A Prescription For Turning People Strategies Into A Catalyst for Change

Klaus Berghoffer

Part 5 of the “Uncovering the Potential of Digital Investments” series

It wasn’t that long ago when HR organizations exercised significant bargaining power when acquiring and retaining talent. But today, this dynamic is changing as candidates, new hires, and existing employees increasingly dictate the relationship with demands for a seamlessly integrated, simple-to-use environment that is highly productive and empowering.

This shift is, from my perspective, a byproduct of people’s growing acceptance of consumer-grade mobile apps, social collaboration, digital access to information, and personalized experiences. So it is understandable that employees would expect the same level of digitalization at work.

But as Philip Sachs, global head of service portfolio and delivery strategy at SAP, frequently reminds customers, digital technology is not something that can be implemented and adopted blindly. “Every aspect of the business must evolve – from talent attraction and acquisition to workforce management and development, pay for performance, and time-off requests – to fully embrace and deliver the bold changes that the workforce nowadays expects,” he advises.

Recently, I spent some time with Philip to discuss how businesses can position the HR organization to improve the engagement of an ever-evolving workforce – anytime, anywhere, and for the long haul.

Never before has the workforce changed so quickly and continuously, and HR organizations are in the middle of it all. How can HR keep up without losing their employees’ attention and confidence?

Like most business functions, a technology-oriented mindset is slowly, but surely, pervading HR strategies. We are starting to see this shift where IT is no longer the guiding force of a business’s digital strategy. Now, HR leaders are beginning to take the reins to evolve processes and workforce capabilities with agility, speed, and adaptability.

However, technology investment and adoption are just the first steps toward building a highly engaged and empowered workforce. HR leaders need to consider talent management and core processes that are relevant and meaningful to an ever-evolving workforce.

By taking a thorough look at the changing work patterns and behaviors of the workforce, HR teams can support their business leadership’s quest for growth through:

  • Manager and employee self-services: Give the workforce more control over their own information and HR needs, while freeing up HR professionals to focus on more strategic, forward-looking responsibilities.
  • Digital candidate experiences: Influence a candidate’s decision by delivering the expected digital and mobile capabilities from job marketing and the career site to hiring and onboarding.
  • Mobile enablement: Empower managers and employees to be more engaged and work more proactively and intelligently – whether they are onboarding new hires, requesting time off, recruiting candidates, managing performance and goals, or rewarding and recognizing job excellence.
  • Continuous learning: Inspire employees to develop the skills needed by consuming learning content on demand and exchanging expertise and personal experiences in an online, collaborative, always-on environment.

How can HR organizations gain confidence in their digital strategies and technology choices?

A comprehensive set of harmonized, simplified, and globalized HR processes covering the major needs of our today’s workforce, that is based on leading practices, is proving to be a transformational tool. This model-company approach covers end-to-end HR processes for various workforce personas such as employee, candidate, manager, recruiter, HR business partner, and HR administrators.

For example, managers and employees can access self-service capabilities that are supported by numerous workflows, automated rules, and dashboards with relevant workforce analytics and insights. Recruiters and HR professionals make plans for the future and use emerging technology – such as digital assistants, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, to engage employees better.

By taking this step to reimagine the employee experience and organizational practices, HR can provide the platforms, processes, and tools that can continue to evolve with the workforce while sustaining long-term value.

Does digitalization help HR take a more substantial role in the boardroom?

People are at the heart of imagining and realizing the change needed to achieve strategic goals, so I would argue that anything that benefits the HR experience also drives significant advantages for the entire business.

HR organizations that are guiding their business through an increasingly challenging talent environment are taking deliberate steps to adopt emerging digital technologies such as:

  • Predictive and Big Data analytics: Gain insights to guide business operations, influence executive decision-making, and reach productivity and performance goals.
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning: Help the business identify the skills and capabilities needed to deliver differentiating, sustainable, and competitive value.
  • Persona-related dashboards: Chart the user experience for each workforce audience to create a unique employee, manager, and executive experience that addresses individual needs with ease, speed, and flexibility.

With 68% of organizations evaluating next-generation technologies to increase workforce productivity, HR leaders are positioning themselves as principal advisors on business strategy in the boardroom. They are beginning to help senior executives address full-time and contingent workforce issues before making the next investment or eliminating a budget line item.

But above everything else, HR organizations are not only providing the experiences their prospective and existing employees expect. They are emerging as knowledge partners and trusted advisors that are helping their businesses overcome disruption from the competition and achieve market leadership.

Get to know the preconfigured end-to-end HR processes, capabilities, and delivery approach that can help your HR organization bring sustainable, long-term business change in a fast time-to-value approach. Explore SAP Model Company for Human Resources.


Klaus Berghoffer

About Klaus Berghoffer

Klaus Berghoffer is a Marketing and Communication Senior with 31 years of working experience in the IT industry and a technical university background. Klaus has contributed to large IT companies as well as 15 years for startups in fast-growth markets. He brings a history of cultural diversity from living in different countries as well as diverse working experience from different fields.