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On Thursday 21st September 2017, in collaboration with the consultancy firm Business&Decision, Morgan Philips Switzerland undertook a closer analysis of what digital transformation may hold in store for Human Resources Managers.
This is an overview of some of the key points raised at this conference which generated excited, and exciting, debate!


1.  Digital transformation isn’t a choice, it’s a fact

The term digital transformation refers to a process which, for a company, consists of fully integrating digital technology into the entirety of its activities, in order to cater for the new ways it is used both by its clients and staff.

On a strategic level, digital transformation places the – staff and client – experience at the heart of the company roadmap. On an operational level, it therefore calls for a complete rethink of the way companies are organised and function internally.


2.  Digital transformation and company culture

Above all else, digital transformation is a matter of change management, it addresses the strategic objectives of the company and can be coordinated by a Chief Digital Officer. Among the 20% of companies* who have already created this position, it is interesting to analyse the importance given to digital transformation as reflected by the role’s hierarchical positioning, and two points in particular: its proximity to General Management and the level of collaboration with different areas of the company.

For it to succeed, digital transformation must take a company’s culture, its DNA, into consideration. It isn’t a case of trying to become something else, but rather integrating the digital into a respectful overview of the company history.

In other words, it isn’t a matter of just mimicking others, who neither have the same history, or the same company culture, nor is it a question of “simply” applying “best practice”, but instead of “becoming what you are”.

But how do we avoid losing our way during this transformation period?  This is thanks to data, the new lifeblood of all companies, and more specifically of capitalising on the value of a company’s own data, which feed into digitalisation and the creation of value. The data to do more, to do things better, to work more fairly and differently with respect to the most important asset of all, people!
Managing talented staff, identifying psycho-social determinants or accidents, guiding employee role modifications, training and recruiting the new candidates required to support this change – such as a CDO -, the implementation of new internal communication channels and areas of collaboration are as much of a risk as an opportunity during digital transformation: HRDs are on the front line and are ultimately responsible for drawing up the new rules of engagement and ensuring they are followed.


3.  The employer brand

Capitalising on an employer brand has become an essential and constant priority for Human Resources departments in Switzerland in order to attract the best candidates and stand out among a competitive international field. 
To create a genuine and attractive employer brand, it is important to think outside the box, and develop a true HR communication strategy. There should be 2 main objectives, reducing recruitment-related costs and lowering staff turnover: recruiting the most talented staff is all well and good, keeping hold of them is even better. By nurturing an employer brand, not only can a company entice potential candidates and encourage them to apply, but it can also underline the worth of its employees, who are its prize asset. A new approach must therefore be adopted whereby candidates are seen as clients and staff are the lead ambassadors.

Every company has its strengths, it is up to leaders and team members to identify and portray them in order to attract the best and develop further.


4.  HRDs, the cornerstone of digital transformation

The role of the HRD has never been more important for companies, and is gaining ever more relevance in light of transformation: finding that rare gem, fostering loyalty, supporting staff in a context which can prove testing, setting out the new rules of engagement and communicating them effectively not only requires close collaboration with different departments, but also integration, the provision of an ever stronger element of marketing in order to refine the employer brand – and therefore impose the sort of performance indicators on themselves that would traditionally be used in Business and Marketing.
HRDs therefore form the bedrock of successful digital transformation, one which requires all company departments to really pull together – and not just sequentially or in parallel.


The Morgan Philips Switzerland team, Business&Decision Switzerland, in collaboration with Miguel Hernandez

*: source pwc

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