CIO and IT leaders are frustrated about “not having a seat at the table”
when the executive committees debate important strategic decisions.
But when I speak to CHRO, human resource leaders, learning and development
officers, and HR IT specialists, they question why they aren’t directly
involved in digital transformation strategies.
It’s a big, strategic miss when CIOs leave out HR or only request human
resources to take on administrative responsibilities and tactical
Digital transformation leaders acknowledge it’s working with people –
customers, employees, and partners – that’s the most important and
challenging aspect of transformation. CMOs and marketing leaders are
typically involved in the transformation from a market and customer
perspective, and similarly, HR leaders should be participating from an
So what are HR’s roles in digital transformation? Many! But in this post, I
will concentrate on their roles in uplifting digital transformation.
Three reasons IT leaders need HR’s partnership in digital transformation
Here’s the backdrop of why I know CIO and IT leaders need HR’s participation
I want teams participating in digital transformation initiatives to feel
safe. Their creativity and drive are inversely proportional to the stress
from demanding stakeholders, managing too many priorities, and resolving
the complexities in transforming business processes.
I want aspiring transformation leaders – what I call Digital Trailblazers
– to feel supported and not stressed by the target on their backs.
Organizations will always be transforming because the innovations
delivered today will require ongoing enhancements and quickly become
tomorrow’s legacy technologies. Transformation must become a core
organizational competency, and Digital Trailblazers in IT, HR, and other
departments must partner on this objective.
I speak to many digital transformation teams about the challenges of always
transforming. It’s tiring and emotionally draining. It’s not easy going from
one set of accomplishments to the next set of objectives without much time
to catch one’s breadth.
How HR leaders can uplift digital transformations
HR leaders can take on many roles in digital transformations, and I will
cover more of them in future posts. But here are several ways HR leaders can
uplift digital transformations:
Redefine rewards and incentives for employees leading,
participating, and being collaborative partners on digital transformation
Take active roles working with detractors because it takes strong
personal skills and lots of time to change mindsets, especially when
people’s roles and jobs change dramatically.
Create learning and development programs for Digital Trailblazers
who need richer programs than skill development and generic leadership
training. They require transformational coaching and identifying
new areas for personal growth.
Cheer team successes by developing employee engagement programs
that draw attention to transformation initiatives and objectives while
championing their leaders and teams.
Elevate the organization’s technical and data acumen by scheduling
education sessions and sponsoring
citizen data science
citizen development programs.
Bottom line: Digital transformation is about changing the business
model, and that helps drive a new future of work. How can HR not be
involved, helpful, and strategic in uplifting employee experiences? They can
and must, but CIO and Digital Trailblazers must give them a seat at