Digital transformation plans ignoring role of HR

HR must enhance its reputation amongst senior management teams and business leaders if it is to take a leading role in driving the success of digital transformation projects, claims a new report from MHR. The poll of 250 business leaders at organisations with more than 1000 employees claims that just 5 percent of respondents felt the HR department should be the people to lead or manage a digital transformation project. The full results of the survey are explored in MHR’s report ‘Businesses are not ready to transform (but they don’t know that)… which was launched at the Festival of Work in London this week.

Unsurprisingly, just over two-fifths (42 percent) of business leaders believed that IT should lead digital transformation projects, with 23 percent saying it should be the CEO heading up the project. With 8 percent of respondents claiming marketing should head up projects, it is clear that HR are not perceived as natural leaders to spearhead change.

When asked why they wouldn’t include the HR department in their digital transformation projects, just under three-fifths (58 percent) of business leaders said it wasn’t HR’s area of expertise.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]HR teams must do more to demonstrate their value if they are to be taken seriously as leaders of digital transformation[/perfectpullquote]

Michelle Shelton, product planning director at MHR says; “It is clear from the research that HR teams must do more to demonstrate their value and improve their reputation from the top down if they are to be taken seriously as leaders of projects. Despite most business leaders believing HR to be ill-equipped to manage digital transformation projects, nearly half of business leaders (47 percent) said the biggest barrier to successful digital transformation was a lack of training in this area while nearly two-fifths cited a slow change to their business culture, two areas where HR can really make a difference if they are given the opportunity.

“If organisations really want to embrace new ways of working, business leaders should no longer ignore HR and instead consider how they can best utilise their skills to ensure their journey is a smooth one. Not only do HR professionals have a holistic view of the business and its functions, but as stewards of company culture can ensure any changes are successfully embedded and embraced by its people. Digital transformation will almost certainly fail unless business leaders change their mindset and breakdown silos to involve HR in change projects.”