The Evolving Role of HR and Finance in Supporting Digital Transformation

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With 2020 marking the beginning of a new decade, the relentless drive of digital transformation has now coalesced with the new realities of the coronavirus pandemic, creating an unprecedented time for businesses and consumers alike. While company leaders are focused on employee communications and trying to execute business continuity plans, many of which may not have envisaged this particular scenario, there is an ongoing need for sustained adaptability.

Recent research by EY has shown that almost half of company bosses in 45 countries are speeding up plans to automate their businesses as workers are forced to stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Some 41% said they were investing in accelerating automation as businesses prepared for a post-crisis world. They conclude that companies have to be both predictive and proactive in their decision-making to preserve business continuity and build enterprise resilience.

Inevitably, much of this systemic change is being led by two teams that have become increasingly intertwined: finance and HR/people. Both functions are going through significant change as they seek to lead and manage this transformation to a more forward-looking view of the business. This may require different mind-sets and a more agile approach in how business is run.

According to the recent Sage CFO 3.0 report, which surveyed more than 500 finance executives in the United States, 76% of CFOs believe they are the ones who drive digital transformation in their business, and nearly half (46%) are facing increased demand to provide overall business counsel. They are no longer just the “number crunchers”; they are the leaders other departments look to for strategic guidance.

Similarly, in the Sage People Changing Face of HR Report, a staggering 69% of HR leaders anticipate employees’ expectations of HR to completely change in the next 3 years alone. And, according to that same report, many HR professionals don’t feel ready to meet or exceed those new expectations.

In fact, fewer than one in three respondents would rate their HR skills and competency levels as expert today, with 86% of respondents believing HR skill sets need to change. This means incorporating data analytics, behavioral science, and knowledge of technology into the skill set, as well as working with the finance function, to address digital transformation, creating more flexible and adaptive businesses as they navigate uncharted times.

Shifting Company Priorities to an HR-Focused Mind-Set

In order to truly embrace digital transformation and their changing role, HR leaders will have to work with the CFO/head of finance to train and educate their workforces around the role in both digitalization and the use of agile methodologies in business frameworks. They will have to not only be aware of transcendent technologies on the horizon but also take the initiative to build in flexibility in business decisions through all levels of the company.

As a result, the HR/people function will likely have a bigger and more impactful role in the business. Just as the CFO has shifted from a number-cruncher to a strategic counselor, the chief people officer (or respective title) can also add more value to the business by acting as a change agent, focusing on the relationships between employee and customer experiences while considering the impact of HR processes on financial business performance. Continue reading here…

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Source: HR Daily Advisor

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