CIOs must partner with CHROs to accelerate digital transformation

A proactive and adaptive culture is a critical asset in an era of continuous change. In these times, CIOs will play a key role in establishing the right mindsets and practices, they will be as responsible for culture change as chief HR officers (CHROs) by 2021 as per Gartner.  

Culture can be an accelerator of digital transformation, and a lot of CIOs have realized that. As a result, they have the means to reinforce the desired culture through their technology choices. The perfect way to align technology selections and design processes to shape the desired work behaviors is a partnership with the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). Since the mission and values of an organization usually fall into the remit of H, the partnership between IT and HR can shed light on how IT can make technology and process design decisions that foster the intention of the desired organizational culture. Enterprise architecture can adopt principles that align with the cultural traits, thereby helping business analysts creating design processes with the intended traits in mind. In cooperation with HR, IT supports the way an organization behaves.

However, culture change is a process, and like any other process there will be barriers to digital initiatives — in peoples’ mindsets and practices. A cultural hack is a great way to jump-start culture change and enable adoption of new technologies and processes, start with a small, motivated user group and use it to showcase fast wins and results.

As per a recent Gartner survey, 67 percent of organizations have already completed culture change initiatives or were in the process of doing so. The reason for many of those initiatives was that the current culture has been identified as a barrier to digital transformation. Transformational initiatives are clear failures and CIOs report that the main barrier is the culture in 50 percent of cases. CIOs should start with culture change when they embark on digital transformation as a logical conclusion, and not wait to address it later.

Today, organizations need better decisions made fast and ideally at the front line. Teams must consist of multidisciplinary, diverse members to achieve this objective, with the autonomy and accountability to act and to realize financial targets. For the success of those teams, diversity & inclusion (D&I) is critical.

D&I initiatives will only contribute to business results if they are scaled properly and actually reach frontline employees. To frontline employees, enterprises often overlook extending D&I programs such as unconscious bias training. By diagnosing the current state of inclusion, developing leaders who foster inclusion and embedding inclusion into daily business execution, numerous technologies can enhance the scale and effectiveness of D&I programs.

CIOs and CHROs can cooperate easily and effectively under D&I initiatives. For instance, CIOs can champion empowerment behaviors as they have a lot of experience with agile development and product teams working together. IT department’s investment in partnering with HR to set up programs for monitoring, measuring and enhancing inclusion. As per Gartner research, inclusion can improve performance by over 30 percent in diverse teams.

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