There’s no doubt that digital is quickly transforming the way we do everything. Organizations of all sizes are undergoing a period of intense transformation, and it can be easy to get swept up in new technologies. But at the core of each organization is its people, and it’s important to keep them at the forefront of your transformation. 

At the 2021 edition of the North American HR Executive Summit, Binh Nguyen, VP of Talent Acquisition at Walmart, spoke about Walmart’s strategy to keep people at the heart of their digital transformation, and what they believe the future will look like. 

Nguyen outlined three main takeaways for strategic human resource management when undergoing digital transformation: embracing change, creating opportunities for everyone, and keeping people at the center of everything you do. 

Embracing change 

At Walmart, there are three constants: purpose, values, and change. Change is the only way your organization can improve, and the sooner your organization, leaders, and employees can learn to embrace that change, the better off you will be. Embracing change can lead to an environment where your employees feel comfortable being curious and coming to leadership with new solutions that will help push your organization into the future. 

Make it as simple as possible for members of your organization to suggest new procedures and follow up quickly. Having an easy-to-follow process for ideas will empower employees to look for new solutions every day, and with every idea that gets implemented, your employees will begin to see themselves in the work that they do. This cycle of change will not only drive your organization’s transformation, but it will also keep people at the center of your organization. 

Create a path for everyone 

It’s harder to attract and retain talent in almost every industry than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers are searching for purpose and meaning from their careers, and they want to know that they have space to grow within your organization. If you aren’t providing this for them, they will find work somewhere that does. 

Walmart has implemented multiple measures that give their employees the opportunity to learn and move quickly within the company. Their Project Galaxy gives workers the ability to screen themselves into available roles, rather than being screened out by those higher-up. To accomplish this, Walmart encourages employees to view roles as a collection of skills rather than by their title. When you make this change, employees are able to see themselves in higher roles, which opens pathways for them to grow. These programs allow the company to meet their talent gaps by investing back into their workforce and uplifting current employees. 

Additionally, Walmart’s LiveBetterU gives 1.5 million associates access to debt free education. This program not only provides an exceptional benefit to employees, but associates that have graduated from the program are more likely to be internally promoted and stay with the company for many years.

Every organization will have a different path, but Walmart’s programs can act as inspiration for ways to inspire and uplift current employees and attract new talent. 

Putting people at the center

Technology can transform your organization’s procedures, but it’s the people that are the driving force behind that change. Nguyen explained four messages to keep in mind as you navigate your transformation: have empathy, be curious, have humanity, and lean into your values. 

Having empathy towards your employees and customers will lead to greater understanding, support, and trust, all of which your organization will need to successfully navigate your transformation. Being curious will create an environment where your employees feel comfortable coming forward with ideas and trying new solutions. Hold your managers accountable to support your employees as they do this – you never know where the next big idea will come from. 

Staying kind and encouraging humanity within your organization will center your employees and customers and keep them the focus of your transformation for years to come. Along with this, create an environment where your leaders are held accountable to your organizational values. The path towards transformation is only possible if every member is on board, which starts at the top. 

Looking to the future 

As Nguyen said in his session, keeping people first will never go out of style. Technology may continue to evolve and change the way we do things, but people will always be the most important part of any organization. Learning to keep people at the center, embracing change, and creating a path for everyone will drive the transformation of your organization and lead to great things. 

Colleen Douglas
Coordinator, Marketing
Executive Platforms

Colleen joined the Executive Platforms team in May of 2022. She has three years of experience in event marketing, with an emphasis on copywriting and digital strategies. 

Colleen has a BA Honours in Business Communications from Brock University and a Diploma in Digital Media Marketing from George Brown College.