HR transformation. It’s one of my favorite buzzwords in the HR tech space. But unlike some past buzzwords, HR transformation is actually a pretty big freaking deal.

It also seems to stress a lot of people out. So this week on #WorkTrends, we turned to Jill Goldstein, global practice lead for talent and HR operations at Accenture. She oversees talent and HR operations work for 130 clients, and she’s the perfect person to guide us through the challenges HR leaders are facing today — and how they’re preparing their organizations for the future.

Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.

Why Is Transformation So Intimidating?

A lot of organizations are trying to figure out how they can use HR tech to transform their business. But quite a few are struggling.

According to Goldstein, part of this is the wealth of options. We’ve all been to HR tech conferences and seen the sheer number of booths. “The pace of change is dizzying,” says Goldstein. It can be difficult for HR professionals to assess their options.

But Goldstein believes companies have perhaps been too quick to deploy certain technologies. “Many HR professionals have actually received some level of investment within their HR organization to deploy a cloud HCM,” she explains. However, those who have already deployed are having difficulty getting both full functionality and a return on their investment. Goldstein believes that companies need to be more intentional with their deployment process, recognizing that this is not just a technological change, but a business one as well. She recommends reviewing policies and programs before implementation, so that the rules used to configure the cloud HCM ease employee and manager self-service adoption, not hinder it.

Why Culture Drives Tech Implementation

Goldstein also believes that digital transformation is not focused enough on the human factor. When considering the myriad of transformational possibilities, HR organizations need to remember their core cultural responsibilities.

First is ensuring that HR’s operational services are running smoothly. Second, HR needs to make sure its various partners are empowered to deliver value throughout the business. And finally, HR needs to tend to what Goldstein calls the “spoken and unspoken needs of employees,” ensuring that those outside of HR will be able to access the information they need easily. It is an important reminder that for all the horsepower a shiny new piece of tech may have, it is nothing if we cannot use it properly.

What is the Future of HR?

There are a diversity of opinions on the future of HR. Many of us see a bright future, while a small minority worry that the effects of automation will be more far-reaching than predicted.

Consider Goldstein a recently converted optimist. “I’ll tell you that I see a horizon for HR professionals that maybe I was a little less hopeful for a few years ago,” she says.

But her optimism does not just come from excitement about technology. It comes from how technology has made HR more indispensable to the org chart. “For years, we talked about earning a seat at the table,” she explains. “In the next few years, I think we will be at the table.”

What HR professionals need to realize, though, is that since their role within an organization is changing, HR’s priorities need to change as well. WIth technology emerging, many of HR’s more traditional personnel roles may migrate completely to automated systems. This means that more and more, HR will focus increasingly on talent — because, as Goldstein puts it, one thing never changes: “People will continue to be the difference in good versus great.”

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

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