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The Evolving Role of HR in the Digital Era

HR Technology: 3 Minute Read

A multi-generational workforce and the digital transformation of business are changing the role of HR.

Key points:

  • Digital transformation helps companies solve traditional business problems with technology. This transformation gives HR the ability to focus more on employee engagement and culture-building, and less on transactional tasks.
  • Many workplaces today are composed of five generations of workers. Technology can build a bridge across this multi-generational workforce and give your company a competitive advantage.
  • HR software allows Human Resources to remain compliant and fulfill many of the transactional duties more efficiently, which gives HR professionals more time to support the organization’s overall mission.


Change is uncomfortable. In fact, most people will sacrifice their health and happiness to avoid it. Why? Because humans crave certainty—we are hardwired to resist change.

Our brains often interpret change as a threat and will send out an army of hormones as a protective response. This was great when we were hunter-gatherers fighting for survival, but today, when most “threats” aren’t as extreme, this kind of response isn’t exactly helpful.

This is why your employees (and you) often resist new ideas, tools, or initiatives— no matter how great they are. Even though our brains are on high alert, it’s crucial for HR to take the lead in this era of digital disruption.

“One can measure the pace of digital disruption in months, while it takes years for an organization and its people to fully embrace such fundamental changes in the way they operate. Change management is by far the most enduring bottleneck to digital transformation.”—Deloitte, The Changing Role of People Management in the Digital Age

Make way for digital transformation.

We live in a time of constant and accelerated change, particularly for technology. While technology adoption is often the primary concern for all-things-digital, we believe restyling leadership and a business’s culture are just as critical to your digital journey.

And who is responsible for the retooling a business’s culture? HR, of course. As we’ve said before, digital transformation isn’t just about technology—it’s also about people.

Digital transformation impacts how HR departments craft new styles of leadership. Today, HR professionals must proactively approach the digitization of their organizations because emerging technologies will impact a company’s identity, operation, and value.

While digital transformation can cause uncertainty and fear among employees, it gives HR an opportunity to take the lead.

HR has traditionally been a department locked in transactional duties. These administrative functions are a necessary component of the job, but they rob HR professionals of time that could be better spent guiding the strategic direction and culture of an organization.

Fortunately, many of these administrative tasks and functions can be managed (and even automated) with the right tools. Human Resources software allows HR departments to remain compliant and fulfill many of the transactional duties more efficiently, which gives HR professionals more time to support the organization’s overall mission.

With this time, you could craft an HR strategy to complement your organization’s business strategy, ultimately enabling you to build a more talented and engaged workforce.

Engaging a multigenerational workforce.

Growing a team of talented, inspired, and engaged workers is the challenge of all HR departments in this digital age, mostly due to today’s multigenerational workforce. Different generations approach technology in very different ways: from eager adoption to general distrust.

“Those employers that aren’t cognizant of this diverse workforce will not perform well because they will lack the necessary processes and strategies in place to communicate with, retain, develop, and engage this future talent. Those that can understand and adapt to both generational similarities and differences will have a distinct competitive advantage on their peers and will be poised for battle in the war for talent.”—Christopher G. Lee, Cornell University 2011, “Forward-Thinking: HR’s Path to Improving Its Worth”

Learning how to lead and motivate these distinct generations presents an opportunity for your company to become more competitive. You’ll find that technology is your friend in this endeavor – even for those workers who might not eagerly approach such a change.

The shared software experience across generations will bring the workforce together. Technology allows for efficient knowledge-transfer, giving older workers a platform to share their expertise while helping your youngest employees understand how their role fits into the bigger picture.

When it comes to Human Resources, HR software gives you the time to build a strategy for generational alignment and provides employees with a self-directed environment to manage their work life.

Welcome to the new era of HR.

Led by employee experience, cloud-based technologies, and a renewed focus on talent, an HR transformation is underway. Technology enables HR to develop new and innovative ways to deliver employee-focused services and strategies across an organization. While this change might be met with resistance at first, don’t give up. HR’s role is changing and change is good.

Transform your HR department (and your company). Sign up for a free demo of the all-new SentricHR.