HR's role in spearheading digital transformation overlooked

HR must enhance its reputation amongst senior management teams and business leaders if they are to take a leading role in driving the success of digital transformation projects, reveals new survey*.

The poll of 250 business leaders at public and private sector organisations with more than 1000 employees commissioned by leading HR and payroll provider MHR shockingly found that just five per cent of leaders felt the HR department should be the people to lead and / or manage a digital transformation project.

Unsurprisingly, just over two-fifths (42 percent) of business leaders believed that IT should lead digital transformation projects, with 23 percent saying it should be the CEO heading up the project.

With eight percent of respondents claiming marketing should head up digital transformation, it is clear that HR are not perceived as natural leaders to spearhead change.

When asked why they wouldn’t include the HR department in their digital transformation projects, just under three-fifths (58 percent) of business leaders said it wasn’t HR’s area of expertise.

Michelle Shelton, product planning director at MHR, says,

It is clear from the research that HR must do more to demonstrate their value and improve their reputation from the top down if they are to be taken seriously as leaders of digital transformation projects.

Despite most business leaders believing HR to be ill-equipped to manage digital transformation projects, nearly half of business leaders (47 percent) said the biggest barrier to successful digital transformation was a lack of training in this area while nearly two-fifths cited a slow change to their business culture, two areas where HR can really make a difference if they are given the opportunity.

If organisations really want to embrace new ways of working, business leaders should no longer ignore HR and instead consider how they can best utilise their skills to ensure their journey is a smooth one.

Not only do HR professionals have a holistic view of the business and its functions, but as stewards of company culture can ensure any changes are successfully embedded and embraced by its people.

Digital transformation will almost certainly fail unless business leaders change their mindset and breakdown silos to involve HR in change projects.

*A new Censuswide survey for MHR.

Interested in digital transformation? We recommend the Mission Critical HR Analytics Summit 2019.





Aphrodite is a creative writer and editor specialising in publishing and communications. She is passionate about undertaking projects in diverse sectors. She has written and edited copy for media as varied as social enterprise, art, fashion and education. She is at her most happy owning a project from its very conception, focusing on the client and project research in the first instance, and working closely with CEOs and Directors throughout the consultation process. Much of her work has focused on rebranding; messaging and tone of voice is one of her expertise, as is a distinctively unique writing style in my most of her creative projects. Her work is always driven by the versatility of language to galvanise image and to change perception, as it is by inspiring and being inspired by the wondrous diversity of people with whom paths she crosses cross!

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