Digital Transformation: the Implications for HR

November 6, 2019 John McLaughlin

When organizations change, it falls to the HR team to source new talent and skills - but also to support the current talent to navigate new roles in the newly transformed organization. 

digital transformation

It is clear that the ever-increasing speed of technological and digital changes impact the way we live and work. Jobs, roles, the tasks we do, and the decisions we make are changing. Our workplaces and customers are being redefined, and the way in which we do business (whatever it may be) is shifting. Digital disruption impacts all businesses. It means that creating and implementing a digital transformation strategy will help to decide an organization’s survival in the digital era.1

Such transformation touches all employees. It greatly impacts those who must support employees to navigate the new digital age, and source new candidates in this changing environment; the HR leader. 

What skills will be needed in the future?

Sharp technical skills will still be important. Organizations both inside and outside the technology sector will still need to attract people with highly specialized technical skillsets that relate to artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, etc. But these skills are only part of the formula for success.

We believe that there are new critical competencies, such as the cognitive ability that allows for learning new skills, understanding complex problems and comprehending intricate information. The willingness to re-skill and up-skill as the work environment changes is important - as are the skills of collaboration and adaptability. Resilience, adaptability, flexibility, and curiosity will be the building blocks of an agile, digitally ready workforce. As McKinsey2 highlights in its paper, The Digital Future Of Work: What Skills Will Be Needed?, the future is seemingly less predictable and the previously clear career paths are less clear.

The role of HR

Clearly talent attraction and candidate engagement strategies will need to be developed with this new set of skills in mind. But what of the current employees?

We believe that HR leaders need to tackle the job of supporting and nurturing current talent as they work their way through the transformation of their workplace. For some this may mean a new path is to be followed whilst for others, new skills are to be acquired. Whatever the change, HR must support the current workforce, empowering each individual to take ownership of their future career.

Times are changing and we need to look at how we can bring our employees with us on this journey.

If you are interested in learning more about how to develop the talent needed for the future workforce, take a look at our on-demand webinar.

You may also want to take a look at this short video in which I explain what digital transformation means to our clients, and the implications for the future workforce


1. Gurbaxani, V. & Dunkle, D. (2019). The State of Digital Transformation in U.S. Companies. UCI Center for Digital Transformation.

2. McKinsey (2017). The digital future of work: what skills will be needed? Retrieved from

About the Author

John McLaughlin

John has worked for Aon’s Assessment Solutions for 10 years in a variety of roles and geographies across Europe, South America, and North America. This in-market experience combined with his current role as the global commercial director for the group leads to an in-depth knowledge of global trends impacting talent strategies across all organizations.

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