HR and the Digital Transformation

Jun 21, 2016
Blog - HR and the Digital Transformation



Interview with Katrin J. Yuan, Member of the Advisory Board of Pleinert & Partner, conducted by Dr. Helena Pleinert



Q: The digital transformation affects all areas of business in essential ways. How does it affect HR?

A: New technologies emerge which will fundamentally change our lives as clients, suppliers, workers and employers. Digital does not pop up as a final product. Digital transformation is not a point of time or status quo. It is a starting point which evolves in cycles again and again.

Digital blurs boundaries between departments. Organizations cannot afford isolated units. This will affect HR in the following ways

  • Flexible office increases in combination with cloud computing and agile methods
  • Extended workforce increases
  • Digital talents want to exchange, be trained and nurtured
  • Digital is not one department, but is everywhere in the organization
  • People learn from failures. Allow to fail fast, stand up and make it better. Offer cross department learning and digital workshops. Allow the means to transfer learnings across teams
  • Empower people. Enable management. Managers are role model and have the potential to become digital leaders, ambassadors to inspire others.


Q: How can HR leverage the digital transformation to support their mission in nurturing and developing the organization's human capital?

A: HR has an important role in ensuring digital transformation “arrives” in the culture. HR supports the human factor in the transformation. Such as allocating digital experts throughout all transformation phases and hierarchies, starting with management. Foster a digital culture by continuous actions. Digital transformation is not about having the newest technologies in place. It is about people, the connecting dots and mindset of how to make the best use out of it. I used to say “the brain sits in front of the laptop, not in the laptop”.

In this context organizations ask HR experts to get digital talents on board and not to lose time because time is a precious factor particularly in terms of digital transformation. It is crucial to have the right digital talents on board from the start. Finally it is not the technology which changes the world, it is about people’s business and it is the people who use the technology.

Q: You as a consultant having the privilege to be immersed in this rapidly developing field: what do you feel is your vocation i.e. your mission and passion in professional life?

A: I am thrilled to serve my client, exchange new ideas and join the path of digital transformation. I am thankful to join various digital projects with renowned SMI and DAX listed clients and be part of this exciting journey.

Wherever you go, go with all your heart - Confucius.