With the digitisation, digitalisation and automation of processes, human resources departments are evolving into a new profession, into a more central role within the company.

Under the condition that this one is well-prepared for the inevitable digital transformation.

Although the HR department no longer produces pay slips or manages leave by hand, it must now face new challenges arising from new technologies.

The management of data within the company and its security must be at the heart of the challenges facing HR departments. Similarly, new technologies are bringing personnel management and user experience management, which is important to marketing departments, closer together.

Here is a brief overview of the changes facing HR departments, but also of the opportunities that digital transformation brings to companies.

New tools

The rise of new technologies has had a lasting impact on the way human resources departments work. Office automation tools, the automation of certain tasks and specialised software no longer need to demonstrate their effectiveness. The daily tasks of the HR department are made easier and the follow-up of employees is more focused.

New tools have also emerged. For example, an internal company social network brings cohesion, efficiency and makes it easier to retrieve and answer questions from employees.

And if there is one department that knows the importance of optimal internal communication, it is the HR department, not only to respond to employee demand but also to liaise with management.

In addition, digital tools make it easier to prepare and carry out les entretiens professionnels, and even to multiply them easily throughout the year. This novelty introduces a new way of staying in close contact with the reality of employees’ daily lives.

The creation of a company’s own cloud is also a major advance that brings unparalleled flexibility to human resources management.

Analyses of data from internal exchanges make it possible to report almost daily on the smooth running of the company. HR departments can anticipate future problems by meticulously analysing all this data.

Data analysis software also makes it easier to find employees. The position to be filled, its place and importance in the company’s organisation chart can be defined more precisely. Similarly, HR will be able to see in seconds the profiles of employees already in the company who fit the position. Internal recruitment saves companies time and money, it’s proven.

Obviously, Big Data associated with the Cloud poses the problem of data security.

During the coronavirus health crisis and the introduction of telework, new concerns emerged around this issue. Indeed, the boundary between private and professional spheres has become a new concern to manage. On the one hand, these two worlds should not overlap, on the other hand, the issues of personal and work-related data security have emerged.

HR departments must therefore anticipate security concerns, including in the day-to-day running of the company, by ensuring that all interactions are carried out within the framework of the Federal Data Protection Act, and the famous RGPD (General Data Protection Regulation).

There is also another pitfall of digital transformation: the massive flow of this same data must be analysed to separate the wheat from the chaff, the interesting from the rest. Human resources departments must also ensure that they are not overwhelmed by this flood of information.

New challenges

The digitalisation of a company aims above all at facilitating any work process and increasing its efficiency with two fundamental tools: automation and dematerialisation.

However, digital transformation also introduces a new paradigm within the company.

The implementation of the Cloud, the speed of exchanges or project management, for example, are gradually reducing the pyramidal and sectorised vision of the company. Thanks to integrated management tools, for example, real agility and collaboration can be established between the marketing and production departments. There is less and less compartmentalisation between departments and this collaboration introduces a new and highly effective transversal management approach.

Here too, HR departments have a front row seat to this new development.

To put it simply, the revolution in new technologies is gradually transforming HR from a rather peculiar secretariat to a real internal management service.

This transversality is an opportunity for companies. It introduces a dynamic and efficient management of the company and also gives rise to a different corporate culture. All employees become involved in all ongoing projects and see the involvement of their work in real time within the system.

This belonging to the company’s culture is reinforced by a new vision of the employee that comes directly from marketing: the user experience or customer experience.

Thanks to software tools chosen and customised for the company, thanks to easier communication within departments and thanks to the famous transversality of management, the HR department obtains a very precise vision of the quality of life at work.

The information collected, its analysis and the cross-referencing of the data reveal, for example, psychosocial difficulties, concerns about the use of time, and mismatches between the work required and the work done.

In the same way as the customer journey is analysed before, during and after the purchase, the employee journey can be followed closely. The central position of human resources departments and the influence of these analyses on the life of the company are clearly evident in this area.

This is also why HR departments must be at the centre of the digital transformation and accompany it at all levels.

New perspectives

As has been pointed out, the digital revolution and digitalisation are impacting all departments in a company, and the HR department is becoming the nerve centre of these profound and inevitable changes.

It is up to the HR director to drive the digitisation dynamic based, among other things, on internal communication.

We need to rethink management by analysing needs, anomalies and production bottlenecks and find software solutions. These new digital tools must introduce transversality, a global vision and easier management of all internal sectors.

The human resources department will be responsible for initiating internal audits, analysing needs and accompanying management towards a winning digital strategy. Training sessions will also certainly be needed.

Finally, the massive arrival of digital tools in the company may not be well received by employees who are little or poorly informed, or who are reluctant to use new technologies. Here again, the role of the HR department is central: from the very beginning of the creation of the digital transformation strategy, it must integrate all employees. Not only is it a way of calming those who are a little scared, but it is also a good way of identifying employees who are more comfortable with the digital world. They can be allies, relays, ambassadors of these changes and why not valuable trainers combining knowledge of the digital world with that of the company.

In conclusion, like many sectors (such as marketing or accounting), human resources departments will benefit from this digital transformation by transforming themselves.

From simple offices issuing pay slips and juggling staff leave, human resources are gradually becoming a valuable management tool for any company director. In addition, the focus on staff welfare, often neglected in ‘old-fashioned’ HR, has finally become a main concern.