Embracing digital transformation in people management

Once considered a buzzphrase, “digital transformation” is now a concrete imperative for all businesses – and not least in the realm of people management. Despite BCG survey data showing that we recognize and acknowledge its importance, organizations seem to find themselves lacking in crucial digital capabilities in multiple disciplines. The need to modernize and digitize has never been more critical.

Lagging digitization is a pressing concern

Digitization is a pivotal area in which people managers cannot afford to fall behind. Many businesses admit trailing behind the zeitgeist in multiple digital arenas – making it imperative that companies put digital transformation high on their list of aspirations. Failing to speed up adoption can severely hamper your people management priorities.

Core priorities in digital transformation

While the specifics of digital transformation may vary for each company, the core priorities of strategic workforce planning, talent acquisition, upskilling and reskilling, and the overarching digitization process are universal, integral elements of the overarching digitization process. To make a success of these initiatives, however, you’ll need change management, leadership behaviors, and buy-in at C-suite level.

Digital capabilities: a broad imperative

Digital capabilities underpin a multitude of people management topics. The core priorities above stand out as areas that demand immediate attention. But it is crucial to recognize that digital transformation is not confined to these aspects alone. Agile principles and HR digital solutions are equally integral elements of the broad spectrum of capabilities in which organizations should be investing. As we move into 2024, proactive spending on digital technology is essential for unlocking a multitude of foundational capabilities.

The role of people management in addressing business challenges

BCG’s survey reveals that your people management function is central to addressing current business challenges. Three-quarters of respondents identified people challenges and talent gaps as their most significant business issues, highlighting the critical role that people management has to play in overcoming hurdles. Fifty-three percent rated digital transformation and innovation as their top challenge, again highlighting organizations’ need to enhance their digital capabilities.

The keys to successful digital transformation

The journey toward successful digital transformation requires a strategic approach. Six key factors outlined by the survey can dramatically increase the chance of a successful digital transformation:

  1. Define success and map out the path to achieve it
  2. Secure commitment from leadership and empower middle managers
  3. Appoint top talent with the right mix of digital expertise and organizational experience
  4. Make agile a cultural norm, not just a buzzword
  5. Track progress against clear, quantified goals
  6. Aim for a modular, flexible, and interoperable technology and data platform aligned with business needs

Driving digital transformation

BCG’s findings place great emphasis on the importance of outcomes-focused, incremental, cost-effective, and sustainable transformations. Assess your company’s position, align your digital transformation strategy with business goals, implement high-impact use cases, manage talent, transform your ways of working, and gain management buy-in to drive technology transformation.

The future: drawing an achievable digital transformation roadmap

The survey found that only about 30% of companies are able to navigate digital transformation successfully. Clearly a new approach is needed, one which focuses on building companies of the future by blending digital and human capabilities. The emphasis on incremental, outcome-focused transformations reflects the need for a measured and sustained approach to your organization’s digital survival strategy. Get ready to embrace this revolution in which an integration of human and technical capabilities will propel your digital transformation forward.