HR needs to take digital lead to crack flexible working

If employers want to encourage more asynchronous work, and allow employees to plan their own hours outside the nine-to-five, HR has to get ahead on digital transformation.

Speaking at The Economist's 2022 Innovation@Work Global Week, Wagner Denuzzo, head of capabilities for the future of work at insurance firm Prudential Financial, argued that HR holds the key to take businesses to the next step.

He told HR magazine: "In the same way businesses transformed digitally 10 to 20 years ago, HR now has to be at the forefront of the next layer of what it means to be digital."

For Denuzzo, this means HR has to shift to a cloud-based employee management system as a minimum.

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By doing so, HR teams would be able adapt their systems to new employee needs more easily, he said.

"I think that’s the future of HR,” he added.

"The importance of a cloud can't be underestimated because once you have a cloud architecture, you have much more flexibility regarding how to organise your systems globally.”

Moving away from standard payroll and storage of employee information, more flexible software systems can help HR be more strategic, for example in tracking the skills a potential employee has to match them with what’s required for progression or talent goals.

Making data more easily accessible, and keeping HR in the process of creating such systems, will improve how businesses are run, he said.

"We need to build the architecture of the information, so we know very clearly what data we are collecting and what data we need for insights.

“Where we trip over each other is that we have the data, but it’s not connected.”