The Four Keys to Digital Organization Transformation Success

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‘Digital HR’ is one of those dangerously vague terms that doesn’t really describe accurately how the ‘Digital’ and ‘HR’ elements interact and impact the business. In fact, it’s a term that’s close to overtaking ‘agile’ in throw-away water-cooler conversations around the HR world. Despite this latest buzz, the shift towards digitization is nothing new in the wider business landscape (as any Marketing professional can attest to). It’s only really been over the last few years that HR has become more cognizant of its new role as a digital organization transformation guide.

As with any type of change management program, there’s a lot of moving parts to take into consideration when faced with a digital transformation. To start with, making the most of digital transformations requires a specific set skills and competencies that span across the business – but crucially that start with senior HR and business leaders. HR professionals need to not only possess both the technical and adaptive skills to lead with authority, they must also have an acute understanding of how their own roles are shifting in the new digital organization.

Furthermore, at the base of every transformation lies the people of the organization, the employees themselves, who must remain at the absolute core of ongoing business success. Digital HR is therefore about technology and its impact on both the business and its people. But more than that, it represents the nexus of four key elements in every organization’s journey towards digital maturity; people, strategy, leadership, and culture.

Given the pressing mandate for HR and business professionals to embrace digital and its associated transformation tasks, it’s now no longer simply enough to understand how ‘Digital HR’ will impact your organization. It’s time for HR professionals to start taking steps towards leading the digital transformation in their company to ensure the business has the skills and tools to succeed in the current market. But what do you need to focus on if you’re an HR professional facing an upcoming digital transformation? Here’s a short summary of four core areas to consider.


While digital technologies have the immense potential to disrupt and augment organizations, surviving a the current market requires more than just technical acumen. Business leaders and HR professionals in particular need to harness both technical and adaptive changes to make the most of the transformation in the long term. This means that a multi-skilled, human workforce sits at the core of every transformation. After all, what use is the latest technology when the skills, culture, and strategies that your people possess are not up to standard?


A culture that supports digital transformation is a marker of maturing companies. These organizations have a strong propensity to encourage risk taking, foster innovation and develop collaborative work environments. In these times, flexibility, agility, a taste for healthy conflict, and a whole range of cultural attributes have crossed over into the realm of strategy and skill. The successful digital organization transformation cases have shown the value of how a healthy cultural manifesto finds its place in a living, breathing, organization – culture is therefore no mere checklist.


When it comes to developing a more advanced digital strategy, HR must simply get involved at the earliest possible stage. In a recent report from Josh Bersin, it was found that when HR is involved in a digital transformation, it is 2.5-3 times more likely to be a success. In order to get the strategy for digital right, HR leaders have to get involved early, and both drive and support the company along the entire journey. HR has the mandate to assess the resources within the company, to plan, analyze, and execute the necessary tasks required to see the digital strategy through to the company’s desired goal.


Being a leader is not easy, and being a leader in the digital age of 2019 is no easier. The pace growth for digital technologies is not slowing down, and it has already had a significant impact on the workplace. In order to develop your digital leadership skills to cope with the transformations taking place, HR leaders need to develop and hone a range of skills and competencies that are increasingly important. There’s a need for agility, mindfulness, mental flexibility, being contextually aware of the market, being comfortable with ambiguity, motivating virtual teams, managing temporary workers, and potentially much more. Steps should therefore be taken to develop leadership acumen by every professional on personal level, but also as a constituent part of every company’s long term business strategy.

To assist HR professionals in making sense of the oncoming digital transformation wave, we have created four unique masterclasses at The Digital HR Summit Amsterdam that address these four key elements. The masterclasses are intended to provide an overview of how to embark upon a successful digital organization transformation from HR’s perspective. Far from being mutually exclusive, exploring these topics further will help to gain a better understanding of how to ensure that digital transformation projects are long-lasting successes – and more than just water-cooler talk.

The 3rd Digital HR Innovation Summit in The Hague, April 27-28, will feature a selection of sessions that will explore the ongoing implications of digital technologies on HR and the business in general. Make sure you follow The HR Congress LinkedIn page to stay posted on all the latest news, updates and content from the world of work!

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