HR In The Age Of Digital Transformation

Neha Makkar Patnaik

HR has come a long way from the days of being called Personnel Management. It’s now known as People & Culture, Employee Experience, or simply People, and the changes in the last few years have been especially far-reaching, to say the least; seismic even.

While focused until recently on topics like efficiency and direct access to HR data and services for individual employees, a new and expanded HR transformation is underway, led by employee experience, cloud capabilities including mobile and continuous upgrades, a renewed focus on talent, as well as the availability of new digital technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence. These capabilities are enabling HR re-imagine new ways of delivering HR services and strategies throughout the organization. For example:

  • Use advanced prediction and optimization technologies to shift focus from time-consuming candidate-screening processes to innovative HR strategies and business models that support growth
  • Help employees with tailored career paths, push personalized learning recommendations, suggest mentors and mentees based on skills and competencies
  • Predict flight risk of employees and prescribe mitigation strategies for at-risk talent
  • Leverage intelligent management of high-volume, rules-based events with predictions and recommendations

Whereas the traditional view of HR transformation was all about doing existing things better, the next generation of HR transformation is focused on doing completely new things.

These new digital aspects of HR transformation do not replace the existing focus on automation and efficiency. They work hand in hand and, in many cases, digital technologies can further augment automation. Digital approaches are becoming increasingly important, and a digital HR strategy must be a key component of HR’s overall strategy and, therefore, the business strategy.

For years, HR had been working behind a wall, finally got a seat at the table, and now it’s imperative for CHROs to be a strategic partner in the organization’s digital journey. This is what McKinsey calls “Leading with the G-3” in An Agenda for the Talent-First CEO, in which the CEO, CFO, and CHRO (i.e., the “G-3”) ensure HR and finance work in tandem, with the CEO being the linchpin and the person who ensures the talent agenda is threaded into business decisions and not a passive response or afterthought.

However, technology and executive alignment aren’t enough to drive a company’s digital transformation. At the heart of every organization are its people – its most expensive and valuable asset. Keeping them engaged and motivated fosters an innovation culture that is essential for success. This Gallup study reveals that a whopping 85% of employees worldwide are performing below their potential due to engagement issues.

HR experiences that are based on consumer-grade digital experiences along with a focus on the employee’s personal and professional well-being will help engage every worker, inspiring them to do their best and helping them turn every organization’s purpose into performance. Because, we believe, purpose drives people and people drive business results.

Embark on your HR transformation journey

Has your HR organization created a roadmap to support the transformation agenda? Start a discussion with your team about the current and desired state of HR processes using the framework with this white paper.

Also, read SAP’s HR transformation story within the broader context of SAP’s own transformation.


About Neha Makkar Patnaik

Neha Makkar Patnaik is a principal consultant at SAP Labs India. As part of the Digital Transformation Office, Neha is responsible for articulating the value proposition for digitizing the office of the CHRO in alignment with the overall strategic priorities of the organization. She also focuses on thought leadership and value-based selling programs for retail and consumer products industries.

We Must Reverse These Trends To Transform America’s Future Workforce

Jenny Dearborn

If you think you know the greatest risk that technology poses to Americans, think again.

The biggest technology risk? Our workforce doesn’t have the right skills to keep growing our economy. And the US education and workforce training systems aren’t doing enough about it.

Government leaders, businesses, and individuals can and must step up and make a difference, and the time for action is right now.

The skills gap hurts Americans and American economic growth. Today, nearly 500,000 US computing jobs are unfilled, yet only about 43,000 computer science graduates join the workforce from American universities each year. This huge problem doesn’t just impact the technology sector, a $1 trillion annual economic growth engine for the American economy:

And American manufacturing companies are doing more with fewer workers: They have been producing more overall and more per employee since 1987, even though manufacturing employment is down nearly 40%. The risk to American workers is real and urgent.

Let’s prepare people for secure, well-paying jobs. Computing jobs are the #1 source of new wages in the US. There are nearly 6.3 million jobs in computers and information technology (IT), and 93% pay above the US national average. Programming jobs are growing 50% faster than jobs overall, with coding skills needed for data analysts, artists and designers, engineers and scientists as well as IT workers.

But American schools aren’t preparing our children for future jobs. Like 93% of parents, I want my child’s school to teach computer science. It should be core, like math, not an elective. But I was shocked to discover that only 40% of US schools offer computer science instruction, and only 34 states count computer science classes toward high school graduation.

