KPMG: Achieving a Digital HR Mind-Set: How Powered HR Can Help.

Originally published on by Don Mailliard, Global Solution leader for KPMG Powered Enterprise.

For those of you in the HR world, you’ve no doubt had a lot to deal with during the recent COVID-19 outbreak. This comes in the middle of a period of upheaval for HR anyway. Demographic changes, skills shortages in certain areas and emerging (or maturing) enabling technologies are all influencing how HR services can or should be delivered. Pandemics both focus the mind and further complicate the landscape under which HR leaders are operating.

My colleague at KPMG International, Robert Bolton (Global Head of People & Change Center of Excellence), recently published an excellent paper entitled ‘Reinventing Work – A sequel to the Rise of the Human Series’.

In it, he sets out the imperative for reinvention and discusses some of the areas that HR leaders need to address, such as workforce shaping. A key part of his argument is ‘Achieving the Digital Mindset for HR’. He highlights the trends of organizations who are likely to possess a digital mind-set and of those less likely to. The potential benefits of doing so are clear, with employee and customer centric organizations outperforming others, often by an order of magnitude.

In my role as Global Solution leader for KPMG Powered Enterprise, I am often asked the how question. How do we get from where we are now, to where we need to be?

Because Powered Enterprise is cross functional, the same question comes from leaders in Finance, Procurement, Risk Management and Sales – to name just a few. For now, I want to focus on HR and to consider the four themes to achieving digital mind-set that Robert has introduced:

  1. Connecting end to end
  2. Everyone as an innovator
  3. Growth mind-set
  4. Courage to act/challenge

By use of some examples, I will outline how the KPMG transformation approach, KPMG Powered Enterprise | HR (Powered HR), can help to answer the how.

  1. Connecting end to end

    Understand the overall value chain and redesign accordingly. During redesign, consider required outcomes with customer experience as the primary driver. Be open to delivery model ideas from alternative external sources.

    Powered HR is an outcome focused business function transformation approach that combines leading practice for HR functions, tried and tested process and delivery models for HR and market leading technology solutions for the HR market.

    As such, Powered HR is a natural fit as a solution to enable the connection of the function end to end, and the function within the business end to end. For example, certain HR functions (e.g. Rewards) need data from other parts of the business to be effective. Predefined Powered HR processes set out what data is required; pre-configured Powered HR technologies and workflows can help make it happen. Given that accurate compensation payment enhances the employee experience, an accurate reward management process is essential.

  2. Everyone as an innovator

    Apply design thinking techniques. Redesign jobs across processes to include automation, cognitive augmentation, product/service innovation, redesigned roles for humans and machines.

    An integral part of Powered HR is KPMG’s target operating model for HR. Offering leading practice covering six critical ‘layers’ that are designed to help drive a successful transformation outcome: – functional processes, people (and roles), service delivery models, technology, performance insights (and data) and governance. In short, it enables you to validate your future way of working and acts as the foundation for your transformed function.

    Because the target operating model is broad and deep, it allows for a more complete design that understands which tasks need to be human, and which ought to be automated. This is particularly true of performance insight and governance, which are both often overlooked in ‘traditional’ transformation projects, but which are integral to user and organizational acceptance.

  3. Growth mind-set

    Adopt an experimental mind-set, involve workers in the design. Help ensure flexibility by design, so that roles and people can evolve. Plan for upskilling early and instil a ‘learning to learn’ mind-set.

    Similar to (2), the Powered HR target operating model promotes inclusivity and an experimental mind-set, especially during the early phases of a transformation, envisioning and validation. This approach allows the project to understand the potential impact on process (a), by making changes to process (b), or, the potential impact on process (a) by using technology (c) instead of technology (d) together with the people and service delivery considerations.

    You could think of the KPMG target operating model enabling the project team to experiment with a series of ‘levers’ and being able to see the potential impact of the decisions (or changes) they make along the way. The target operating model also comes with training resources for upskilling and reskilling the HR workforce.

  4. Courage to act/challenge

    Build autonomy and freedom for workforce at all levels to act as a leader. Help to ensure priorities and progress are shared up, down and sideways. Promote interdependence between team members.

    What would encourage the workforce to challenge the norm? Culture – that challenging is encouraged, or at the very least, not discouraged. Confidence – supported by evidence to back up their hunch. Tools – to make a challenge and to progress it, or see it being progressed.

    For many of member firm clients, a Powered Enterprise led transformation can be a culture change itself, a shift away from what previously had not worked. Clients can benefit from being able to manage change on an ongoing basis, and to continue to evolve. The tools that come with Powered Enterprise foster collaborative working and promote change. Their use helps promote visibility interdependence within the team. Lastly, the improvement in access to meaningful data and analytics at all levels enables decisions to be information-led. This can give the entire workforce the ability to tap into what is happening real-time and back up their observations with evidence.

A means to a digital end

The KPMG Powered Enterprise family of technology solutions is a means to an end. They can help to create the digital business function of tomorrow, today. The key digital mind-set challenges set out by Robert and his team could equally apply across the wider organization of finance, procurement, sales, customer services, etc. That is why KPMG professionals have designed Powered Enterprise to cover around a dozen major functional areas of an organization.

For HR, Powered HR can help your function create and maintain a digital mind-set. In turn, this can give you the platform for reinventing work by reshaping your workforce, focusing on the employee and customer experience, dealing with disruption and ultimately can help drive higher revenues and profitability.

For more information, please visit

Don Mailliard

Don Mailliard

Global Executive Sponsor – Powered Enterprise

KPMG in the U.S.


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