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Digital Advantages for Human Resources

Renaud Cornu-Emieux, responsable de la Chaire Talents de la transformation digitale, et enseignant-chercheur à GEM
Published on
10 May 2017

Human resources can be at the center of a company’s digital transformation. However, for a successful experience, HR must collaborate with IT and marketing departments. As digital changes come about at a nerve wracking pace, their implementation can be complex and challenging. How can HR participate in this change and support employees?

HR departments were some of the first departments in a company to use digital tools. Online recruitment based on relaying job offers via websites and social networks was used very early on by headhunters. Digital tools have also become essential for everyday HR activities such as requesting vacation time via a company's intranet.

"The digital transformation is also playing a crucial role in how companies manage employee skills and various company strategies," adds Renaud Cornu-Emieux, Head of the Chaire Talents de la transformation digitale, and a researcher and professor at Grenoble Ecole de Management.

Mapping skills

Digital tools can be very useful to anticipate future skills and jobs. Creating a digital skill tree enables companies to map out their current skill sets based on each individual's capacities. "The goal is to anticipate needs for training and help employees develop new skills. A skill map can also help identify areas that are lacking and require new recruits," explains Renaud. "Companies are undergoing very rapid changes and digital tools enable them to be agile in their response as HR planning and decisions have to be carried out at a very quick pace."

Overcoming complexity

The digital transformation also implicates IT and marketing departments in particular. For Renaud, this implies collaboration: "HR, IT and marketing have to collaborate closely. During a digital transformation, companies don't necessarily know where they will be in two years' time. Tradition ROI analysis simply doesn't work as a result. You have to advance based on risk analysis." Risk analysis requires the collaboration of HR, IT and marketing in order to have an overall view of products and services to be delivered over the short term. "Creating the right infrastructure, processes and organization to deal with this challenge is a collaborative effort. And HR plays an essential role in identifying which talent must be involved in the process."

Changing expectations for recruitment

"Young talent is no longer interested in a 40 year linear career!" highlights Renaud. "Younger high potential talent no longer have long term career plans. Instead they seek to develop skills and added-value through the accumulation of experience."

As confirmed by the EMSI's Big Data Advanced Master's, recruitment for new careers such as data scientist is also greatly impacted by the lack of available talent. As a result, companies must rely all the more on data management to be agile and efficient in their recruitment process.

Keys to a successful digital transformation

  • Forget about ROI! Manage risk instead!
  • Implement benchmarking that goes beyond your traditional activities in order to capitalize on new ideas.
  • Accept that vertical management is hardly adapted to times of change.
  • Build on agile, network-based management models that perform well during times of change.

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