One of my favorite speakers at UNLEASH America was Jason Averbook. If you’re looking for HR “a-ha!” moments, he’s your guy. He is the CEO and co-founder of the HR consulting firm Leapgen. Jason is an agent for change in HR, and the author of the new book, The Ultimate Guide to a Digital Workforce Experience. He spoke about the power of technology to transform how we work, starting with a focus on people and process. Here are highlights from his keynote.
You Need a Workforce Strategy
“You need a digital strategy, and I call it the workforce strategy, not an HR strategy,” Averbook says. And he advises against buying technology until the workforce strategy is in place. If you don’t have a strategy but you’re putting technology in place, Averbook says your chances of being successful are very slim. “It’s like getting on a plane without knowing where it’s going,” he says.
He says we’re placing too much emphasis on technology. Technology vendors can’t make you successful if you don’t have a strategy.
The Equation for HR Success
Looking for a formula for your HR strategy? “The right equation is made up of mindset, people, processing, technology,” he says.
Mindset: Building and creating the vision and strategy. The most successful teams have a full commitment to and acceptance of change, a focus on transparency and empathy, and a plan that’s broader than implementing transactional tools.
People: You need people who understand the vision and the journey ahead, and who appreciate the benefits of using technology and improving processes.
Process: Make sure your business outcomes are defined. Then, design clear processes that focus on the user. Make sure everyone understands how to best leverage technology and adopt new processes.
Technology: Technology comes last in this equation. The tech is designed to support people and processes.
The Workforce-Experience Mindset
Once you understand all of the pieces of the puzzle, you can start to roll out a workforce-experience mindset.
Jack Welch once said, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” But changing your organization requires a mindset focused on growth. “I spend 80% of my time speaking to HR leadership teams about how to think differently, getting the bridge for the people to say, ‘Okay, now we’re ready for digital.’”
Then, he pushes leaders’ attention to their people. He asks questions: “What do they feel and how do they feel? How do you want them to feel, from an empathy standpoint?”
Once you’ve focused on your people, you can reimagine your processes so they’re not processes for you in HR, but they’re processes for employees who didn’t get hired to do HR work. He says people don’t want to spend copious amounts of time searching for an old and dated policy, and then have to call a business partner to find it.
When you develop a workforce strategy and a workforce-experience mindset, Averbook says, you’re ready for the technology. “If you start with the mindset and the people and the process, I guarantee your technology deployment is going to be 1000% more successful.”
“Nothing will change unless you change,” he concludes. “People are ready. Processes can be ready. Technology is ready. Are you ready?”