Even in California — home of Silicon Valley — less than 2 percent of high school students take computer science classes. Far more students take ceramics, though the US has only 41,000 potters who earn $30,000 annuallyon average, less than half the average starting salary in computers. How can we fill jobs and remain globally competitive if we aren’t teaching kids critical skills?

America’s competitors are investing where we are not. The US spends just one-sixth of the rich-country average on job retraining, workforce development centers and adult education subsidies (.1% of GDP).

We’re also behind other developed countries in offering apprenticeship programs that lead to skilled and well-paying jobs: 43 apprentices per 1,000 employed individuals in Switzerland, 40 in Germany and 39 in Australia, and just three in the US in 2014. China invests $250 billion a year to educate tens of millions of young adults, in part to advance national priorities such as alternative energy, biotechnology and hybrid and all-electric cars.

Don’t we owe it to our children, young people, workers displaced by automation, veterans and others the chance to get these jobs? Let us immediately begin reversing the trend:

Government: I urge leaders at the local, state and federal levels to work with industry and educators to make large-scale changes to prepare Americans for the jobs of today and tomorrow. These changes in policy, curricula and funding cannot wait any longer.

Businesses: Especially in tech, companies must invest in STEM education and training, through funds and/or in-kind services to US schools, universities and training programs and through public-private partnerships.

If we want workers with the right skills, we need to put money and effort into nurturing them. This includes helping disadvantaged youth, sponsoring hack-a-thons and coding events, and giving generous grants to non-profits to promote computer science education.

Individuals: Private citizens have always played a role in advancing our society, and can make a difference here, too. Here are some ideas:

Anyone can lobby for K-12 computer science education: Petition your local school and/or your state officials. Join the PTA. Run for school board. Speak out. Find sample letters here; find out what your state is doing here.

Got tech skills to share?: There are opportunities to teach kids and/or help a teacher through code.org, partner with an educator to team-teach computer science through Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS), volunteer at, or start, a CoderDojo club for kids, volunteer 90 minutes/week for 10 weeks through Citizen Schools, and many others.

Parents and teachers: Lots of organizations are ready to help you help kids develop STEM skills, dreams and careers, like the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) list of Best STEM Books K-12, free activities from Hour of Code, MIT’s Scratch and others, and resources like the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) and those listed on She’s Coding.

Together, we can move our country forward and develop a skilled workforce that will ensure prosperity for every sector of the US economy and for all Americans.

This story also appears on SAP Innovation Spotlight.


Robots For Growing Manufacturers: When Innovation Goes Beyond Automation

Miranda LaBate

The show floor of Germany’s Hannover Messe, one of the world’s largest trade fairs featuring industrial technology, displayed a dizzying array of robots in nearly every booth, presentation, and aisle. From lightweight robots engaging in direct human-robot collaboration to palletizing robots handling tasks of all kinds, the possibilities for any robot-assisted production floor extend well beyond automation.

But what is, perhaps, more exciting is the opportunity that robotics presents: a democratized competitive landscape for manufacturers of all sizes. Small and midsize manufacturers are investing in robotics technology at a higher rate than their peers in other industries, according to the Oxford Economics study “The Transformation Imperative for Small and Midsize Manufacturers.” And this trend will become more pronounced over the next two years, as growing businesses indisputably close the adoption gap between themselves and their larger rivals.

By adding just a few robots at a time, smaller manufacturers are setting up a winning foundation for providing the individualized offerings and services customers expect. More importantly, they are fostering a workplace culture that enhances the talent and skill of every employee.

Why small and midsize businesses view robotics as the next big must-have

In many ways, small and midsize manufacturers deal with the same challenges that their larger rivals encounter. From procurement and supply chain to workforce management, concerns over efficiency and agility arise no matter if we’re talking about a million-dollar business or trillion-dollar enterprise. The only things that separate them are the load, scale, and level of risk at stake with every decision. (And yes, the smaller company always bears the brunt of the liability.)

While headlines sound the alarm on robots replacing humans on the shop floor, growing manufacturers are learning that this warning is unfounded as they overcome the industry’s most challenging issues by going beyond automation to support four critical advantages.

1. More jobs that are meaningful, safer, and highly lucrative

Bringing in robots to the manufacturing process doesn’t necessarily mean that employees will disappear. Quite the contrary. Instead, job titles and responsibilities need to be reevaluated and, most likely, elevated. By automating monotonous and potentially hazardous tasks and giving the information and skills required to get work done well, employees can be retrained to work alongside robotics and do their jobs better and safer.

