ROI on Human Capital

What is your commitment to technology, do you have a love/hate relationship with it as many of us do. I, myself, love technology. The explanation for this is simple. 

As an organization and leadership expert consulting to companies over the last 25 years, I truly appreciate the importance that technology plays in preparing an organization to compete on the battlefield of tomorrow – especially in small to mid-size companies where budgets and talent are often constrained.         

Let me share some research conducted by the likes of McKinsey, Deloitte and PwC all suggesting that improving the ROI on Human Capital is one of the top three challenges that leaders face today – and this goes from the C-suite to line managers. 

Now imagine that technology holds the key to unlock that improvement. This only makes sense since technology departments play a very special role in organizational life serving two masters – internal customers and external customers. And to an extent, technology is the bridge between them through which collaboration occurs.    

More to the point, your role as IT professionals is central to the evolution of the workplace where connecting company to customers is an essential part of remaining competitive. This is especially true in an age of collaboration where the ability of operating leaders to effectively get teams to work in concert to support customers trumps all else.

In a 2020 Hype Cycle Report by Gartner, they declared that collaboration is the number one challenge that IT executives face in a post-COVID world. Moreover, the spend on collaboration will skyrocket between 2021 and 2022 by more than $100B dollars. This Gartner report speaks volumes about the challenge that IT departments face as companies attempt to out collaborate each other to gain the competitive advantage. 

Let’s put the first stake in the ground:

We are in a collaboration race unmatched in the history of the world whether we want to admit it or not.  Born out of our consulting and research experience, we found that there is an inexorable link between collaboration, performance and excellence. 

In fact, to maximize performance and move an organization closer towards excellence requires optimizing the collaborative process. This is how you move the needle on the ROI on Human Capital be it across the enterprise – or in your own IT department. 

The takeaway: optimize the collaborative process and help your organization out-perform    competitors!        

Now, let’s put a second stake in the ground.

Moving the needle on the ROI also requires that technology departments take the bull by the horns and help operating leaders automate as much of the business process as possible. The reason is simple. Automating low-value work frees up human hands to perform more value-rich work which in turn moves the needle on the ROI on human capital. 

Let me give you a case in point from my consulting experience. The Senior Vice President of a major retail bank was introduced to a new way to free up 1.5 hours of each of his 25 VPs time every week by automating a report that they had to compile manually. Through automation this SVP was able to turn low value work into value-rich work enabling his VPs to spend more face time with customers. He estimated that given the normal acquisition cycle to acquire customers this could add 75 to 100 new customers per year to his region alone.         

This stake in the ground applies regardless of industry or size of company. In fact, doing this may have a greater impact in small to mid-size firms than in larger legacy companies where there are many people to perform low value work and size alone can stand in the way of progress. 

The Takeaway: Automate as much low value work as possible and help your organization out-perform competitors!    

Let’s place the third stake in the ground:

Understanding your role in the evolution of the ‘anytime anywhere workforce’ concept is     critical to building a forward-thinking IT department. Operating leaders are looking to your knowledge and wisdom on the subject to help them take advantage of advanced technology in ways they may not fully understand.  

For example: most operating leaders have no clue what a “data lake” is or what it can do for them – but you do. How you communicate and enlighten them on the myriad of possibilities taking advantage of such advanced technology to further the anywhere anytime workforce concept is a paramount responsibility of the technologist – no matter what your role. This is another way to move the needle on the ROI on human capital.    

The takeaway: Leverage advanced technology to the max and help the organization out-perform competitors. 

The evolution of the workplace is in your hands. You are the petri dishes upon which future generations of IT departments depend. We all have heard the cry “change or die.” In the age of collaboration this over-used, over-maligned phrase may never be more relevant as it pertains to the convergence of technology and the human element. To maximize organization performance across the enterprise, or even in your department, depends on taking these three stakes we have placed in the ground seriously.   

It’s your role, or maybe I should say your obligation, to help operating leaders get their job done. Recognize that many operating leaders are frustrated and often disoriented using the plethora of disconnected resources available today to run the business, and better ways to design, conduct and execute work are rapidly coming at you.  

As progressive leaders, do yourselves a favor. Be informed, be bold and above all be ahead of the curve when it comes to optimizing the collaborative process to out-perform competitors and help maximize the ROI on human capital.