The Biggest Mistakes IT Leaders Make When Planning an HR Digital Transformation

Author Mike Marschke Date Dec 22 2020

HR, a human-focused industry by definition, is increasingly finding itself spearheading digital transformation within their organizations. Whether it is using cutting-edge technology to attract and build a talent pipeline or onboarding new candidates remotely, HR departments understand how important technology and automation are for increased productivity. However, digital transformation doesn’t necessarily mean cutting out humans in favor of automated systems either.

In this article, we will discuss some of the top mistakes IT leaders make when planning an HR digital transformation, and how to avoid them. We’ll also talk about how digital transformation is affecting organizations around the world, and why a digital mindset is important for HR professionals. 

Finally, we’ll touch on the importance of correctly integrating technology in all HR operations and how this can not only make HR teams more productive but boost profits for the entire business as a whole. 

Why is a digital mindset a must for HR professionals?

Recruiters are the face of an organization. They are generally among the first people candidates interact with, and can play a huge role in creating a good impression of your company. 

Digital transformation is defined as the evolution of a business based on traditional, manual processes to a business that has technology at the center of all its operations. Embracing digital transformation is a must for talent acquisition because it can automate work with AI-based tools and reduce time spent on repetitive tasks, thus freeing up time to focus on more important issues. 

A user-friendly onboarding or training experience improves candidate and employee experience, while making communication easier on all levels. HR professionals are increasingly expected to be the champions of new technology and must work hand-in-hand with IT leaders to manage logins, digital enrollment and implement training for new talent. 

If your organization lacks the digital tools to attract, engage and inspire new and existing talent, it won’t be long until the competition does. Consider that 92% of businesses report that they are increasing focus on digital transformation in the coming years. It will certainly be difficult, if not impossible, for the remaining 8% to keep up the pace in attracting both talent and customers. 

Top 7 mistakes IT leaders make when planning an HR digital transformation

It’s obvious that embracing digital transformation is a must for organizations that want to be successful. Here are the top mistakes IT leaders make when planning an HR digital transformation, and how to avoid them. 

1 – Focusing on the technology, and not the humans using it

High quality HR software and technology is absolutely essential for a well-run company or organization. However, too many HR leaders get tunnel vision when it comes to choosing the right tools for their business. 

While it’s easy to get excited about new technology that streamlines everything within the HR department, companies must place equal emphasis on adopting software that provides benefits for employees, hiring managers and department leaders as well. Equally important is ensuring that any new technology is compatible with existing technology or processes to avoid speed bumps in implementation.

2 – Losing sight of the goals

Investing in digital transformation at the HR level must help the business overall with measurable results. Adopting new hiring software must provide a clear return on investment in terms of streamlining high-volume recruiting or scaling your ability to attract highly qualified talent. 

In fact, digital transformation can be a catalyst for incredible new growth for your company, both in terms of revenue and personnel. This should be very welcome to hear when you consider that one out of five businesses do not even make it past their first year because they are unprepared to market effectively to their customers. It’s important to have metrics that are easily measurable, or otherwise, you won’t even know if your goals are being met.

3 – Forcing new technology on employees when it’s not necessary

Let’s say your organization just adopted a nifty digital tool, and you want to encourage everyone to use it. Simply implement a new policy requiring that the digital tool be used, and forbid employees from continuing doing manual work even if they prefer it, right? Wrong. If it’s not a big hindrance operationally, allowing  employees to continue doing their jobs “the old way” will foster a natural, organic embrace of new technology. 

4 – Letting technology isolate employees, rather than building stronger teams

Remember that communication is key for any new software. If new technology fails to build stronger systems, better dialogue and stronger teams, you may as well not have it. Many people lament our new technology-driven world and claim it hinders human connection, but that doesn’t have to be true. The right software will help unite people rather than isolate them. 

5 – Failing to promote a digital mindset from recruitment onwards

Imagine a software company asking job applicants to mail a hard copy of their resumes in order to be considered for a position. That approach probably wouldn’t attract the best software engineers, would it? 

A focus on tech-driven tools and solutions, especially during recruitment and when building a talent pipeline, will help ensure that your HR department attracts candidates that are tech-savvy. Hiring employees with a digital mindset will help create a future digital culture of teamwork. Continue fostering a digital culture by embracing technology in continuous education and training for long-term employees. 

6 – Thinking that a software can solve organizational problems

A recent study conducted by international auditing firm KPMG shows that 93% of organizations foresee problems with digital transformation. But one of the biggest mistakes HR organizations make is assuming that technology will solve deeply rooted organizational problems. This is because technology must always be viewed as a tool or an enabler, not the solution in and of itself. 

HR leaders must have a strategy for deployment of new software.This will help HR professionals avoid falling into the trap of blaming new software for “not working” when in reality digital tools are only as effective as the tasks they’re meant to perform.

7 – Getting distracted by the shiny new toy

Technology-driven HR professionals should consider trying software demos, but avoid committing to a new program unless they can clearly answer “Which pain point does this solve”?  Keep a list of impressive software on hand in case you need their unique features in the future, but don’t get excited by sleek new software that will only slightly improve existing functionality.  

The importance of digital transformation for HR departments

Digital transformation will continue to power growth and streamline processes for organizations. Adopting HR technology that allows you to scale your campaigns to reach more qualified candidates, build a talent pipeline that ensures your company remains competitive and creates strong first impressions among interviewees is a must. Even when not actively hiring, companies must work to foster a positive relationship with their brand among potential future candidates. 

Finally, well implemented technologies can automate administrative tasks while freeing up time for your HR professionals. This will allow your team more time to focus on building the culture and work ethic that will help your company succeed. Although there are potential pitfalls on the way, it’s clear the digital transformation holds a lot of promise for future productivity and must remain a focus for every successful HR leader.


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About the Author

Director, Strategic Programs

Mike Marschke

Mike Marschke is Fountain's Director of Product who has a passion for innovation and optimizing talent acquisition strategies, enhancing candidate experiences, and driving organizational growth.