2. Lower potential for human error created by lack of training and knowledge

Considering the flow of retired employees leaving the workforce and the influx of younger, less-experienced new hires arriving, anything can go wrong at any point of the assembly line or factory floor.

Through machine learning, robots can gradually learn how experienced employees build a product, make decisions, and detect defects. At this point, the robot is responsible for conducting one dedicated job without error – whether the factory is fulfilling individualized orders, creating small batches, or undergoing mass production.

3. Fewer disruptions from unintended broken processes and machines

Another benefit of sensor-embedded robots is the reduction in repairs. Monitoring performance and looking for operational anomalies and signs of misuse, providers can remote into the robots to troubleshoot potential issues, program new capabilities, and defend against malicious cyberattacks. Plus, a robotics engineer can be dispatched immediately to fix the machine onsite.

4. New cost models that lower working-capital spend

Robots embedded with sensors allow the supplier to monitor the output capacity – which opens up an entirely more affordable way to optimize working capital. Rather than making a one-time, hefty purchase and signing up for a monthly fee for on-call service, manufacturers can leverage a service-level agreement with the provider that allows usage-based billing without owning the actual robot.

Human and machine: A new era for growing manufacturers

Affordable, connected, intelligent, and adaptable robotics are opening the door to unprecedented opportunity for small and midsize manufacturers. However, even though accessing and implementing the technology may seem straightforward, automating everything is never the answer. Costs will gradually increase to uncontrollable levels, especially when one part of the process breaks and triggers a malfunction down the entire line.

To capture the full value of the opportunities presented by new robotic systems, businesses will always need employees to help ensure the operation runs at peak performance and adjusts for customer demand, market shift, resource volatility, and business strategy.

Read the Oxford Economics study, “The Transformation Imperative for Small and Midsize Manufacturers” to kick-start your digital strategy.

Plus, join us at SAPPHIRE NOW to see how the latest innovations designed for small and midsize businesses can help improve your operations, processes, products, and services. And while you’re there, check out the session “Accelerate Profitable Growth in a Digital Economy” to see how you can scale your manufacturing businesses with a lower total cost of ownership.


Miranda LaBate

About Miranda LaBate

iranda LaBate is an aspiring marketer with an affinity for technology, blogging, and social media. The 2018 graduate of Drexel University supports the Automotive Business Unit in creating excitement and awareness around disruptive technologies molding the future of the automotive industry. Connect with Miranda on Twitter or LinkedIn.

The Human Angle

By Jenny Dearborn, David Judge, Tom Raftery, and Neal Ungerleider

In a future teeming with robots and artificial intelligence, humans seem to be on the verge of being crowded out. But in reality the opposite is true.

To be successful, organizations need to become more human than ever.

Organizations that focus only on automation will automate away their competitive edge. The most successful will focus instead on skills that set them apart and that can’t be duplicated by AI or machine learning. Those skills can be summed up in one word: humanness.

You can see it in the numbers. According to David J. Deming of the Harvard Kennedy School, demand for jobs that require social skills has risen nearly 12 percentage points since 1980, while less-social jobs, such as computer coding, have declined by a little over 3 percentage points.

AI is in its infancy, which means that it cannot yet come close to duplicating our most human skills. Stefan van Duin and Naser Bakhshi, consultants at professional services company Deloitte, break down artificial intelligence into two types: narrow and general. Narrow AI is good at specific tasks, such as playing chess or identifying facial expressions. General AI, which can learn and solve complex, multifaceted problems the way a human being does, exists today only in the minds of futurists.

The only thing narrow artificial intelligence can do is automate. It can’t empathize. It can’t collaborate. It can’t innovate. Those abilities, if they ever come, are still a long way off. In the meantime, AI’s biggest value is in augmentation. When human beings work with AI tools, the process results in a sort of augmented intelligence. This augmented intelligence outperforms the work of either human beings or AI software tools on their own.

AI-powered tools will be the partners that free employees and management to tackle higher-level challenges.

Those challenges will, by default, be more human and social in nature because many rote, repetitive tasks will be automated away. Companies will find that developing fundamental human skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, within the organization will take on a new importance. These skills can’t be automated and they won’t become process steps for algorithms anytime soon.

In a world where technology change is constant and unpredictable, those organizations that make the fullest use of uniquely human skills will win. These skills will be used in collaboration with both other humans and AI-fueled software and hardware tools. The degree of humanness an organization possesses will become a competitive advantage.

This means that today’s companies must think about hiring, training, and leading differently. Most of today’s corporate training programs focus on imparting specific knowledge that will likely become obsolete over time.

