Monday, 31 august 2020 | Brenda Rodríguez López
<<The transformation is already taking place, but it will be achieved more or less quickly depending on whether everyone makes it as their own>>
Within the framework of the Digital Human Resources Collaborative Hub (DHR COL-HUB), the CEU IAM Business School, together with a remarkable group of Human Resources Managers from leading companies, is working on a new edition of the DHR Index: a report that analyzes the level of Digital Transformation in the Spanish companies and the role that Human Resources Departments have on it.
To talk about the results of this study’s last edition and assess to what extent Spanish companies are making progress in this transformation, we have the help of one of the professionals who is taking part in this initiative.
Claire Renaud is the Global Leadership Consulting Director at Dell Technologies and one of the professors of our Executive Master’s Degree in Human Resources 4.0.
Let’s talk about the DHR Index 2019. What were your overall impressions concerning the results of the past edition?
The last edition was the first edition, and in this sense, it has been a success thanks to the participation of more than 200 executives from large and medium-sized companies. We collected very relevant data on the current situation of companies in terms of digitization: most companies acknowledged that they were on the way, but that there was still a long way ahead.
It was interesting to see the convergence in identifying key digital skills and competencies. There are many companies that identified the same competencies, although 78% admit that they still do not have a clear and consistent list of them for the entire organization.
I also found the key role of the People Department in this transformation noteworthy and the very positive attitude that it is showing. Only 6% of the surveyed have identified the fear of digital complexity as a force that could obstruct this transformation.
You have mentioned several percentages, is there any data in this report that has particularly surprised you?
I think the data that surprised me the most is that 61% of organizations still do not have a clear and shared concept of what it means to be digital, and this is linked to 70% declaring that they do not have a consistent list of digital capabilities. If we consider skills versus abilities, the figure rises to 78%. It is interesting to see the initiatives that have been introduced in different areas of the organization, but there is a lack of a clear and uniform vision for the entire company.
Another piece of information that caught my attention is the one related to the term agility. 25% of managers identify agility as a project management methodology and 62% affirm that their organizations have implemented agile methodologies or practices. However, there is less emphasis on the concepts of agile mindset and digital mindset. I am making reference to the cultural and behavioral changes based on agility and flexibility. However, these changes have been accelerated due to everything we have experienced in the last six months.
It is almost impossible not to mention this exceptional situation that we are facing. What impact do you think this COVID-19 experience will have in terms of Digital Transformation?
First, we need to be aware that we live in a "VUCA" environment (with high levels of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity), and this requires being able to adapt quickly, improving our analytical capacity to make decisions, being more creative to find new solutions and building our resilience.
A second aspect is the acceleration in the adoption of an agile mindset which is characterized by more flexibility, a greater focus on risk assessment and risk taking and the capacity for lifelong learning: an approach more focused on evaluating opportunities based on data analysis, making decisions faster and changing the course according to what we have learned.
Finally, the great revolution has been testing teleworking and leadership in virtual environments on a large scale. I think that the experience gained during the lockdown has been very positive and has highlighted that it may work. To continue taking advantage of it, we need to work on the areas of trust and inclusion. It has also underlined the importance of a digital competence that we had already identified in the first edition of the DHR Index: social and emotional intelligence. Leadership with optimism and empathy and resilience has become more relevant, as well as other aspects that are related to this competence.
Then, do you think that this openness of companies to remote working caused by the exceptional situation of the lockdown is going to have a positive impact?
I think so. A dynamic has been created that will continue. There were already many companies on their way; what happens is they still had some doubts, or they did not feel completely prepared to move to the next step from a technological and cultural point of view. This crisis has forced them to take this next step and they have realized that it works. It is a lesson learned.
I believe that to take advantage of it, we must continue to capitalize on the trust that has been built during the lockdown period and continue to offer more flexibility. To me, flexibility has become a key element of competitiveness, and it is obviously an element of motivation too.
We should continue to develop corporate culture and leadership styles to respond to new challenges such as motivating and maintaining cohesive teams that will work partially at the office and partially at home.