As HR practitioners, we know that the organisation culture is a critical piece of the puzzle in change management, says Connie Chan, HR Associate Director, Procter & Gamble (P&G). Here's why HR should approach digital transformation with the same rigour and look at how all the pieces come together.

Our consumers and employees’ profiles and expectations have changed significantly with technological advancements such as automation, AI, blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT). To be future-proof, companies must continually transform through constructive digital disruption for both businesses and organisations.

Yet, even in the age of automation, humans still lie at the centre of this transformation. Digital transformation is only possible when it is led by people who understand not only how technology works but how it can potentially solve business and organisational challenges.

For over 180 years, P&G has remained at the forefront of a competitive industry because we equip and empower our leaders to lead constructive disruption. We are constantly innovating to win with our employees and our consumers. In our digital transformation, upskilling and developing digital IQ are critical.

HR practitioners are the most well-positioned group to lead workforce digital upskilling. In many ways, the readiness of our company and employees to win now and in the future is in our hands. It is imperative that HR enables change and agility. We are responsible for creating a workplace and developing employees ready for now and the future.

Developing future-ready employees requires an environment that encourages and actively cultivates lifelong learning. This means the company must provide various opportunities and resources to upskill and build digital IQ across all levels.

It is imperative that HR enables change and agility. We are responsible for creating a workplace and developing employees ready for now and the future.

At P&G Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMA), we strengthen this through our 4D culture— being deliberate, building depth, being daring and being decisive.

It always starts with being deliberate in thinking about connecting technology to the work we do today and in the future. This requires being in touch with the external changes happening in the wider world by getting acquainted with new technology and trends. As HR leaders, it is crucial that we stay updated on new technologies and pinpoint strategic value for our own companies.

One way that I have found to be very useful in staying informed is attending external forums and workshops, both online and offline, to learn new skills – like building apps for proactive consumers and employee engagement. HR leaders must at least be familiar with the technology to enable transformation.

The next step is building depth, and this is where employees can better understand how these skills can be applied to their areas of work. At P&G, we utilise the 70-20-10 framework — 70% on-the-job learning, 20% through relationships and mentoring, and 10% classroom training. This facilitates an organic learning experience.

As HR practitioners, we know that the organisation culture is a critical piece of the puzzle in change management. When we look at digital transformation, we should approach this with the same rigor and look at how all the pieces come together.

Our capability programs, Ignite (2019) and Onward (2018), were two to three days packed with classroom learning with both internal and external experts – but importantly, they also emphasised the importance of upskilling and its business impact. These programs also launched our online learning platform, where employees can design their own program and learn at their own pace with AI support.

In P&G, members of our Leadership Team participate in reverse mentoring, where digital experts within our organisation regularly share the latest in technology and potential applications to our business leaders. This 1-on-1 format has made the interactions more meaningful, engaging and business-focused

Finally, HR needs to be daring and decisive in translating ideas into action. Once you have a goal and strategy planned out, test it out. This means taking bold steps to try out new ideas and processes to see which permutation brings the most value not just to the business but to the employees too. One of the hallmarks of digitalisation is monitoring feedback and opinion through analytics and social tools. Use these tools to evaluate employees’ sentiments and adjust accordingly. Test and learn, then repeat. We must nurture a collective spirit of innovation – and, equally important, resilience to learn from mistakes quickly.

Some people believe digital transformation should be driven by Chief Technology Officer/ IT as it is technology-driven. It actually needs cross-functional partnership and HR is essential given how any change is led by people themselves.

As HR practitioners, we know that the organisation culture is a critical piece of the puzzle in change management. When we look at digital transformation, we should approach this with the same rigour and look at how all the pieces come together: What is the business/organisation problem you are solving? Do you have the appropriate technology to solve your challenge? Do you have capable people with the right skills? Do you have robust plans to ensure these skills are continually developed? Do you have the organisational culture to be the solid foundation for these changes?

Some people believe digital transformation should be driven by Chief Technology Officer/ IT as it is technology-driven. It actually needs cross-functional partnership and HR is essential given how any change is led by people themselves. Laying a strong cultural foundation for constructive disruption is how a company will succeed, no matter what challenges it faces now or in the future.