Instead of hiring for portfolios of specific subject knowledge, organizations should instead hire—and train—for more foundational skills, whose value can’t erode away as easily.

Recently, educational consulting firm Hanover Research looked at high-growth occupations identified by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and determined the core skills required in each of them based on a database that it had developed. The most valuable skills were active listening, speaking, and critical thinking—giving lie to the dismissive term soft skills. They’re not soft; they’re human.


This doesn’t mean that STEM skills won’t be important in the future. But organizations will find that their most valuable employees are those with both math and social skills.

That’s because technical skills will become more perishable as AI shifts the pace of technology change from linear to exponential. Employees will require constant retraining over time. For example, roughly half of the subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree, such as computer science, is already outdated by the time students graduate, according to The Future of Jobs, a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The WEF’s report further notes that “65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist.” By contrast, human skills such as interpersonal communication and project management will remain consistent over the years.

For example, organizations already report that they are having difficulty finding people equipped for the Big Data era’s hot job: data scientist. That’s because data scientists need a combination of hard and soft skills. Data scientists can’t just be good programmers and statisticians; they also need to be intuitive and inquisitive and have good communication skills. We don’t expect all these qualities from our engineering graduates, nor from most of our employees.

But we need to start.

From Self-Help to Self-Skills

Even if most schools and employers have yet to see it, employees are starting to understand that their future viability depends on improving their innately human qualities. One of the most popular courses on Coursera, an online learning platform, is called Learning How to Learn. Created by the University of California, San Diego, the course is essentially a master class in human skills: students learn everything from memory techniques to dealing with procrastination and communicating complicated ideas, according to an article in The New York Times.

Attempting to teach employees how to make behavioral changes has always seemed off-limits to organizations—the province of private therapists, not corporate trainers. But that outlook is changing.

Although there is a longstanding assumption that social skills are innate, nothing is further from the truth. As the popularity of Learning How to Learn attests, human skills—everything from learning skills to communication skills to empathy—can, and indeed must, be taught.

These human skills are integral for training workers for a workplace where artificial intelligence and automation are part of the daily routine. According to the WEF’s New Vision for Education report, the skills that employees will need in the future fall into three primary categories:

  • Foundational literacies: These core skills needed for the coming age of robotics and AI include understanding the basics of math, science, computing, finance, civics, and culture. While mastery of every topic isn’t required, workers who have a basic comprehension of many different areas will be richly rewarded in the coming economy.
  • Competencies: Developing competencies requires mastering very human skills, such as active listening, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, communication, and collaboration.
  • Character qualities: Over the next decade, employees will need to master the skills that will help them grasp changing job duties and responsibilities. This means learning the skills that help employees acquire curiosity, initiative, persistence, grit, adaptability, leadership, and social and cultural awareness.


The good news is that learning human skills is not completely divorced from how work is structured today. Yonatan Zunger, a Google engineer with a background working with AI, argues that there is a considerable need for human skills in the workplace already—especially in the tech world. Many employees are simply unaware that when they are working on complicated software or hardware projects, they are using empathy, strategic problem solving, intuition, and interpersonal communication.

The unconscious deployment of human skills takes place even more frequently when employees climb the corporate ladder into management. “This is closely tied to the deeper difference between junior and senior roles: a junior person’s job is to find answers to questions; a senior person’s job is to find the right questions to ask,” says Zunger.

Human skills will be crucial to navigating the AI-infused workplace. There will be no shortage of need for the right questions to ask.

One of the biggest changes narrow AI tools will bring to the workplace is an evolution in how work is performed. AI-based tools will automate repetitive tasks across a wide swath of industries, which means that the day-to-day work for many white-collar workers will become far more focused on tasks requiring problem solving and critical thinking. These tasks will present challenges centered on interpersonal collaboration, clear communication, and autonomous decision-making—all human skills.

Being More Human Is Hard

However, the human skills that are essential for tomorrow’s AI-ified workplace, such as interpersonal communication, project planning, and conflict management, require a different approach from traditional learning. Often, these skills don’t just require people to learn new facts and techniques; they also call for basic changes in the ways individuals behave on—and off—the job.

Attempting to teach employees how to make behavioral changes has always seemed off-limits to organizations—the province of private therapists, not corporate trainers. But that outlook is changing. As science gains a better understanding of how the human brain works, many behaviors that affect employees on the job are understood to be universal and natural rather than individual (see “Human Skills 101”).

Human Skills 101

As neuroscience has improved our understanding of the brain, human skills have become increasingly quantifiable—and teachable.

