Averbook: These are the 4 pillars you need for a digital vision

The HR Technology Conference & Exposition®, kicking off Oct. 27, is the most important HR Tech yet. Why?

It’s the same reason I keep saying this time is the biggest opportunity–the biggest moment–of our collective HR careers.

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It’s because we weren’t ready for Workforce 2020–not even factoring in the health, social and financial pandemics of this year. We accepted inhibitors to innovation. We offered excuses for following the status quo. We didn’t transform when it made good business sense and would have been an ideal competitive advantage. We waited to drive necessary transformation, and waiting is no longer an option.

We needed to break down inhibitors; now they’re gone. We needed an accelerant for digital transformation and to catch up to 2020; we got it. We needed to transform faster than we were ready; we just leapfrogged decades ahead of where we were when it comes to how we serve and support both the workforce and the business.

All of those things happened without having to make a business case for it; without requesting budget for it; without getting buy-in from necessary stakeholders and creating a programmatic, scaled, phased rollout. It just happened.

But our forced and temporary transformation will not sustain itself without the next, critical step. A massive boulder was rolled partway uphill for us, but it’s up to us to keep it there, to prevent it from rolling back downhill and to continue our pursuit for the summit. We do that with mindset and with a digital vision.

See also: Meet the HR Tech keynote speakers: Jason Averbook

It’s time to reshape everything, wipe the slate clean, choose to sunset what no longer serves us and write a new strategy for the now of work. If we don’t assume a beginner’s mindset from this moment forward, the boulder of digital transformation will slip back down the hill. We’ll lose precious ground we have gained. Old practices and processes that were no longer serving the business or the workforce must be immediately and permanently unlearned so we don’t risk preserving them or bringing them back. We need to reimagine the new ways in which HR can create impact for the organization with clear vision and strategy for the outcomes we need.

Meaningful, sustained digital transformation requires full commitment and acceptance of the change that is needed. It also requires a digital vision, which has four pillars:

  1. Story (vision statement): This is a declaration of what digital HR should be at your organization, how it will deliver value and to whom.
  2. Guiding principles: Your framework of rules and values that add context to the story and guide decision-making.
  3. Experience (attributes): How will things look and feel to different workforce personas? What is the literal feeling you want people to have as a result of the experience you deliver?
  4. Measures of success: How will you define success and drive accountability in alignment with the vision and guiding principles? This is where we begin to prove the value the HR function can provide to the business. A measure of success, by the way, is not an implementation “go-live”; it is your go-begin program milestone.
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When it comes to a digital vision for your organization, ask what you are trying to achieve. Create a business case against that vision; this is not an HR case; Leapgen offers five simple steps for Making Your Business Case in the Now of Work if you need help. It’s also important to embrace change as a mindset and embedded approach in your overall transformation, not as an action.

I’ll share more about “Writing the New Book of Work” and driving digital transformation at the first virtual, free and largest-ever HR Tech Conference, Oct. 27-30. Find Leapgen for resources and support, register for my keynote and attend with a beginner’s mindset. This might be the most important learning opportunity of your career.

Jason Averbook, Mercer
Jason Averbook
Jason is a renowned Senior Partner and the Global Leader of Digital HR Strategy at Mercer | Leapgen, with a career that spans over two decades in the HR and technology sectors. He is a leading figure in Mercer's global Generative AI strategy and services, spearheading innovative solutions in the HR technology landscape. Jason is also an accomplished author, having penned two books that delve into the future of HR and HR technology, further solidifying his position as a thought leader in the field. From 2018 to 2023, Jason co-founded and served as CEO of Leapgen, a company committed to shaping the future workplace. Now, under the expanded partnership of Mercer | Leapgen, Jason continues to challenge executive mindsets, advocating for a shift from executing technology projects to embodying a digital function. This new alliance amplifies his influence, extending his reach to a global market. In addition to his corporate roles, Jason serves as an adjunct professor at universities worldwide, imparting his knowledge and insights on HR technology and digitization. His leadership portfolio also includes senior roles at industry giants such as PeopleSoft and Ceridian Corporation. Jason's expertise lies in transforming HR organizations into strategic partners, having collaborated with industry-leading companies to achieve this. Jason's insights into the future of HR and work have earned him global recognition, and he is frequently quoted by top-tier media outlets such as BusinessWeek, CNBC, Forbes, Fortune, Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He is consistently ranked among the top three thought leaders in his field.