· 3 min read · Features

New technologies are key to bringing about change and agility


Human resources is often regarded as an enabler of change rather than an agent. This is clearly wrong.

Today's most successful HR teams are maximising the use of technology in new and creative ways to empower organisational change and harness opportunities within businesses. Amsterdam's HR Tech conference will provide an excellent backdrop to showcase how HR teams have really picked up the baton and are maximising business value from technology solutions. But it will also be an opportunity to discuss the challenges in what has become a ruthlessly fast moving environment.

Telefónica Digital is a global business division of Telcoms giant, Telefónica. It is a relatively new organisation which came into being at the end of 2011. It already has over 6,500 employees across 17 countries in Europe, Latin America, North America and Israel and is growing aggressively. Its mission is to create the power for Telefónica to outperform in the digital world.

Whist Telefónica Digital is in an enviable position of operating in a growing industry, the issues faced by the HR team will be recognised by many businesses and in today's economy, HR Directors are facing some consistent challenges regarding technology.

Attraction and retention: Our people are innovators and entrepreneurs and this means we need to both harness the benefits and emulate some of the behaviours they bring. All HR Directors and recruiters have had to come to terms with a multi layered approach where social media is probably one of the most effective ways of reaching people in emerging digital industries. Acknowledging that many digital natives live through social media is of course important but showing a high degree of trust in employees to use this type of media and even enabling them to do so is something all employers should be facing up to now.

Agility and scalability: We need to be truly agile in terms of creating business value. Our business demands global HR technology solutions today. So whilst we need to develop realistic delivery timescales we should then cut them in half or, as is the case in the digital world where we operate, the opportunity will be missed. HR Directors need to get out of the old design, build, test, deploy mindset. We have to embrace cloud HR technologies and the opportunities they bring. Make no mistake, these technologies are reshaping the role of HR and are proving that technology really can play a part in establishing the corporate culture.

User experience: In our business, employees are demanding highly intuitive, attractive solutions. We need to be slick and enable our employees to work smarter and faster in the way they want to work. We need to relieve the administrative burden on employees through self-service through their tablets, their smart phones and their PCs. Analytics and reporting is also key to providing HR and business insights.

At Telefonica Digital we have just brought together a number of systems to create one truly global system and strategy which incorporates a partnership with Workday - a cloud-based HR system that can be accessed via any web enabled device. Our programme is called Aura 24 and will include a new operating model with transparent organisational design and clear roles and responsibilities for all staff. Employees will be able to access the system and organise all aspects of their working life from their performance management to booking leave.

Security: Security is an ongoing challenge. Employee data security is critical to any organisation. We can't take our eye off the ball.

Total cost of ownership: In the current climate, HR technology solutions are required at low cost. Costs of software, hardware and infrastructure can be cut through HR cloud solutions when used correctly

And finally, ongoing innovation: The HR technology space is evolving so fast we need to make sure that we choose tools and systems which will continue to evolve at pace. HR Directors need to focus on the HR technology roadmap as well as the business roadmap

In Amsterdam we will be talking to delegates about our HR strategy and how we are placing game changing HR people solutions at the heart of our organisation. The challenge to be leading edge in the use of technology will never diminish for HR Directors working in the digital sector, particularly in a company as large and globally diverse as Telefónica Digital. But this is a challenge we cannot ignore if we want to change our ways of working and become leaders.

Anthony Shaw (pictured) HR director strategy & solutions at Telefónica Digital, is one of the speakers for HR Tech Europe 2012.

HR Tech Europe 2012 on 25/26 October is set to be Europe's foremost HR event on how software, technology systems and collaborative tools are driving deep transformation in the HR function, in the way people work, and how organisations are managed.

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