Embrace Digital Transformation With Change

Hande Genc

We are in the midst of big changes that are affecting our private and professional lives. In the era of digital transformation, we’ve started to talk about the Internet of Things and the digitalization of society, economy, workplaces, and much more. Digitalization brings a lot of advantages, but it also creates stress due to a rapidly changing environment with limited time to adapt. Therefore, managing change effectively and successfully becomes more important than ever before.

What is changing in our work life?

According to Oxford Economics’ Workforce 2020 research sponsored by SAP, the labor supply is becoming globalized. The number of contingent employees is increasing. In 2020, 40% of the global workforce is expected to be freelance. Working locations and hours are becoming flexible. The importance of diversity is rising, and it’s critical for innovation in the digital era. This is reflected in the fact that organizations with strong financial performance have 37% women in leadership roles, compared to only 19% in organizations with weak financial performance. In 2020, there will be five generations working together.

Furthermore, millennials will form 75% of the workforce in 2025. This group is more ambitious than previous generations and has higher expectations of the workplace. They want to have an innovative, dynamic, ethical, transparent, and inspiring work environment, which includes:

  • Intrapreneurship opportunities at work
  • Diversity at work to excel, learn, and innovate
  • Work-life balance
  • Social responsibility projects
  • Different learning and development opportunities and regular performance discussions with their managers

On the other hand, according to the latest Leadership 2020 research, only 34% of current leaders are prepared to manage this diverse workforce, 52% to manage talent, and 44% to manage change.

HR departments’ reality

The need for change is apparent. A regular agenda item for HR professionals is: To ensure a successful cultural change and to impact business results as strategic business partners while preparing leaders to be digital winners and meeting the needs of their employees.

Thus, top priorities for HR departments in 2017 include: integrated talent management, standardization, simplification, personalization, gamification, new learning platforms, development offerings, sustainability, and analytics.

Practical tips for effective change management

Here are some quick tips for managing an effective and successful change as we navigate digitalization:

  • Develop a clear reason, vision, and plan for change. The plan should be piloted and executed in waves. It is also supposed to be open to changes based on feedback. Encourage opportunities for all employees to speak up and stress the importance of deep democracy.
  • Create a road map with short-term and long-term goals. Include change agents and look for sponsorship from company executives. Develop a communication plan with consistent messages, because trust is the most important dynamic during any period of change. Set and celebrate milestones and acknowledge the importance of recognition.
  • Make and keep all change management human-centric. Change brings great opportunity to learn, to enhance our skills, and to develop. Only by thinking differently and acting differently will organizations be able to compete and sustain in the future. It is time for HR to help organizations throughout their digital transformation journey. Leveraging digitalization creates room for HR to focus more on strategic partnerships and spend time on human-centric processes.

Our new normal in the era of digital transformation has become change. Let’s embrace the change instead of fearing it!

Learn how SAP is partnering with HR organizations to support digital transformation.

This post was previously published on LinkedIn.


Hande Genc

About Hande Genc

Hande Genc is the Director of Human Resources in Turkey at SAP. In addition to that, she also works as HRBP for Digital Business Services, EMEA South and HRBP for Innovation Team, EMEA South. She supporting Leadership Development programs at SAP as a steering committee member for Global Leadership Development Program. Hande is also responsible for the start-up of the SAP HANA Development Lab initiative in Turkey, demonstrating her experience in startups, mergers and acquisitions, change and transformation management, organizational design, employer branding, diversity, and leadership.