Though the term soft skills has managed to hang on in the popular lexicon, our understanding of these human skills has increased to the point where they aren’t soft at all: they are a clearly definable set of skills that are crucial for organizations in the AI era.

Active listening: Paying close attention when receiving information and drawing out more information than received in normal discourse

Critical thinking: Gathering, analyzing, and evaluating issues and information to come to an unbiased conclusion

Problem solving: Finding solutions to problems and understanding the steps used to solve the problem

Decision-making: Weighing the evidence and options at hand to determine a specific course of action

Monitoring: Paying close attention to an issue, topic, or interaction in order to retain information for the future

Coordination: Working with individuals and other groups to achieve common goals

Social perceptiveness: Inferring what others are thinking by observing them

Time management: Budgeting and allocating time for projects and goals and structuring schedules to minimize conflicts and maximize productivity

Creativity: Generating ideas, concepts, or inferences that can be used to create new things

Curiosity: Desiring to learn and understand new or unfamiliar concepts

Imagination: Conceiving and thinking about new ideas, concepts, or images

Storytelling: Building narratives and concepts out of both new and existing ideas

Experimentation: Trying out new ideas, theories, and activities

Ethics: Practicing rules and standards that guide conduct and guarantee rights and fairness

Empathy: Identifying and understanding the emotional states of others

Collaboration: Working with others, coordinating efforts, and sharing resources to accomplish a common project

Resiliency: Withstanding setbacks, avoiding discouragement, and persisting toward a larger goal

Resistance to change, for example, is now known to result from an involuntary chemical reaction in the brain known as the fight-or-flight response, not from a weakness of character. Scientists and psychologists have developed objective ways of identifying these kinds of behaviors and have come up with universally applicable ways for employees to learn how to deal with them.

Organizations that emphasize such individual behavioral traits as active listening, social perceptiveness, and experimentation will have both an easier transition to a workplace that uses AI tools and more success operating in it.

Framing behavioral training in ways that emphasize its practical application at work and in advancing career goals helps employees feel more comfortable confronting behavioral roadblocks without feeling bad about themselves or stigmatized by others. It also helps organizations see the potential ROI of investing in what has traditionally been dismissed as touchy-feely stuff.

In fact, offering objective means for examining inner behaviors and tools for modifying them is more beneficial than just leaving the job to employees. For example, according to research by psychologist Tasha Eurich, introspection, which is how most of us try to understand our behaviors, can actually be counterproductive.

Human beings are complex creatures. There is generally way too much going on inside our minds to be able to pinpoint the conscious and unconscious behaviors that drive us to act the way we do. We wind up inventing explanations—usually negative—for our behaviors, which can lead to anxiety and depression, according to Eurich’s research.

Structured, objective training can help employees improve their human skills without the negative side effects. At SAP, for example, we offer employees a course on conflict resolution that uses objective research techniques for determining what happens when people get into conflicts. Employees learn about the different conflict styles that researchers have identified and take an assessment to determine their own style of dealing with conflict. Then employees work in teams to discuss their different styles and work together to resolve a specific conflict that one of the group members is currently experiencing.

How Knowing One’s Self Helps the Organization

Courses like this are helpful not just for reducing conflicts between individuals and among teams (and improving organizational productivity); they also contribute to greater self-awareness, which is the basis for enabling people to take fullest advantage of their human skills.

Self-awareness is a powerful tool for improving performance at both the individual and organizational levels. Self-aware people are more confident and creative, make better decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. They are also less likely to lie, cheat, and steal, according to Eurich.

It naturally follows that such people make better employees and are more likely to be promoted. They also make more effective leaders with happier employees, which makes the organization more profitable, according to research by Atuma Okpara and Agwu M. Edwin.

There are two types of self-awareness, writes Eurich. One is having a clear view inside of one’s self: one’s own thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses. The second type is understanding how others view us in terms of these same categories.

Interestingly, while we often assume that those who possess one type of awareness also possess the other, there is no direct correlation between the two. In fact, just 10% to 15% of people have both, according to a survey by Eurich. That means that the vast majority of us must learn one or the other—or both.

Gaining self-awareness is a process that can take many years. But training that gives employees the opportunity to examine their own behaviors against objective standards and gain feedback from expert instructors and peers can help speed up the journey. Just like the conflict management course, there are many ways to do this in a practical context that benefits employees and the organization alike.

