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It’s 2020. Chew on that. Digital transformation has been the big buzz for a few years now so it’s pretty likely your HR team is talking about it, and they’ve probably already dipped their toe in the water. Wherever you are on your transformation journey, it pays to remember a few key things:

1). It’s not about the technology. Or at least it’s not ALL about the technology. The technology is the enabler, but it isn’t the experience, by itself.  Transformation is a powerful concept. It’s become a buzzword that is closely associated with technology, but technology, by itself, doesn’t win hearts and minds and, by itself, rarely accomplishes the changes you are seeking. Worse, if you’ve got a lousy implementation, you’ll probably have lousy adoption. It’s important to take into account how your employees will interact with your technology, not just how you want them to interact with HR.

If it isn’t all about the technology, what is it about? A few years back, probably around the time you were getting ready to replace your on-prem HCM and dive into the cloud, you probably heard you should be focused on People, Process and Technology. That thinking has evolved and needed to; similar to thinking technology was the answer, this was an incomplete equation. It’s not just about how people use the system, how you build processes and workflows, and which technology you use.  It’s all of those things, plus Mindset.

Leapgen has coined this the “Equation for Digital Success”. This concept is truly a shift in paradigm. The Mindset piece of the equation highlights the need for having a clear vision of what your employee experience should look like and a strategy for how to get there. Companies need to stop thinking they don’t have the right technology (or it’s not working) and start thinking about what they want their experience to look like and how they are going to change the mindset around HR’s role in the organization.

Stop thinking technology, start thinking digital.

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2). It’s rarely about the system you’re using or what’s happening in the back office. Design for the people who are trying to find answers. When you use Amazon’s website, I’m betting you aren’t thinking about their platform, the name of the various technologies they use, or that it’s even powered by technology; you’re thinking about how to find that perfect book, or how to pick the best shower curtain liner. You are engaged in an experience, from crowdsourcing answers to your questions to checking out what others have experienced with a product. Certainly you are thinking about how easy it is to purchase a product (or return it), but you’re probably not thinking about how sexy the platform is. The same is true with whatever technology you’re trying to implement. You want your employees to have a frictionless workforce experience and to get whatever they need, quickly and efficiently. Build for their experience, not for the technology or the process.

3). The technology you choose isn’t necessarily the solution and won’t automatically make fans of your users.  See #2. No matter what technology you choose, you should start with designing for your workforce.  What else? It’s important to spend time building a robust change management plan. I haven’t seen a really successful launch or strong adoption of pretty much any significant change (e.g. technology, policy, new behavior) without one. Employees (back office, first and foremost) need to be made aware of what is changing, know what new expectations are tied to the technology, and be motivated to use the new technology. In addition, they need to know how and when to use the technology. This isn’t about having a Quick Reference Guide (QRG). It’s much more about the big picture. While the overall goal might be around system or technology adoption, a broader message around change and helping employees understand the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) often has more staying power. My colleague Ryan Malkes always says, “They don’t buy the box, they buy what the box does for them.” Knowing your audience and how these changes will truly benefit them is paramount.

Really, it comes down to this.  When you think about digital transformation, remember It’s not just about the technology. Simple message. Technology is important, but mindset and vision for your workforce experience, how you design your experience for your users, and how you bring them along will be what makes your transformation a success.


Suzanne Bell is an HR practitioner and consultant with more than 20 years of leadership experience in Corporate HR strategy, talent management, technology, strategic workforce planning, analytics, and change enablement. Suzanne’s HR experience comes first-hand from an insider’s perspective at companies including Toyota Financial Services, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and IBM.

Suzanne’s recent work addresses integrated talent management strategy, digital workforce experience, service delivery, change enablement, process redesign, solution selection, portal design and content management.

Leapgen is a global digital transformation company shaping the future of work. Highly respected as a visionary partner to organizations looking to design and deliver a digital workforce experience that will produce valued outcomes to the business, Leapgen helps enterprise leaders rethink how to better design and deliver workforce services and architect HR technology solutions that meet the expectations of workers and the needs of the business. Follow Leapgen and Contact us if its time to get started.