Let’s Talk: Digital

Let’s Talk: Digital 2019-07-12T13:23:33+00:00

‘Digital’ is all pervasive.  It is hard to believe that the internet is just over 25 years old – the pace of change has been so rapid.  Digital technologies have arguably transformed society more than any other factor over the last 20 years.  The pace of change and the scope of technology available shows no sign of slowing down. Indeed technology is the precursor of what is commonly know as the 4th Industrial Revolution. Disrupt, disrupt, disrupt has become a constant drumbeat.

Digital has profound consequences for public services and society as a whole.  Our capacity to design, deliver and maintain services using digital by default offers profound opportunities to save money and improve services.  However, there are drawbacks.  Constant speculation about how artificial intelligence (AI) in particular will cost public and private sector jobs is disruptive.  But it has massive policy impacts for how people live and work.  These are serious philosophical issues.

It is clear as Let’s Talk: Digital theme lead, that digital can’t be ignored. HR & OD colleagues have an enormous role to play in making a difference to our organisation’s success by understanding how we can take advantage of digital now and design organisations to make the most of digital in the future.  However, there are big gaps in our confidence, skills and knowledge to champion digital change. Working together on the ‘Lets Talk Digital’ theme we have to and we can change this!  Our organisations depend on us.

‘Lets Talk Digital’?

This PPMA strategic theme recognises that digital is here and the pace of change around how we work has never been faster. Artificial Intelligence, chatbots, automation and robots are already changing the work we do and developing ever more quickly. To continue to be credible and relevant, the HR & OD profession needs not only to keep up, but to be at the forefront of these developments and how they are implemented in the workplace.

Why is this theme important?

Research shows that the role of HR & OD is important.  PPMA has undertaken two recent pieces of research with Eduserve and MHR.  As an example, the MHR and PPMA Whitepaper “Turning HR teams into ‘technology change leaders’ published in October 2018 identified that 99% of respondents thought that HR should be driving change to adopt new ways of working , however 50% of respondents felt prevented from driving new ways of working via technology.

“As a HR function we do not automatically see ourselves as digital enablers on behalf of the organisation.” Karen Grave, President of the PPMA.

The top barriers identified are –

  • Lack of resources
  • Fear of Change
  • Knowledge gaps

Through this theme we will work together on these issues and the developments in the field more broadly.  Our goal is to overcome these barriers to increase our confidence as a profession around digital, bringing our skills to deliver successful change and organisation design to the digital agenda.

Out top priorities for 2019/20 are as follows

  • Understanding the impact of Digital disruption – how HR & OD should engage in service redesign to improve our employees and customers experience
  • Exploring the Human to Hybrid evolution – how we can use technology to support peoples lives
  • Understanding how robotics and AI will impact the work of HR & OD

Key outcomes will be:

  • Developing confidence in the profession to champion the cultural and systemic change required to make the most of the digital opportunities are available
  • Using our networks to understand what is available and what ‘best of breed’ looks like
  • Nurturing relationships with those who can help us with transformational change in this area – working across organisation boundaries and systems

There is of course another impact of technology.  We have increasingly become aware of technology being used to bully people.  We also know that the use of technology is impacting people’s physical and mental health too.  Digital wellbeing is a key theme of our Let’s Talk: Wellbeing theme and you can find our more about that here.

Back to Let’s Talk Themes page

Let’s Talk: Digital Theme Lead

Emma Browes

Email: [email protected]

#Hashtag: #PPMADigital

Want to know more?


Human to Hybrid: The Digital Opportunity – Delivering better candidate experiences in a hybrid workforce: https://content.capitapeoplesolutions.co.uk/whitepapers/wp-human2hybrid-digital-delivering-better-candidate-experiences


If you have best practice to share, please contact me at [email protected]. We are really keen to highlight the great practice we know is out there.

How to Get Involved …

Get in touch with Emma Browes via [email protected] and share your thoughts or examples of best practice.