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The pace of digital change is accelerating. In response, market pressures are increasing, demanding transformation of key functions of the enterprise to move faster and deliver more. Organizations understand they need to digitize their business operations as well as the experience of their customers and workforce in order to remain viable, competitive, and attractive to talent. Human Capital Management is no exception to the transformation craze; in fact, it’s becoming more common for HR to lead transformation for the enterprise by combining experience data with the operational data they already own.

Why do we pursue digital transformation of workforce experience? Making it easier for employees to perform their work improves productivity and engagement. Digitization of workforce experience drives a better employee experience, and it goes without saying that only happy employees are able to delight customers. But what does “digital” transformation mean? Are we just automating with technology what was once manual? Or is there more to it?

Let’s start with the difference between “digital” and “technology.” “Digital” is not just a piece of technology. A “digital” mindset asks WHY (purpose), not how (technology). Digital thinking challenges your vision and considers the change required to see the right solution come fully to life. When you embrace digital thinking and adopt a growth mindset, you begin to imagine an experience that is fluid, in the flow of work, and intuitive. Digital champions employ human-centered design thinking to deliver the right information to the right people via the right channel in a way that accelerates work. Digital thinking breaks silos naturally, something we all in the HR/people function need to be better at. Technology plays a role in delivering that experience, but the technology is a mere vehicle. It isn’t The Experience.

Creating a true “experience” (how something makes you feel) requires understanding your people. Journeys drive feelings; processes drive data. But if you capture experience data – how people feel, their beliefs and emotions and true sentiment – it can tell the organization the why behind what is happening with the workforce. Only by combining operational data with experience data and truly understanding the what and the why can organizations take the right actions to improve employee experience.

Put another way, Employee Experience starts with the fact that employees expect to be recognized as people doing work, not users of systems. They expect to be understood by their organization, to feel like they made the right choice when they formed a relationship with you, and they get that validation through their daily experience of work life. If you really mean it when you say Employee Experience, you treat your employees as your customers. Everything ties to their satisfaction and the usability of the solutions and services you provide them. Employee Experience, or the human experience of work, is using all we can possibly know about people, the way they learn, the way they work, how they feel, and what intrinsically motivates them to effectively empower and support them.

Human Capital Management must evolve to empower and enlist HR as workforce experience designers. Your employees are more than capital that your company acquires like an asset. They are human. They don’t work in modules, yet we select, implement, and deploy workforce tools that way. They work in journeys, and digital transformation of workforce experience requires HR embrace that understanding and approach.

The irony and the opportunity is recognizing the role of technology in powering human experiences that are squarely focused on what people need, how they work, and what inspires them. It’s moving beyond traditional top-down HR-driven processes to deliver experiences that serve employees first. You can’t talk experience without talking personalization, which requires data. HR has data in troves, but it’s unstructured, siloed, and piecemeal. Fix that, and you win the experience game.

Intelligent Automation presents an incredible opportunity to relieve humans of drudgery, to perform more efficiently a multitude of mundane processes which require repetition, not strategy. If we can find smart ways to accomplish more work at a faster pace, we free up the human beings who are no longer required to do that work so they can do things only people can do. Imagine your human workforce fully empowered to do their life’s best work alongside powerful process automation and data-driven decision-making. Your organization becomes a force to be reckoned with.

All of this requires a complete transformation of your current workforce experience and the solutions you use to empower and sustain it. We need to transition from Human Capital Management as we know it today to a focus on driving the employee experience by designing for the workforce at the core. Undertaking digital transformation isn’t easy − no one said it was − but it is urgent. People seek experiences that feel human and rewarding, that will accelerate their ability to do meaningful work, that create connection and support purpose. If you don’t provide that, people simply won’t work for you.

Follow the conversation live & online at SAP SuccessFactors’ HXM Digital Summit next Tuesday, November 19, beginning at 9AM EST. I’m a live panelist commenting on the next chapter of HR and workforce experience along with an impressive lineup of peers. Get more details and register right HERE.


Jason Averbook is a leading analyst, thought leader and consultant in the area of human resources, the future of work and the impact technology has on that future. He is the Co-founder and CEO of Leapgen, a global consultancy helping organizations shape their future workplace by broadening executive mindset to rethink how to better design and deliver employee services that meet the expectations of the workforce and the needs of the business.

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. Contact us to get started.

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