Over the past 20 years, digital technology has transformed the ways in which we shop, consume information, entertain ourselves, do our banking and so much more besides. It has also revolutionized the ways in which we work, giving us access to services and information wherever we are.

Human resources (HR) organizations in banks and insurers, too, must embrace a digital mind-set in how they serve the enterprise’s employees and managers if they want to remain relevant in this changing world. After all, their customers have become accustomed to the way that digital tools and technologies have empowered them in their personal lives and in other spheres of their professional lives.

A financial services firm’s workforce takes it for granted that it should have the same easy access to services and information from the HR organization as it does to consumer apps or line-of-business systems it relies on every day. Additionally, employers and managers have also come to expect a greater share of voice and more transparency in their interactions with the institutions and services they interact with.

Over this series of blog posts, I’ll be exploring how digital technology is disrupting business as usual for HR organizations, as well as the opportunities it brings for forward-thinking HR professionals and leaders. My starting point is that digital technology will transform how HR organizations operate and how they serve the business as it infuses nearly every aspect of talent management and work itself.

As HR heads toward a future characterized by big data, integration, mobility, social media, gamification, and cloud computing, the ability for financial services organizations to manage their people will grow more flexible, agile and customized. But to thrive in this changing world, HR organizations will need to embrace profound changes in how they operate:

Decentralization: Digital will enable talent management to become less of a centralized HR activity and more of an activity that is embedded in the fabric of everyday business. This will mean that the HR function may become smaller and more agile as employees and managers adopt consumer-like applications to handle HR processes themselves.

New business focus:  Like marketing departments before them, HR might become more focused on leveraging data to better serve their customers as a result of digital change. HR organizations will use analytics tools to segment employees and managers so that they can offer them more customized solutions for their needs.

Digital will knock down silos and blur boundaries between HR and business lines and between business processes and HR processes in the years to come. In my next post, I’ll look at how digital technology is turning talent management into an everyday activity for each employee and manager.

To learn more, read: Digital Radically Disrupts HR: Digital technology is transforming how people work—demanding a fundamentally different HR strategy

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