Are you pulling my (block) chain?

Is it really true?  Can we expect a time when we won’t have to do any more mundane and repetitive tasks in HR?   Digital transformation is being bandied about as the answer, and technologies such as Blockchain are being considered for automating a range of tasks which would instantly free up the time of HR departments around the world.

With the Blockchain concept, a shared database becomes available across a network of multiple computers.  Every transaction is represented as a “block”, and everyone who is part of the network can view all transactions and history in the database.  The database is updated constantly throughout the day, so all network members are updated on changes, and an audit trail is automatically generated to help on compliance tracking.

Which means Blockchain could be used to accelerate employee dispute case management, reference checking, offer letter generation, performance management, payroll, taxation payments and more.  Assuming the list of applications for Blockchain and/or other digital applications is endless, the future possibilities for freeing up HR professionals are perhaps endless too? 

So, what will we do with all the ‘spare’ time digital transformation is going to provide?! 

We expect to hear how it frees up HR functions to offer “more strategic” value-add services; which justifies the time, resource and money to adopt this technology.  But whilst many HR leaders certainly have strategic relationships, and thought leadership on what “good” HR can bring to the commercial world; we know that many are unable to link these to articulating a compelling story to demonstrate ROI value to the businesses they support.  In short, there is a risk that an argument for technology to enable more strategic HR support, will simply be met with scepticism.

We’re also mindful that HR leaders need to be considerate of how they keep up with the role (and speed) digital is taking and really understanding what it all means. 

Not all of us will be ‘digital gurus’ so how do we really get to grips with what it’s all about?  How can we keep on top of what’s happening ourselves so that we can “future proof” our organisations?  A 2017 report by the Fosway Group found that only 11% of their surveyed organisations have all the digital skills required to succeed - a finding that is replicated in a number of international reports we’ve been reading lately; which all indicates that there’s lots of room for improvement!

We’ve also seen a number of recommendations, telling us that hiring candidates with the right skills to be successful in digital transformation is not an effective strategy; instead that it is more effective to upskill the existing employee population to prepare for these challenges. So what are we waiting for?  Let’s get to it!