“HR leaders should have one overarching question in mind when evaluating HR technology for their organization: how will it elevate our team to become less tactical and more strategic?”
The Chief People & Culture Officer of Ceridian, Lisa Sterling, talks to HR Technologist about the key principles to ensure successful digital transformation in the workplace. Lisa has been instrumental in cultivating a digital culture, which has resulted in Ceridian appearing on lists such as: Top 100 Companies for Working Mothers, a certified Great Place to Work and a Top 15 Best Places to Work by Glassdoor.
In today’s competitive market, digital culture is essential for an organization’s growth story. When a company overhauls its organizational structure in the quest for digital transformation, the questions that arise are: What have been the key milestones in this journey? What are the tools one needs to be equipped with? How has the employee experience been? And more.
In this interview, Lisa answers all these questions and shares her personal experience with digital transformation. From key components to have in your HR tech stack to what typical mistakes HR leaders can avoid, Lisa discusses it all.
Key takeaways from this interview:
- Understand the business landscape in a digitally-driven world
- Learn how to implement technology to transform workplace culture
- The latest workforce trends, technologies and more
Here’s what Lisa’s thoughts are on how to digitally transform your organization’s culture:
Digital transformation of all functions is inevitable. What has your personal experience with the digital transformation of the HR function been like? What have the key milestones been?
Over the course of my career, I’ve seen HR evolve into a data-driven, strategic function of the organization. While much of the attention has gone to consumer-facing industries, the next-gen wave of HR tech is being revolutionized by:
- Predictive analytics
- Machine learning
- Artificial intelligence
Thanks to these emerging technologies, the HR function can provide critical data-driven insights to help leaders make fast, informed and people-driven decisions. Decisions that align with and impact an organization’s business strategy with daily operations.
One key milestone that comes to mind was the need for organizations to be mobile-ready as we become more digitally savvy. Thanks to technology, you can manage and engage your workforce anytime, anywhere and empower employees to quickly access data and information at their fingertips. A notion unheard of in the days of the PalmPilot!
Digital transformation is, of course, impossible without the right tools. What are the core components of your HR Tech stack over at Ceridian?
To attract and retain talent, you need to arm your people with the tools necessary to boost overall efficiency and effectiveness. Some of the key components to consider include your employment brand and how you engage with potential candidates, how people collaborate and communicate, how they gain visibility into their career trajectory to helping leaders be more predictive and proactive in leading their people to organizational success. A few of the key areas for Ceridian are:
- Collaboration: We believe work is what you do, not where you go. In order to support your flexible workforce, you need to deliberate in the technology and provide it to drive collaboration across your organization. It’s not a “one-size fits all” approach either. You need to have a few core technologies to enhance the digital experience based on your desired outcomes.
- Succession Planning & Career Growth: Provide technologies to your people and your leaders to help them identify the right employees to fill key roles in the event of expected or unexpected turnover or in instances of growth. We believe in transparency and sharing as much information as possible to help people make the right career decisions.
- Predictive Analytics: Enabling leaders to understand and analyze key factors linked to employee flight risk. By identifying early top performers who are at risk, leaders can be more diligent in their coaching and development initiatives.
- Candidate Experience: As organizations grow, and candidates engage with your brand, you need to create a positive and engaging candidate experience.
Speaking of HR Tech stack, how should a HR leader go about assembling the right HR Tech or tools stack, whether point solutions, suites, cloud or in-house? What are the key questions they should be asking about the kind of tools or tech they need to be more competitive?
HR leaders should have one overarching question in mind when evaluating HR technology for their organization: how will it elevate our team to become less tactical and more strategic? While every situation and the team are different, there tends to be a recurring set of questions that come into consideration:
- How can technology be used to automate elements of our strategy that don’t require human interaction?
- How can technology provide us with insight and prescription into strategic people decisions?
- How does technology create an engaging employee experience?
The most successful companies compete with the best talent. But in a highly complex hiring market where the rules are evolving rapidly, what typical mistakes do you see HR leaders make when building a sustainable talent acquisition strategy for an omnichannel, digital world?
