HR departments will have a lot of work in 2016, reinventing themselves. Any organisation that takes digital transformation seriously is bound to transform its HR processes. HR departments can and should start playing a major part in digital transformation.
The processes put in place by HR departments were meant to deal with increasingly layered organisations in which measurable tasks were performed by a growing group of workers. Goal setting and performance management are key terms in an HR driven environment. They belong to a culture of supervision, control and efficiency seeking improvements.

Digital culture is based on trust

Digital organisations live in a culture of trust, respect, collaboration and open and direct communication. One where people are allowed to take some distance, evaluate the current way of things, question established beliefs. Innovation happens when your employees get off the beaten path. When they bend the rules, experiment and find out what happens. When they collaborate over established department boundaries. When they let go of pre established responsibilities and focus on customer problems instead of organisational structures. That results in a series of unpredictable successes and failures. But they learn from their mistakes and move on to new experiments. Not quite something you can squeeze into a cycle of yearly personal and team goals and evaluations.

HR 2016 to do list

If I were an HR manager, this is what I would plan for the start of 2016;
  • Look how many of our processes pass on/impose the established way of working as opposed to motivating the quest for new ways of doing things.
  • Is my department focussed on strict profiles and the boundaries that come with them?
  • List the processes that are meant to control people, based on a culture of supervision.
  • Find out how well our managers know their team members.
  • Find out if managers trust their team members and to what extent team members trust their management.
That would give me a fairly good idea of what I am up against for the rest of the year.

Driving force

HR departments could become a driving force in digital transformation, if they are willing to question their very foundation and transform into the coach of a flexible and open organisation.
If you want to know more about digital transformation, let’s share a cup of tea and talk about it.