HR digitization: Management reality or utopia?

Is the digitalization of HR a reality or a management utopia? This article by Neobrain tries to answer the question.
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Today, implementing an HR digitalization project within a company seems to be a matter of course. But for the management of a company, this process is not always obvious. Many actors must be included in this decision and it is not always easy to make them actors of the change.

In this article, we discuss the implementation of digitalization projects with Thierry Depois, former director of Europ Assistance and Europcar and now working on a consulting position at Neobrain. Thanks to his experience as a group manager, we will learn more about digitalization projects, the players to be on-boarded, and the arguments to be put forward to implement them.

Is the digitalization of HR just a fad?

The digitization of HR is not a fad, it is a normal evolution that follows the transformation of all the company's processes. For example, since the 1990s, the Finance Department has taken the plunge and built Enterprise Resource Planning, which is a tool for aligning all business processes with their budgetary aspects.
The digital solutions market is already worth 4 billion dollars and, according to Markess, equipment is growing at an annual rate of 7%.

We retrace the history and perspectives of this digitalization in our article:"All about HRIS".

This digitalization also involves a change in employee behavior. The impact of the social network culture on the relationship between employees and the company is obvious. Expectations have evolved. Today, we have to take into account the satisfaction of the company's employees in a much more concrete way. We can't ignore the individualization of the relationship. The legislation concerning Jobs & Skills Management makes the creation of CPF accounts compulsory, which makes it possible to individualize the training of each employee and to direct the development towards skills critical to the company's performance.

HR digitization: a cultural change for employees

There is also an acceleration in employee expectations. If I express a wish, I expect my wish to be taken into account, but I also expect a quick response. Now, we necessarily have an immediacy with digital systems that does not exist with paper questionnaires and their tedious processing.
There was and still is in many companies an intermediate passage or we go from paper to Excel and we try with Excel to start answering in an adapted and more and more individual way, but that is already ancient history. Today it is possible to do much better and to accelerate the HR processes while allowing a much more individualized relationship with the employees.

HR digitization: when should you start?

Well, right now! It's available and if you don't do it, your competitors will. You have to remember that the basic principle of a company is to be competitive. If you give up on evolution, you condemn yourself to disappear quite quickly. It's not even a choice, it's just a reality that you have to adapt to and the sooner you realize this, the better.

‍Today's proposed platforms are increasingly profitable. HR is not intended to be a source of profit. On the other hand, like any cost center, we want to optimize its operation while reducing fixed costs.

To launch an HR digitalization project, you need support. You have to explain, support, and put sensors everywhere in the organization to see if people have understood the project and are committed to it.

It is also important not to hesitate to break the brakes by dealing with them one by one, individually. I remember an operation we carried out at Europe Assistance following a strike because people were not happy with their working conditions. We had identified 200 small points that needed to be improved and which were simple pebbles in the shoe, but it is often these small pebbles that make big projects work or not depending on whether they are removed or ignored.

We called it the T.A.L.C. project. The objective was to eliminate the "Tâches A La Con". People liked it a lot, they wanted us to do it again regularly. We had identified 200 points of detail that we treated one by one. It took 4 or 5 months but it radically changed people's apprehension about their working conditions and their roles in the company. Accompanying a digitalization project is a constant task.

You have to listen to all the players, convince the management, deal with objections, and then explain that there is no turning back. Without going as far as to do what the pirates did by putting the first cannonball in the hull of their ship to be sure that we would board the ship, we must explain that we have decided to do it, and that we have decided to make it a collective success.

In sum

We are currently living in a world in full transformation, whether it is at the level of skills, the trades or the organization of companies. This is why the transition to digital seems to be a need. It allows companies to anticipate future needs while individualizing the relationship with their employees.

However, the implementation of these systems can be complicated because many parts are required to make the gearing work properly. It is therefore the role of the project manager to create the conditions for success.