In the increasingly fierce fight for talent, we are experiencing a constant need and real sense of urgency to find that perfect employee and find them fast. Not surprisingly, as a result, recruiting exhaustion is a serious problem for many organizations. Too often, candidates sit forever in an initial assessment phase because recruiters are scouring information to shortlist. And the traditional interview process has been lengthy and over-complicated at best. Employers continue to throw more people into the mix, so everyone has a say. In the end, we have a candidate interview with seven different people, and for what benefit? What have we gained or learned about them that we couldn’t have learned with a more concise process in place?
The bottom line, to remain competitive, employers need to re-evaluate how they are recruiting their people. They need to review their programs, experiences, and technology advancements such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (emerging technologies that perform tasks typically requiring human intelligence) to automate and streamline the recruiting process and shorten timeframes, increasing overall efficiencies. Let the technology do the transactional and tactical work and leave the relationship building to humans.
Data-driven decision-making is becoming increasingly accepted in the HR space — people analytics, predictive churn management, etc. What are your top tips to CHROs and CPOs wanting to transition to a more data-driven culture in their teams?
Start small, move fast and drive value.
Data allows us to challenge all assumptions and make smarter decisions about our people and our business. However, changing the culture of a company doesn’t happen overnight nor does it happen just because you have data. Data works best when it’s insightful, relevant and answers the questions you need answered. Don’t use data for the sake of using data. You need the right data at the right time and used for the right reasons. Gaining valuable insights can shape the future of the organization, but that takes persistence, understanding, and action.
To create a meaningful culture change, HR leaders need to bring data together with their employees’ emotional needs. Policies and procedures are one thing, but when data can uncover opportunities for improvement and influence the ideal employee experience, then you are on your way to transformative experiences.
What are the core components of the employee experience? What should an HR Leader – who is just starting out with the goal of building a competitive employee experience – be prioritizing?
Putting people and their needs above all else. The most successful employee experience revolves around people being the best version of themselves both at and outside of work. Today’s modern workforce wants the ability to do work that is meaningful, motivating, and impactful to the business.
Organizations should evaluate how to weave social impact and responsibility into their core employee experience. They need to rip out outdated and archaic policies that limit empowerment and replace them with programs and experiences. Additionally, HR Leaders should consider the workplace experience as core to the employee experience. No longer are they separate and disparate experiences. Whether it’s providing flexibility in where/how people work or thinking about the office/facility environment as “space as a service”, you must disrupt traditional thinking to win the war on talent.
Workforce realities are evolving quite rapidly – with distributed, diverse teams working in various employment models. For example, in a highly competitive job market, contract or remote workers are now in strategic – not just temporary or tactical – roles, because they choose to be. Do these new workplaces and workforce realities make employee engagement a tricky affair? What are your thumb rules for successful employee engagement, as an HR leader?
We are in a blended workforce right now meaning no longer are the clear majority of a company’s workforce traditional full-time, nine to five employees. We are seeing far more part-time, freelance, contract a, d virtual workers than ever before with each passing year – essentially experiencing the growth of the ‘gig’ economy.
Despite a more blended, transient and virtual workforce, strong employee engagement is still more than possible. The troubling trend of low employee engagement doesn’t have to have anything to do with a blended workforce. Whether someone works as a full-time employee, freelancer, or works virtually, if your organization shows a clear commitment to improving the lives of those who work for them, those they serve, and the communities in which they live, that commitment will be felt by everyone who experiences it first-hand.
As I mentioned, providing flexibility on when, how and where to work are now table stakes in this very competitive job market. Give your people the power, autonomy, flexibility, and respect they deserve, and they will not only become engaged, but they will also become your best advocates and champions.
What workforce trends, technologies, and concepts are you taking the most seriously as we head into the next decade?
More focus on the equalization of the workforce. A focus on sustaining a multicultural workforce. Larger emphasis on utilization of robotics and other advanced technology to automate the tactical aspects of work. Technologies like OnDemand Pay that provide greater accessibility and power in the hands of people.
Neha: Thank you, Lisa, for explaining how to empower people to create a digital culture in the workplace. We hope to talk to you again, soon.
About Lisa Sterling:
Lisa Sterling, Ceridian’s Chief People & Culture Officer, is forward thinking, engaging leader who is disrupting the HR landscape to create cultural and organizational performance excellence. Leading the global People & Culture organization, she is responsible for imagining and overseeing people-centric programs, experiences, and technology
Ceridian is a global human capital management software company. Dayforce, their flagship cloud HCM platform, provides human resources, payroll, benefits, workforce management, and talent management functionality.