Tuesday 5 June 2018

#HRCongress18 Dave Ulrich on Digital HR at the CHRO Virtual Summit

I was working on client and other things at home last week but did manage to catch the HR Congress' virtual CHRO summit. It's the first virtual conference I've been to for quite a while and whilst I found it as socially unsatisfying as last time I did one - which may just have been because I was working at home (but my suggestion: linked Twitter / Slack chat embedded in the system rather than text based chat page) I thought the content was really good.

Given my current interests and project work I was particularly interested in Dave Ulrich's perspectives on digital. I also agree with his perspectives that it's useful to focus on both HR's support for digital business, and how digital changes HR itself (as above).

On our support for digital business, I like Dave's focus on helping the business get its act together around its intent, plans and resources to become digital. Particularly as one of the major challenges any business faces in doing digital is managing the people changes associated with this (eg see this article from McKinsey).

I do however think that there is more. Much more. Changing the nature of the people employed (more contingent), the way they are organised (more networked), and the skills they possess (more digital) are all key tasks for HR to take on. And which are all absolutely core, not just tangentially related, to digital business.

(In fact I would really argue that there are three things HR needs to focus on for digital which are the business, the people / organisation, and how it does HR itself. Eg in my Digital HR course for Symposium I focus on all these three or four things.)

In terms of HR's own digital agenda, I like Dave's model (below), though I still prefer my own! (I guess I would). Mine suggests the three levels are about efficiency, effectiveness and engagement / collaboration, which is also similar to Josh Bersin's split into systems of record, talent management systems, systems of engagement and systems of productivity from his 2018 Technology Disruptions report (he just splits engagement and productivity whilst I think they're the same level of value, just focused on individuals and groups respectively.)

You can find out more about my model in this post from 2015, or this one from 2011, or even my fist book from 2007 - published more than 10 year's ahead of Bersin's report (although my credibility as a futurist is rather tarnished by my rather bizarre claim from 2011 that social media wouldn't support any new business models - sorry Facebook!).

The key thing in all these other models is that information isn't a stage, it's a complementary aspect of all three levels (efficiency, effectiveness and experience), linked to value for money, added value and created value in the value triangle.

For example, The Social Organization I write about social and other digital technologies, the way they produce exhaust data and how this can be used to inform analytics and the generation os new insight. But it's generally not the main purpose for using the social / digital technologies.

Given my current focus on The Social Organization, I'm also pleased to see connection and teams / networks at the top of both Dave's and Josh's models.

Dave noted that social isolation is the main cause of mortality and that if we want to be happy and healthy we need to ensure we have good relationships.

All true. But the key point in terms of digital business is that once you've implemented digital, including robots, AI, contingent working, etc, the only remaining differentiator for your core workforce is their social relationships. So it's not just a human / creating value thing to do, but a central requirement for digital business success.

And why is suppose it's so critical for virtual learning platforms to take social connection seriously too.

If you're interested in the proper HR Congress (which was a really social event last time I went) you may also be interested in these posts from that event in 2016.

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