet it. Maybe your resolution never even makes it to February.

We begin every year with similarly big and lofty goals for our organisations and for HR. If we’re going to draw a parallel, New Year’s resolutions feel kind of like performance reviews of old: We look in the rear-view mirror at past performance, decide what we don’t like and throw an ambitious stake in the ground for future performance. Wouldn’t it be great if we remembered and revisited our resolutions all year, if we treated them like True North on our compass? If those resolutions functioned like a lightning rod for the curveballs, pace of change and shifting sands we know will come our way? The purpose of lightning rods is often misunderstood. They don’t actually “attract” lightning. Rather, lightning rods offer a path to the ground, helping to conduct enormous electrical currents when lightning strikes do occur.

That’s where trends and insights play a key role. They help us find True North, take aim and place lightning rods for the rapid pace of change and other factors that affect how we live and work. If we understand the needs of our modern organisations, the evolving expectations of the workforce upon whom we rely to deliver to the market and our customers, and the availability of solutions and techniques to power experiences and drive outcomes, we can better shape an organisational digital strategy that spans our workforce experience goals. In other words, these themes shape our people priorities. More importantly, they help us close the gap between the world we live in and the world of work.

Stop thinking technology, start thinking digital

That’s why every year I aim to forecast and explain the major shifts we’ll see in human resources and digital transformation. How true that mind-set, people and process would emerge as the most important parts of digital transformation in 2019.

“Digital transformation is going to be on the headline of every magazine,” I asserted at this time last year, and it’s not the technology alone. If we think about technology alone, we’re missing the biggest opportunity of true transformation, which is improved workforce experience.

This pivotal digital theme permeated everything else we saw come about in 2019. What else happened this year? We finally embraced workforce experience as the most important HR and people priority. The value of AI redefined as augmented intelligence helped us acknowledge the value of improved transactions for a better experience. Finally, the value curve changed for HR technology where our experience layer, what the workforce interacts with, drives a continued focus on integrations and a return to best-in-breed buying strategy.

*Jason Averbook is HRE’s People Side of Digital columnist.