Top 5 considerations for a successful HR digital transformation

HR digital transformation is the process of changing operational HR processes to become automated and data-driven. It is about moving away from traditional, paper-based ways…

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Janine Wendling

March 9, 20234 minute read

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HR digital transformation is the process of changing operational HR processes to become automated and data-driven. It is about moving away from traditional, paper-based ways of working and instead using digital tools to automate, reduce costs, improve operations, and elevate employee experiences.

Traditional HR processes rely on face-to-face communications, filing cabinets, and paperwork – lots of paperwork – for everything from payroll, benefits, and performance management to candidate offer letters and onboarding. 


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What are the benefits of HR digital transformation?

Many HR organizations have already been through a digital transformation, but new reasons are always emerging to revisit and revamp your HR technology.  From higher employee expectations about their work experience and transacting with HR, to the race for talent and quiet quitting, there are new urgencies to improve the employee and candidate experience. In the last few years, HR has dealt with many changes stemming from hybrid or remote work, resulting in new systems or ways of working.

HR needs to create operational efficiencies to free up more time and resources to focus on strategic initiatives such as Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion and supporting employee well-being. Other change drivers include implementing a Zero Trust model, the exponential increase of available intelligent technologies, and of course new privacy regulations that are popping up everywhere, forcing organizations to review their practices. We are also seeing a massive increase in digitized documents and all the various places they are generated, shared and stored.

Whatever the reason behind it, many companies are now building a case for HR digital transformation 2.0 or even 3.0 to address some of these continuing trends.

Trends impacting HR digital transformation: employee documents, race for talent, employee experiences, new privacy regulations, hybrid work, ESG & DEI, intelligent technology, well-being, zero trust.

What are some unique HR challenges when it comes to digital transformation?

Almost every HR process includes documents, but most core HR systems aren’t designed to manage them properly. 87% of organizations say that unstructured information creates challenges when it comes to HR automation. This is usually because the documents are scattered in multiple systems, or still on paper – ultimately decreasing productivity for HR, impacting employees, and making compliance nearly impossible. Wherever you are in your transformation journey, special attention to managing your HR documents is critical.

Employee documents are everywhere: email inboxes, Teams or chat sites, paper, shared drives, HRIS.

5 key considerations for a successful HR digital transformation

1. Where are your HR documents located and how are they being accessed?

How many different systems, share folders or locations contain employee files? Consider how often they are attached to emails or within Teams chats, especially resumes that contain sensitive information. How is that access controlled? Is there a way to determine which documents are missing from an employee’s file or outdated? How are retention policies applied? And finally, how do the documents fit within your current HR technology and processes?

2. How much time does your HR team spend looking for documents?

Is the one document that you urgently need always the one you can’t find? How could that time spent searching be put to better use? What is the impact to HR tickets and SLAs?

3. What are the most document-heavy processes and where are the bottlenecks?

How does this impact the employee or candidate experience? Is a second person checking manually created documents for spelling or other errors, like job offers for example, and how long does that take? Where can approvals be automated or streamlined to reduce the bottlenecks?
What would automated document generation do to speed up the process?

4. What are your audit and compliance requirements? What costs or risks exist?

This is an often overlooked but critical part of any HR transformation. Do you know what policies and regulations exist and the implications for non-compliance?
Consider retention policies, security, privacy, audits, and subject access requests. Being aware of the risks of fines and to your company’s reputation can help in building a business case for future improvements.

5. What is the employee or candidate experience and how can it be improved?

Do they need to open a ticket and wait for someone in HR to get back to them or can they access the information they need when they need it via self-service. Are they potentially receiving letters or contracts riddled with mistakes? Do they have to print, sign, scan and return their letters or can everything be done online quickly and easily? What is the impression they are left with when interacting with the HR team? Employees have high expectations for a consumer-like experience – and can be frustrated at having to wait. How can this be more seamless?

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Janine Wendling

A 20+ year veteran at OpenText, Janine oversees product strategy and market activities for our HR document management solutions, supporting the HR digital transformation for SAP SuccessFactors customers. Prior to this role, Janine led the HR Technology team where she was key in OpenText’s own internal SuccessFactors and Extended ECM for SAP SuccessFactors implementation.

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