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Jan 12 2018

Director of Human Resources: the Digital Challenge

From retail to automotive, banking, media, pharmaceutical, and energy, no sector is immune to digital transformation! This evolution not only has an impact on all markets, services, products, flows, and organisations, but also and especially on employees. All sizes of companies are affected, from start-ups to large corporations.

Considering this new challenge, which leaders are most able to conduct digital transformation? Often it is the marketing, IT or commercial directors who anticipate this new territory. Some innovative groups are even more likely to have a specific manager: the Chief Digital Officer (CDO). And it is now  General Management who appoints this person, often reserving for this position a seat on the Executive Committee.

For some groups, the DHR is on the front line because this person is the first to be involved. Why? Because this digital transformation concerns the whole company; because it is an eminently strategic subject, but also fundamentally managerial; because  regarding managing this type (or others) of change, this person needs to be the first one consulted and the first responsible; because the DHR position evolves from the management of subjects in silos (recruitment, training, remuneration...) to  human management, in micro and macro levels, via an HR portal which generally allows the various services involved to work in collaborative mode while allowing access only to the content that is dedicated to them.

Thus, why is the role of the DHRs, the dedicated accelerators or catalysts of this digital transformation, to be at the forefront? Because this digital evolution is considered strategic and not just from a technical standpoint.

While some managers are generally very careful – or even cautious – facing this major change in the organization and the business model, for fear of resistance and their consequences, some DHRs themselves can be equally so. Yet they are the professionals, the real kingpins, who will pull the right levers, who give the company all the required bases to transform the experiment while limiting the obstacles.

And because when they want to see only the technical side, some companies are missing the real subject: a global change. This has lasting impacts! That is why the DHR and general management tandem seems to be the obvious one to direct the digital transformation of the company: they are the two conductors (compared to other support or operational functions) who must guide these changes to budgets and major investments. This will only facilitate success downstream.

At Horton International, we guide in the long term head offices and HRDs in navigating the formalizations of specifications in digital transformation, to prioritize their human needs. We are frequently called upon in this type of situation. France not being the only reservoir for digital talent,  we use our international network and our in-depth knowledge to find and import this digital talent to France. And we advise on the integration of these atypical figures, combining hard and soft kills, to implement this strategic and vital strategic change for the company for the coming years.Director of Human Resources: the Digital Challenge

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