‘The role of HR is changing’: Study reveals the impact of digital transformation on HR

A recent study by eProcurement specialists Wax Digital has revealed that over 40% of HR professionals have experienced changes in their job because of digital transformation.

The survey examines how digital transformation affects management roles in four UK industry sectors, including HR, IT, procurement and finance.

Less than half of the HR leaders surveyed claimed to have received sufficient training in new technologies before they were introduced – something experts believe could be creating a knowledge disconnect in the HR industry.

Ed Johnson, CEO of PushFar, who contributed his views to the Wax Digital study, said:

The training we’ve observed to users of new systems and technologies , has mostly been weak. Larger suppliers think that their systems are easy-to-use, and think training isn’t necessary as a result.”

The study also found that only 12% of senior HR employees feel their company ranks above the average for digital implementation..

Paul Freeman, MD of Global Knowledge, comments on this issue:

“Maintaining quality and governance in this new digital environment without curtailing the benefits of immediate, relevant skills transfer is an industry-wide challenge.

“Whilst the HR sector is collectively aware of having to make practical changes regarding digitalisation, finding the best solutions is often easier said than done.”

As well as impacting businesses as a whole, 54% of HR leaders said that it’s made their job more challenging.

Denise Jennings, Head of HR at RotaCloud, believes that communication and training are crucial to the success of a planned digital rollout, commenting:

“Communication is key when introducing new technology into an organisation. People can sometimes be worried or cautious – the fear of change is very real amongst employees who are used to doing things a certain way!

“Communication at the start of the process to explain the reasons behind the changes, and the outcome expected as a result of the change, is crucial.”

And yet, despite this perceived lack of training and support, senior employees do feel that emerging technologies have made work more efficient.  72% of HR professionals claim that digitalisation has made them more effective at their job, suggesting that, despite setbacks at the implementation stage, digital transformation does have the power to drive efficiency for HR.

Daniel Ball, Business Development Director at Wax Digital, commented on the findings of the State of Digital Transformation report in relation to the HR sector:

“While digitalisation has naturally propagated industries like IT, implementation has been slower in sectors like HR, where processes and methods of working are decidedly more traditional.

“However, what is made clear by the study is that, when implemented correctly with the appropriate training and support, digital technologies can boost engagement and have a positive impact on individual roles within the HR sector.”