Digital Transformation + Insights

The Role of the HR Function as a Digital Transformation Catalyst

Is your HR team equipped to support a digital future? With technological change accelerating rapidly, organisations are increasingly preparing for digital disruptions to business operations, systems, processes and employees. However, as with other types of change that impact organisational culture, the barriers to implementing digital transformation can seem daunting and can often fail to drive the requisite change that will truly transform an organisation.

Such is the pace of change that effective transformation is defined not by what you do, but by how you do it. As the people “interface” within an organisation, the HR function is now being asked to help their organisations connect strategy and culture and engage employees to adopt new behaviours and approaches. Digital transformation is just as much about culture and leadership as it is about the technology driving the change itself. Accordingly, linking the digital experience with the required capabilities to deliver digital change is no longer a “nice to have”, but an important mandate of the modern, strategic HR function.

To play its strategic role in helping its organisation to successfully implement digital transformation, the HR function needs to articulate the “why” and “what” of the change required while avoiding unnecessary jargon to communicate the mission. In this process, employees should be considered as an end-user and provided with communication channels to seek their views on any new technology and the change process prior to implementation.

To reinforce digital behaviours, it is important to remember that digital transformation values collaboration far more than individual effort. Identify and empower other internal and external change agents, preferably in different teams, units and functions, to cascade messaging and listen out for resistors or opportunities to reinforce the desired message. It is vital to be nimble. Have a plan to change for the beginning, but ensure it remains flexible to adjustments based on political, external and internal influencers. Also practice what you preach. Without the appropriate underlying systems, processes and practices, it is virtually impossible to extend and embed new behaviours throughout the organisation.

In a world that’s digitalising at a fast pace, HR teams that “lean into” new technologies that transform the workforce and the way work is done, resulting in a positive impact on business results and employee experience, will be recognised as the key game changer.

Read the full article here, also featured in HKIHRM


For further information about how Engine can support digital culture change, please contact Laura Barker, Executive Director, Organisational Transformation at