How to Transform HR to be more Digital

We hear a lot about digital transformation in HR, but how do you achieve this in partnership with the business rather than in isolation? That’s the topic of this week’s Digital HR Leaders podcast.

The guest on this week’s podcast is Sharon Doherty, Chief People Officer at Finastra who until recently spent nearly six years at Vodafone as Global Organisation and People Development Director, where she led Vodafone's approach to Organisational Effectiveness, Resourcing, Talent, Capability, Diversity and Inclusion and Digital Transformation across 30 markets

I can’t think of many better guests to have on our first show than Sharon. She is one of a new breed of Chief People Officers. Business focused, data-driven but at the same time people oriented and passionate about diversity and inclusion, where she has led some truly ground-breaking work at Vodafone.

To hear Sharon’s thoughts on the role of HR in 2025, take a look at this short video or read the full transcript below. If you’re interested in hearing the rest of the interview, then you can listen or subscribe here.

David Green: You mention 2025 which is great because that leads onto the last question. Where do you see HR in 2025?

Sharon Doherty: You know I think there's two things going on in HR. I think there's this massive new science that is coming in that needs to be merged with a lot of humanity, and I think for the HR function to pull that off we've really got to go back to school on a number of things. So we've got to learn some new skills: Analytics, Design Thinking, UX, Agile. We've got to really understand how agile org effectiveness works and we've got to get massively upskilled on team effectiveness coaching. So there's all of this science, some of it's been around for a while, some of its pretty new, that HR functions really need to build a muscle in and at the same time figure out the purpose of organisations and how we keep a really people-centred approach to leadership.

Now my hope is that en masse, HR functions can make that journey and that transformation, and my view is those that do get a seat at the table will get a bigger chair, because I think what is happening, particularly on capacity building, is that this is becoming a core business issue and my sliding doors analogy is those functions, those HR teams that don't build those new super powers, I think they're going to get pushed to one side and there will be a different version of the future which is that HR becomes an administrative function and the strategic contribution that can be made will be taken away and other functions will do it.

As I said at the beginning, I'm an optimist and I think there are a lot of really great people in HR, a lot of smart people and a lot of people that are really trying to do the right things for their organisations, for their people and the communities in which we operate, so I'm hopeful that 2025 looks like more HR functions focusing on culture and capacity and being company ambassadors.


David Green is a globally respected writer, speaker, conference chair, and executive consultant on people analytics, data-driven HR and the future of work. As an Executive Director at Insight222, he helps global organisations create more cultural and economic value through the wise and ethical use of people data and analytics. Prior to joining Insight222, David was the Global Director of People Analytics Solutions at IBM Watson Talent. As such, David has extensive experience in helping organisations embark upon and accelerate their people analytics journeys. You can follow David on LinkedIn and Twitter and also subscribe to The Digital HR Leader weekly newsletter and podcast.