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Feature Story

September 2017

Research Shows Technology Is Transforming How Companies, Employees Interact

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Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP's digital destination for the human resources professional, has found in its latest "High Impact HR" research that new workplace technologies and changing workforce expectations are creating unprecedented opportunities for HR organizations to transform the way companies and their people interact.

"As companies focus on digital business transformation, they are discovering that the need to reskill, engage and improve the productivity of their people is paramount," said Josh Bersin, principal and founder, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP. "These pressures, coupled with a shift toward team-centric management and a renewed focus on inclusion and culture, has totally changed the focus of HR."

Demands of digitally enabled customers with high expectations are pushing HR leaders to focus on empowerment of the workforce and transformation of the workplace to create an irresistible employee experience. Bersin's research finds the highest-performing HR organizations surveyed tend to:

  • Focus on a flexible and empowering workplace experience. Leading HR teams are applying design thinking and partnering with their organization's product, sales and marketing teams to overhaul HR offerings and to create engaging employee experiences. These organizations are more than five times more effective at improving employee engagement and retention than their peers.
  • Apply advanced HR technologies to help improve work, not HR processes. High-impact organizations are increasingly experimenting with and applying new digital platforms that can improve productivity, feedback and alignment among teams, rather than just automating existing processes or creating integrated systems of record with standard HR tools.
  • Shift to understanding and optimizing networks of teams. High-impact HR organizations are redefining their talent practices around teams, instead of around hierarchies. Top organizations are 4.5 times more likely to practice effective teamwork and collaboration when they dedicate an increasing share of resources to building teams and supporting them to help drive business performance.
  • Lead the company's digital transformation efforts. While companies have struggled to make HR relevant for many years, Bersin's research shows that high-performing companies use HR to lead the digital transformation of the company. Organizations that use HR in this way are 2.5-times more likely to reach the "high-impact" level in the research.
  • Operate cross-functionally and focused on customer-facing roles. High-impact HR teams now operate across all functions in an integrated way, creating common programs and developing more levels of talent mobility. In Bersin's research, high-performing HR organizations are 51 percent more integrated across business functions and 43 percent more focused on customer-facing roles.
  • Shape and drive culture. HR leaders who promote and strengthen a culture of trust, inclusion and accountability to empower learning, innovation and performance are 5.1 times more likely to make employees feel connected and valued.
  • Revitalize and develop the HR function. These high-impact HR organizations are heavily focused on internal development and regularly outperform their peers in areas like analytics, artificial intelligence and data security.

"This research shows a whole different model for HR starting to be implemented around the world," said Bersin. "These HR organizations are in a leadership and strategic role, they are actively redesigning the organization, they are working directly with customer-facing groups, and they experiment and leverage technology to try to make work life better."

High-Impact HR organizations are those that have reached the highest levels of maturity (Levels 3 and 4) as classified by the Bersin high-impact methodology. This methodology outlines a progression of capabilities for advancing in HR maturity, defined as demonstrating practices that increasingly drive business- and workforce - related outcomes. Thirty-four percent of organizations in our 2017 High-Impact HR research are identified as high-impact.