Presented by SAP

Digital Transformation – Prioritising the human element

By Dumisani Moyo, Head of Mid-Market: Southern Africa at SAP

In today’s increasingly interconnected world, companies need to develop modern software applications that, faster than ever before, deliver exceptional customer and employee experiences.

From big data to artificial intelligence, companies across industries are leveraging new technologies to generate insights, engage customers and employees, and deliver better results.

Digital transformation is at the heart of it, a human-centred effort; because without people, and without them actually buying into this new way of doing things, it means nothing.

For companies to truly participate in the digital economy, they need to first and foremost change the way they manage their most valuable assets, their employees.

Today’s employees require the flexibility to work from anywhere and at any time. The seamless digital experiences they enjoy in their personal lives are leading them to reject complex, cumbersome systems and processes in their professional lives.

To attract and retain the best talent, companies need to support new ways of thinking, working and managing their employees.

Digital solutions for human resource management and employee engagement are a fundamental part of driving productivity, transparency and trust.

When thinking about their digital transformation strategies, companies need to prioritise the human element by driving greater simplicity, improving employee experiences and enhancing employee engagement.

Here are ways in which companies can prioritise the human element in their digital transformation efforts.

Keep it simple and efficient

Doing business in today’s connected, uncertain, competitive and volatile environment is complex, as is the process of managing, engaging and motivating employees.

It is important that companies empower their HR teams and managers with systems that enable streamlined processes and drive efficiencies.

Eliminating manual processes and spreadsheets by automating core processes for recruitment, talent management and compensation are non-negotiable priorities.

In addition, automating the end-to-end performance management process including coaching, feedback, evaluation and recognition is a key part of connecting employees with the company’s purpose and mission.

Enhance the employee experience

Companies that are unable to break down silos using modern, connected and integrated systems find it difficult to enhance employee experience, attract top talent and meet their employees’ expectations.

The emphasis should be on pursuing a comprehensive digital transformation strategy that prioritises the customer, the operations, and most importantly, the employee.

Companies need to cover the entire workforce value chain, from new recruits to established employees as well as soon-to-be retirees. This includes ensuring an efficient ramp up process, delivering self-service tools, career development and training, compensation and benefits as well as wellness management.

The entire employee lifecycle needs to be powered by an automated and intelligent system that eliminates disjointed HR processes. To truly participate in the digital economy, companies need to be driven by modern HR systems that are automated, intuitive and make it possible to track an on-the-move digital economy workforce.

Drive productivity

Maintaining and increasing employee productivity can be a challenge in an ever evolving and unpredictable business environment. For example, the COVID disruption demonstrated the importance of implementing and using smart HR systems that see work as an activity that can be performed from anywhere and at any time.

Streamlining and simplifying processes and tasks using technology has a positive impact on employee productivity and is an essential part of freeing up employees to focus on innovation and other important tasks that drive business strategy and ultimately profitability.

Technology makes this possible by centralising employee data and ensuring that all employees have access to the relevant information in real time and from anywhere.

In addition, managers and HR are able to highlight hotspots in the workforce through analytics and zoom into the root causes; thus, empowering them to make decisions that refine talent management and shape a workforce that can execute the business strategy.

Engage your employees

Employees that are connected to the purpose and mission of the company have a strong sense of commitment; this can be a significant source of competitive advantage.

Deloitte has found that organisations that engage employees by making them feel connected to the company’s purpose and able to make a positive contribution are twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets, three times as likely to be high-performing, six times as likely to be innovative and agile, and eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes.

The ability for managers and HR to track metrics that allow them to evaluate the levels of engagement is an important part of creating a learning organisation that prioritises and fosters continuous improvements and growth.

Career growth and development are not the only priorities when it comes to employee engagement, employees also want to know that the company has their backs.

For example, the ability to communicate with each employee through automated and intelligent workflows that are triggered based on risk-level assessments is crucial.

Companies that did not have this ability found it difficult to share critical information with their employees during the lockdowns that resulted from the COVID pandemic.

When all is said and done, a large part of digital transformation is transforming the way people work.

Prioritising the human element is an integral part of every successful digital transformation.

Click here to download the IDC Analyst Connection Q&A brief – Employee Experience Management Is the New Frontier. 

Visit the SAP News Center for more updates on digital transformation or follow SAP on Twitter at @SAPNews.

This article was published in partnership with SAP.

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Digital Transformation – Prioritising the human element