For example, SAP also offers courses on building self-confidence, increasing trust with peers, creating connections with others, solving complex problems, and increasing resiliency in the face of difficult situations—all of which increase self-awareness in constructive ways. These human-skills courses are as popular with our employees as the hard-skill courses in new technologies or new programming techniques.

Depending on an organization’s size, budget, and goals, learning programs like these can include small group training, large lectures, online courses, licensing of third-party online content, reimbursement for students to attain certification, and many other models.

Human Skills Are the Constant

Automation and artificial intelligence will change the workplace in unpredictable ways. One thing we can predict, however, is that human skills will be needed more than ever.

The connection between conflict resolution skills, critical thinking courses, and the rise of AI-aided technology might not be immediately obvious. But these new AI tools are leading us down the path to a much more human workplace.

Employees will interact with their computers through voice conversations and image recognition. Machine learning will find unexpected correlations in massive amounts of data but empathy and creativity will be required for data scientists to figure out the right questions to ask. Interpersonal communication will become even more important as teams coordinate between offices, remote workplaces, and AI aides.

While the future might be filled with artificial intelligence, deep learning, and untold amounts of data, uniquely human capabilities will be the ones that matter. Machines can’t write a symphony, design a building, teach a college course, or manage a department. The future belongs to humans working with machines, and for that, you need human skills. D!


About the Authors

Jenny Dearborn is Chief Learning Officer at SAP.

David Judge is Vice President, SAP Leonardo, at SAP.

Tom Raftery is Global Vice President and Internet of Things Evangelist at SAP.

Neal Ungerleider is a Los Angeles-based technology journalist and consultant.

Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.

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HR In The Age Of Digital Transformation

Neha Makkar Patnaik

HR has come a long way from the days of being called Personnel Management. It’s now known as People & Culture, Employee Experience, or simply People, and the changes in the last few years have been especially far-reaching, to say the least; seismic even.

While focused until recently on topics like efficiency and direct access to HR data and services for individual employees, a new and expanded HR transformation is underway, led by employee experience, cloud capabilities including mobile and continuous upgrades, a renewed focus on talent, as well as the availability of new digital technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence. These capabilities are enabling HR re-imagine new ways of delivering HR services and strategies throughout the organization. For example:

  • Use advanced prediction and optimization technologies to shift focus from time-consuming candidate-screening processes to innovative HR strategies and business models that support growth
  • Help employees with tailored career paths, push personalized learning recommendations, suggest mentors and mentees based on skills and competencies
  • Predict flight risk of employees and prescribe mitigation strategies for at-risk talent
  • Leverage intelligent management of high-volume, rules-based events with predictions and recommendations

Whereas the traditional view of HR transformation was all about doing existing things better, the next generation of HR transformation is focused on doing completely new things.

These new digital aspects of HR transformation do not replace the existing focus on automation and efficiency. They work hand in hand and, in many cases, digital technologies can further augment automation. Digital approaches are becoming increasingly important, and a digital HR strategy must be a key component of HR’s overall strategy and, therefore, the business strategy.

For years, HR had been working behind a wall, finally got a seat at the table, and now it’s imperative for CHROs to be a strategic partner in the organization’s digital journey. This is what McKinsey calls “Leading with the G-3” in An Agenda for the Talent-First CEO, in which the CEO, CFO, and CHRO (i.e., the “G-3”) ensure HR and finance work in tandem, with the CEO being the linchpin and the person who ensures the talent agenda is threaded into business decisions and not a passive response or afterthought.

However, technology and executive alignment aren’t enough to drive a company’s digital transformation. At the heart of every organization are its people – its most expensive and valuable asset. Keeping them engaged and motivated fosters an innovation culture that is essential for success. This Gallup study reveals that a whopping 85% of employees worldwide are performing below their potential due to engagement issues.

HR experiences that are based on consumer-grade digital experiences along with a focus on the employee’s personal and professional well-being will help engage every worker, inspiring them to do their best and helping them turn every organization’s purpose into performance. Because, we believe, purpose drives people and people drive business results.

Embark on your HR transformation journey

Has your HR organization created a roadmap to support the transformation agenda? Start a discussion with your team about the current and desired state of HR processes using the framework with this white paper.

Also, read SAP’s HR transformation story within the broader context of SAP’s own transformation.


About Neha Makkar Patnaik

Neha Makkar Patnaik is a principal consultant at SAP Labs India. As part of the Digital Transformation Office, Neha is responsible for articulating the value proposition for digitizing the office of the CHRO in alignment with the overall strategic priorities of the organization. She also focuses on thought leadership and value-based selling programs for retail and consumer products industries.