• Phil Mitchell, Partner |
3 min read

Over the past decade, cloud platforms have transformed the delivery of transactional HR services. Now, as the world of work undergoes radical change, businesses – and employees – are looking for something very different, says Phil Mitchell.

The cloud implementations of the past decade have transformed the way HR organisations deliver services. For employees, they’ve made everyday transactions, such as applying for a new role or keeping track of performance targets, faster and simpler. For businesses and HR organisations, they’ve brought speed and efficiency to the execution of core HR tasks.

But the world of work is undergoing radical change. For the first time, hybrid working is commonplace. Most organisations are still grappling with the implications of this – looking to understand how to maintain productivity and keep their newly distant workforce engaged. Meanwhile, in the UK, a resource gap the like of which has not been seen in 30 years is driving exceptionally high rates of attrition. At the same time, employees are rethinking what they want from work – focusing particularly on how they can build their skills and enhance their employability for the future.

In this new world, HR organisations need something very different to conventional, transactional platforms. The challenge now is to build a modern digital HR service that meets the new needs of businesses and employees.

New needs in the new reality

In the new reality, businesses are looking to HR to leverage cloud platforms more fully to dial up performance across five priority areas: efficacy, efficiency, engagement, evidence and experience. Evidence is especially important – businesses need data-based people insights to understand how to maintain productivity and get the best from every employee in the new environment. Here, HR organisations that succeed in leveraging HR data are brilliantly placed to step forward as a true business partner and provide actionable insights.

Employees, meanwhile, are looking for greater control over their careers. So the digital HR service of the future will incorporate a learning platform connected to the broader skills frameworks and job requirements that will give employees access to innovative learning and development resources. These will help equip them with the skills the business needs now and for the future, as well as empowering employees to develop their own careers. This fusing on interests will help employers forge deeper relationships with employees and strengthen engagement in a fast-changing world.

Evolution, not revolution

It’s clear the digital HR service of the future will look very different to the transactional cloud platforms of today. The good news is that developing such a service architecture can take the form of an agile, sprint based evolution, rather than a transformation. With KMPG’s Powered HR, for example, HR organisations can build leading practices and technology onto their existing cloud platforms, rather than starting again from scratch. Our experience is that incremental steps, prioritised to address the biggest pain points, are one of the most effective ways to implement a lower-risk and, ultimately, faster transition.

Your cloud platform is just the beginning

Radical and dynamic change in the world of work gives HR organisations a new opportunity to bring forward innovative solutions to meet modern workforce challenges. If you are an HR leader looking to meet business and employee needs in the new reality, perhaps one of the most important lesson is that the cloud HR platform itself is no longer the solution. It’s what you do with it that counts.