Why ‘Digital Enablement’ Should Be a Top Priority for HR Leaders
We are at the edge of a new paradigm — the realm of human resources is expanding faster than ever before.
In his landmark report “HR Technology Market 2019: Disruption Ahead,” Josh Bersin outlines 12 key areas of focus for HR leaders. These include diversity and inclusion, compensation, employee productivity, career development, and more. His points cover a broad range of topics, but there’s something that each has in common — the need for advanced digital tools.
In order for these investments to pay off, it is critical HR leaders keep one thing front and center: digital enablement.
Unless your employees can use your digital tools to their maximum capabilities, it will be impossible to take that leap into the new digital era.
Investment in HR tech is booming
The HR technology market grew by 10% in 2018, according to Bersin’s report. The average large company now has 9.1 core talent apps, up from seven in 2018, and spends $310 per employee per year. That’s 29% more than last year.
With more money being spent comes higher stakes. Digital tools that go unused or create bottlenecks instead of efficiencies will have major consequences for both users and company finances.
Because of this, Bersin suggests companies will be more discretionary with their tech investments going forward, with a greater focus on ROI, productivity, and digital enablement.
4 areas where digital enablement matters most
I won’t discuss all 12 topics Bersin outlined in his report. I’ll focus on the four that I believe wage the biggest influence over employee success.
- The employee experience
- Employee engagement and culture
1. Raise employee productivity to the next level
Unlike 20 years ago, when processes like employee management and payroll were all conducted behind the scenes, the emergence of cloud-based platforms enables employees to interface with key HR tasks themselves.
While this inclusiveness can help streamline HR processes across the organization, these tools “must also be useful, productive, and engaging to employees directly,” Bersin states.
What we’ve learned at WalkMe is that it doesn’t take long for the initial excitement associated with implementing a promising new HR tool to fade. Usability problems, lack of help resources, and employee frustration tear down any potential productivity gains the software offers.
It’s not enough to just manage HR functions. We need tools that enable productivity and actually help employees get their work done. That’s where digital enablement comes into the picture.
The only way to help employees boost productivity on these platforms is to take measures that ensure digital enablement. On-screen, real-time guidance, contextual learning, and knowledge sharing all support this goal.
Whether you select a vendor that has these capabilities or implement an added solution that enables them, the key is understanding digital enablement enables productivity.
2. Don’t underestimate the role of tech in the employee experience
The definition of “employee experience” includes everything from the physical office environment to career development opportunities to the internet speed. While once, offering a great employee experience was a secondary concern, it has risen to the top (or needs to) of every HR leader’s agenda.
Providing an outstanding employee experience is not only critical for retaining talent and boosting engagement, but it’s also a major part of the brand image potential candidates look at.
With this in mind, HR should seek platforms that are not just easy to use, but that also simplify and even automate factors that affect the employee experience, according to Bersin.
Because so much work is now performed on one software program or another, an employee’s experience using digital tools has an outsized effect on their overall experience at work. Frustration and stress due to poor usability or processes that are too complex can drag down an otherwise great employee experience.
Instead, look for ways to make using your digital tools simple and seamless.
Simplicity is core to the digital enablement definition. If a process is confusing and time-consuming, it’s not empowering. It doesn’t allow users to do their work efficiently — or without a headache, for that matter.
In the digital era, separating the employee experience from digital enablement will not serve you well.
3. Maximize employee engagement and strengthen the culture
Today, a broad market place of engagement and culture assessment tools exists to help HR leaders understand what’s working and what’s not.
The accuracy of these tools is fundamental to creating effective employee engagement strategies. But even the best surveys will fall short of their potential without digital enablement built in.
In other words, if your employees can’t easily complete the surveys, they won’t.
Here’s a real-life example of digital enablement success. Here at WalkMe, we decided to administer an enterprise-wide engagement survey to better understand how our employees feel about their roles and the company, where their pain points lie, and how we can fix them.
The benchmark for completing such surveys is around 40%. After the survey was live for just two days, we already hit 50% completion across the entire organization. After a week, we had a 93% response rate.
We used WalkMe, our own digital enablement tool, to achieve this. By making engagement with the survey easy (through pop-ups and reminders on employees’ Gmail accounts), getting it done was a no-brainer.
4. Focus on “learning in the flow of work”
“We are in a new era of corporate technology,” Bersin states. While companies used to prioritize LMS tools — evidenced by an $8 billion investment in the last decade — that genre of training solutions is fading out.
Today, tools that support “learning in the flow of work” are best suited to prepare employees for a fast-paced digital workplace. Why? Because they have digital enablement built in.
Pulling an employee away from her work to complete a software training tutorial or watch a demo not only wastes time, but it’s also usually not effective. Most people forget half of what they learn after a day. Instead, digital training solutions that enable learning in the flow of work provide the guidance necessary to complete unfamiliar tasks on new platforms with ease.
With tools that enable contextual learning, employees don’t need prior experience to complete even complex processes. Powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence, they are built to understand a user’s goals, anticipate where friction might occur, and proactively deploy help.
Digital enablement will drive HR success
In the digital workplace, you need a digital mindset. But at the same time, you can’t forget that employees are human beings. All of the emotional and experiential factors that affect your workforce’s daily life bear an impact on their ability to contribute to the organization.
It’s your job to empower employees to succeed. With digital enablement at the core of each realm of HR, you’ll head in the right direction.