A Digital HR Strategy – Easier than you think!

A Digital HR Strategy – Easier than you think!

I recently listened to an episode of HR Leaders and they covered the topic of a Digital HR strategy with Erik van Vulpen. The discussion got me thinking of the importance of a digital HR strategy, and all the other things that are ‘important’ for HR professionals. In a time when technology seems to be moving faster than the speed of light, how does HR keep up? How do we add value to our organizations while trying to maintain the flow of everyday responsibilities? How do we decide what is most important after learning of all these other companies who are excelling at HR strategies and industry best practices? Just asking yourself these questions can make any HR professional run for the hills, or sigh with a combination of stress, frustration and feelings of being overwhelmed.

You may be asking; “What is a digital HR strategy?” “What does it entail?”

A digital HR strategy could be described as a road map to selecting, implementing and utilizing technology to aid in the capture and reporting of HR data. Think of your Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) and what goes into selecting one, identifying what to measure and track as well as report on. Your digital strategy encompasses your methods and mediums used to capture, utilize and report on HR data.

What if I told you there is a way to build a digital HR strategy that could fit right into your day right now? Would you be willing to take those steps? After listening to the podcast, reading a few articles and giving it some more thought, I discovered some interesting resources that could be a great place to start as a HR professional.

1.      Identify one key metric that would demonstrate value to HR immediately

Take a step back and review the HR department’s performance in assisting the business operation and strategy. What metric do you believe would send home the point that there needs to be more available and usable information? For some it may be analyzing turn-over to improve retention, identifying ways to improve onboarding to reduce the learning curve and increase the contribution of new employees or reviewing some of the performance methods that have been in place for ages and reviewing their effectiveness in providing information and insight to better manage your human talent.

Identify only ONE! I have been guilty of trying to build a business case after identifying several great areas to tackle. The key here is to show the value so you can get some more support, not champion the next evolution of your HR practice just yet. Start with one.

2.      Find an easy and effective way to capture the data for reporting

HR professionals are busy people. Not only are we busy, but we often make miracles happen with limited resources and limited training or know-how. Many of us thrive under pressure, pushing out high quality work in record time and deliver on almost all our deliverables. We are known to get things done. Could we find a few minutes to record some data? Perhaps you could use a spreadsheet (HR loves spreadsheets), an email to yourself or just a notebook that you might keep close by your desk. The aim here is easy data capture that can be used later to build a case, paint a picture and provide insights.

3.      Analyze and report on what you have found

You have picked a metric, you have captured the data and now it is time to go into that meeting to talk about your findings and recommendations. But before you do that, let’s take a minute to review what you have found. Perhaps it was reviewing the common reasons people leave the organization after their first year. If we use this example, perhaps your data was the exit interview and you had them rate some of the factors that led them to leave or perhaps what would have made them stay. Now you’ve identified that 60% of people who leave do so because of better opportunities and lack of a challenge in their current jobs. Now you have valuable insight for your recruiting, onboarding and training and job design processes. Probing these findings could be a starting point for a business case on reducing recruitment costs, improving the recruitment process and improving your retention rates.

Small win, Big impact

Now that you have built your case and showed how capturing data can drive real results, you are starting to build momentum to tackle all those other areas of HR, and hopefully from the buy-in, with the aid of more efficient and effective technology and additional resources. This is not the invitation to go on a HR technology shopping spree, but to analyze what exists in the organization that can aid in the capture of information required, in a format that is easily used and manipulated to identify and report on metrics and trends that can drive business and HR strategy and deliver tangible results.  

This starting point can set you on the path way towards a balanced digital HR strategy: Maximizing the use of technology in house, managing internal customer/employee experience and continuous review and alignment of HR to business strategy. Each interaction with employees from point of hire to managing them out provides opportunities for improvement, optimization and learning.

As HR evolves, contributing and positively impacting business strategy and leveraging resources to minimize cost have been a key mandate of HR professionals.  A digital HR strategy, whether it uses the pen and paper or the latest technology, capturing and using HR data to contribute to business strategy is the ultimate goal. Will you get started?


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