Half of public sector HR professionals feel prevented from driving digital transformation
HR functions within the public sector need to find their voice and spearhead digital transformation projects if they want to benefit from modernised processes, highlights a new research whitepaper. The study conducted by the Public Services People Managers Association (PPMA) and MHR reveals that 50 percent of HR leaders feel prevented from driving digital change. The whitepaper, Turning HR teams into ‘technology change leaders, explores how new technology such as analytics, automation, apps and AI can improve current organisational processes, and the barriers HR professionals are experiencing to implement them.
Karen Grave, co-author of the whitepaper and President of the PPMA, says,
While 95 percent of respondents believe that HR has a key role to play in driving digital transformation and embracing new ways of working to improve overall processes, a number of barriers are preventing HR teams from actively implementing this change. As a result, many public sector organisations are failing to keep pace with the digital expectations of their people and are continuing to rely on outdated processes and systems.
Lack of resource, fear of change and knowledge gaps were identified as the key reasons why HR teams are struggling to implement effective technology-led change. Just under a half of respondents (43 percent) cited budget issues as the main barrier, with a third (32 percent) claiming there is not enough time to pursue new ideas. Meanwhile, 39 percent of respondents said they felt concerned about the scale of change required when considering using technology to find new ways of working.
Many respondents said they felt powerless to lead technological change due to outdated IT infrastructure and other restrictions imposed by different departments, as well as a general resistance to change within organisations. The research also suggested that HR leaders needed to step up and improve communication to take organisations into the future.
Karen Grave adds,
For too long HR functions in the public sector have taken a backseat in leading effective organisational change, leaving them with outdated processes. However, with the workforce becoming more digitally native, and with authorities faced with budget pressures and increased demand for efficient services, HR must find its voice and drive innovation. Rather than perceiving technological changes as merely an IT problem, HR teams need to be more proactive and adopt a collaborative approach to create joint strategies that meet the entire needs of the organisation and its people.
Anton Roe, Chief Executive Officer at MHR comments,
As stewards of company culture and with responsibility for people strategies, HR has a pivotal role to play in the success of digitisation projects, ensuring any changes are embedded effectively into an organisation by understanding the full effects on the workforce and helping them accept new processes rather than resenting them.With advances in technology continuing to transform how and where we work, now is the time for HR professionals to lead from the front, exercising their strategic influence to garner support from all stakeholders, demonstrate value and push for changes that will improve the organisation’s processes and goals.