Building an organisation for the future starting from people: the role of the HR Department in digital transformation


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Responds to...

  • What is the impact of digital transformation on the workforce and on people’s set of skills?
  • How can digital transformation alter the challenges that HR must face?
  • Which programmes to encourage digital innovation and digital culture have been implemented as of today by the HR Department?
  • How widely spread are the new digital trends, such as cloud, analytics, social media and mobile means, as part of the process to manage and develop human resources?
  • What are the skills needed in HR in the light of digital transformation?


The HR Departments at Italian companies are increasingly aware of the major role they play in digital transformation. Developing a digital culture and digital skills is the main challenge for 2017, while it was a low priority in 2016. This is a giant leap ahead in barely 12 months. To start out upon this road and spur a company towards thinking and acting digitally, HR must first of all put itself up for discussion, re-appraising its own pool of functions and skill sets and, by fielding digital technology, re-examine its processes and services. While it is true that the HR Department, whose role it is to guide the change, must help the process of evolving the corporate culture and skills in a digital key, it is equally true that HR must develop these skills within its own house. The more traditional and typical HR skills must be gradually joined by digital skills and other multidisciplinary competencies linked to all business aspects (functional skills).
This report is based upon research work that involved some 147 HR directors, area managers (for recruitment, training and administration) in medium-large firms operating in Italy, and it provides a snapshot of the landscape in which HR operates: the main challenges and organisational changes that must be faced, how the set of required skills are changing and which technological tools are now available. The report also describes how HR perceives the future of work, where the effects of digital transformation are increasingly being felt. The results are presented both by average level and by business macro-sector and size.


  • The implications of digital transformation for organisations: the HR viewpoint
  • The skills needed in HR
  • Using IT to support processes
  • Talent acquisition & retention
  • Initiatives to increase engagement and benefits for organisations
  • What people think
  • The new role of HR in organisations: to enable a people strategy