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Digital Proficiency for HR Professionals: Why is it Important?

Digital Proficiency for HR Professionals
Digital Proficiency for HR Professionals

Today, so many things have changed, thanks to digital transformation. Marketing, business operations, finance, healthcare, communications, and even human resources have all had their fair share of the impact of digitization. Interestingly, this is a growing trend, rapidly sweeping across every and any aspect of human endeavor.

According to a 2019 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), 14% of jobs will no longer exist in 20 years. One big lesson from this is that the earlier professionals and businesses alike jumped on the train, the better for them. Digitization brings on lots of benefits, one of which is automation/simplification of processes that hitherto have been cumbersome. For this and many other reasons, digital proficiency is no longer a thing, but a force. In HR, we’ve seen how artificial intelligence simplifies workflows, talent acquisition, and onboarding processes, as well as payroll and tax filing.

This post explores the meaning of digital proficiency for HR professionals, why it is important, and how HR professionals can strive toward more digital proficiency. Considering the massive and growing impacts of digitization in our world today, it makes sense for HR executives and managers to explore the benefits therein.

What is Digital Proficiency?

Digital proficiency encompasses skills, processes, and leveraging and integrating technology for improved personal and organizational efficiency. Digital proficiency for HR professionals refers to the ability of HR professionals to apply emerging technologies to organizational processes to promote organizational growth and drive productivity.

For the best results, digital proficiency requires an awareness of technology, and it impacts on both personal and business affairs. For organizations looking to grow fast, digital proficiency requires integrating digital solutions, such as artificial intelligence, seamlessly into employees’ journey, from the interview stage to onboarding, employee engagement, and employee management. Generally, HR professionals can leverage artificial intelligence for improved HR processes. According to AIHR, digital proficiency constitutes one of the four main HR competencies, which are data literacy, business acumen, digital proficiency, and people advocacy.

Digital proficiency, on the one hand, is made of 3 key components:

Technological Awareness

Technological awareness refers to an in-depth understanding of technological trends and innovation and how these trends and developments impact your organization. Digitally proficient HR executives stay abreast of current and emerging HR systems and technology. They also learn how other businesses are using HR technology and how it can benefit their own company.

Technological Embedding

Technological embedding specifically deals with using your digital expertise to contribute to business growth, drive HR activities, implement business strategies seamlessly, and promote the adoption of digital culture within the organization. This requires an in-depth understanding of digital HR tools and processes for improving efficiency and effectiveness. Technological embedding also involves actively searching for digital solutions to strengthen HR activities, including employee experience at work.

Building Digital Culture

With the knowledge gathered from technological/digital awareness and competencies developed in technological embedding, HR professionals should build a company-wide digital culture. The faster the entire organization becomes adept at using current digital solutions, the faster the company grows in terms of productivity and results.

Building a more digital-oriented HR culture involves coaching others and encouraging the use of digital solutions at work. This aspect focuses on developing digital capabilities for driving long-term, sustainable value for the organization. A digitally proficient HR professional is better equipped to implement organizational strategies.

Importance of Digital Proficiency for HR Professionals and Businesses

Optimizing core HR activities: digital proficiency makes it easy to automate some HR processes, such as payroll, assessment tests, interviews, onboarding, benefits, etc. Ultimately, this will improve or enhance employee experience and engagement. HR, therefore, needs to find ways to improve and optimize the HR functions continually.

Attracting digital-savvy employees: No doubt, companies that can establish a digital-first culture across the organization stand a better chance of attracting digital-savvy talents. In line with the ongoing digitization trend, many professionals will be more than happy to join digitally-oriented organizations. Digital proficiency, in this case, makes it easy for HR professionals and businesses to bring on millennial talents and, by doing so, build a robust digital culture.

Improving organizational effectiveness: Another aspect where you’ll see the impact of digitization is improving organizational effectiveness. Processes like document sharing, customer relationship management, employee engagement, recruitment, admin tasks like data entry, and so on can be automated and made easier with digitization. Digitally proficient HR professionals can deploy digital initiatives and solutions to improve workflow and drive organizational growth in a more efficient manner.

Personal development: In addition to improving organizational effectiveness, digital proficiency offers HR professionals the opportunity to improve their skills and become better at what they do. This effort ultimately reflects in the quality of their delivery and input in the organization.

How Can HR Professionals Build Digital Proficiency?

  1. Get familiar with new HR tools and technologies that other organizations are utilizing. While HR professionals do not need to become experts in AI or machine learning, it pays to understand how these technologies and solutions can contribute to the operation of your business.

  2. Collaborating with other departments in the organization might just expose you to tools that are already in use, which HR can also leverage to improve HR delivery services. Doing this also reveals gaps that need to be filled with digital HR solutions.

  3. Get certified in Digital HR. This is key to becoming a driver of digital transformation in your organization. Essentially, the benefits of learning new digital skills transcend the certifications; they will ultimately reflect in your service delivery. Your company will stay abreast of emerging technology, be able to use them, and remain competitive in a rapidly evolving global economy.

Digital Proficiency is the Way Forward

Given the impact of COVID-19 and how businesses have adjusted and are still adjusting globally, one way to effectively navigate the new trends is by deploying digital solutions. For instance, cloud-based document sharing, video conferencing platforms, and time-tracking tools have gained more popularity than ever since the widespread adoption of remote work policy.

According to McKinsey, recovery from COVID-19 requires a digital strategy for some businesses. We believe that HR professionals who are adept at using emerging digital solutions stand a better chance of running a winning organization.

About the Mission HR

The Mission HR is a leading partner in the PEO, HR, payroll, and benefits outsourcing marketplace. We are leading growth strategists, sales, and digital marketing experts. We provide result-oriented services for small and medium-sized organizations and government contractors, serving as a trusted partner in integrated human resource compliance, risk management, employee benefits, employment practices liability insurance (EPLI), and payroll processing. If in doubt or still unsure of what next steps to take, contact us today at The Mission HR to schedule a consultation.


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