DigiTalent: The New Frontier For HR

S. V. Nathan

Human resources (HR) organizations are experiencing a critical, yet fortuitous, moment. Digital technology and demographic upheavals are disrupting businesses – changing everything from how they are organized to how they operate.

As digital technology continues to be pervasive in the form of mobile apps, GPS, 3D touch-enabled sensors, activity trackers, and wearables, HR is challenged with innovating unconventional ways of working. Seamless use of digital devices and decisions, based on digital analytics, is prompting a change in the way HR functions. At the same time, the disciplines of design thinking, mobile apps, behavioral economics, social media, and talent analytics have the potential to increase the value HR brings to the entire business.

According to the 2016 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, digital HR is one of the top 10 human capital trends. In fact, 59% of survey respondents indicated that they are currently developing mobile apps for the ease of their employees, and 51% are leveraging social media for recruiting.

But, it’s not just the application of new technologies that will make HR digital. The transformation will require us to embrace a new approach that I call “DigiTalent.” This sharp focus on talent with digital experience in the context of the business needs to align with the business’ structure, digital processes, talent management, and, most important, culture to strike an equilibrium in technological innovation and efficiency.

Digital HR: Revolutionizing the talent experience

From the time employees are recruited, hired, and onboarded, the influence of DigiTalent is felt. For example, orientation programs can be redesigned to incorporate engaging digital-driven interventions such as gamification. This includes a refreshing new digital experience for employees to learn more about the organization in an interactive way – moving away from the traditional model of “tell and sell” and adopting a “discover for yourself” approach. Delivering the orientation experience on a mobile app is not enough. The entire experience must be digitally immersive as digital natives, namely millennials and Gen Z, become the majority of the workforce.

The notion of DigiTalent is about creating a digital environment that makes work enjoyable, easier, efficient, productive, and faster. Companies can start embracing DigiTalent by reviewing and revising an HR strategy focused on:

  • Providing better HR services
  • Making talent management more engaging and relevant to millennials
  • Accessing processes and information on mobile devices
  • Shoring up analytics skills
  • Adopting a strategy for social media and cloud computing
  • Creating an integrated platform that replaces stand-alone systems that do not talk to each other

With a mobile-first, cloud-first, and digitally powered approach, organizations can adopt real-time digital operations that go beyond process and transaction automation. This allows HR to prioritize analytics as a function of focusing on meaningful insights – not just collection data – to make critical decisions.

To achieve a digitally sound organization, the HR community should adopt disruptive thinking and move beyond the traditional. Embedding technology and enhancing productivity within the realm of digitization not only enhances employee experiences and productivity, but it also paves a path for a revolutionary opportunity for HR to demonstrate its value for the entire business.

For more on how digitalization is changing the way we work, see Live Business: The Rise of the Digital Workforce.


S. V. Nathan

About S. V. Nathan

Nathan is a partner and the Chief Talent Officer of Deloitte India. He has over 30 years of experience of which he has been serving Deloitte for over 11 years, playing a crucial role in architecting the rapid growth and transformation of the India region of the Deloitte firms into a truly global organization. Nathan is a behavioral specialist in sensitivity training. He was recognized as a distinguished alumnus by XLRI, his alma mater. Recently, he was acknowledged as one of the "Top 25 Thought Leaders in the Digital Space" by SAP. He was also recognized as one of the "Top 3 Power Profiles in HR" by LinkedIn for 2016. Nathan serves on the Board of the National HR Development Network (NHRDN) as its National Secretary. He also serves as a fellow at Sumedhas, a not-for-profit education and research body on organization development.