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Develop a Holistic Digital HR Strategy

Increase efficiencies, effectiveness, and engagement with a living strategy that starts with the client experience.

  • Seventy-seven percent of organizations do not have a documented HR technology strategy (McLean & Company, HR Trends Survey, 2021; n=431), resulting in existing technology solutions that were selected reactively and fail to effectively meet client needs.
  • Many HR departments are not taking any action to support digital transformation and are left out of key decisions around HR technology selection and implementation, despite being the primary users and facilitating its adoption throughout the organization.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

Creating a digital HR strategy without considering the client experience risks not meeting the needs of a modern workforce. To be successful, HR’s digital strategy must balance the organization’s needs with the needs of the people who will be actively interacting with the processes and systems.

Impact and Result

  • Develop a holistic digital HR strategy that is owned and driven by HR in collaboration with other key stakeholders to realize benefits such as greater HR efficiency and improved client experience and engagement.
  • Focus on the client experience to ensure the people who will be actively interacting with the processes and systems have direct input into the strategy to maximize buy-in, adoption, and impact.
  • Ensure strict prioritization and take a phased approach to maintain a manageable workload. The goal is to create a multi-year, living strategy, not to achieve a static end-state.
  • Incorporate change management into the roadmap and communications of the digital HR strategy to create reasonable timelines, encourage adoption, and maximize the benefits realized.

Develop a Holistic Digital HR Strategy Research & Tools

1. Identify priority HR technology elements

Gather feedback from clients, review organizational goals, and prioritize HR technology elements to define scope, purpose, and metrics for the digital HR strategy.

2. Uncover the client digital experience

Document and map HR processes and systems, visualize the degree of systems integration, create client personas, and conduct interviews to inform empathy and journey maps.

3. Identify digital opportunities and select initiatives

Categorize digital opportunities, prioritize initiatives, and select goals and metrics to assess improvements in each prioritized HR technology element.

4. Create a digital HR strategy roadmap

Identify organizational change type and impact, outline initiatives to build a digital HR strategy roadmap, communicate with affected stakeholders and the organization, and start planning for the next phase.

Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) Strategy

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How to complete this course:

Use these videos, along with the Project Blueprint deck above, to gain an understanding of the subject. Start with the Introduction, then move through each of the Course Modules. At the end of each Module, you will be required to complete a short test to demonstrate your understanding. You will complete this course when you have completed all of the course tests.

  • Number of Course Modules: 5
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1.5 hours

Learning Outcome

Select and implement an HRIS strategy by adopting a holistic perspective of HR systems and choosing an HRIS that meets the organization’s needs and supports future goals.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Explain how an HRIS supports HR’s shift from an administrative function to a strategic partner to the business.
  • Develop an HRIS business model based on an assessment of organizational goals, HR’s needs, technology drivers, and environmental factors.
  • Determine user needs and pain points through the requirements gathering process and select the right HRIS strategy for the organization.
  • Describe the factors involved in creating an implementation roadmap.

Course Modules

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Module 1

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Module 2

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Module 3

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Module 4

Workshop: Develop a Holistic Digital HR Strategy

Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Define Digital HR Current State

The Purpose

  • Understand the current state of HR processes and technology.
  • Align project purpose with organizational goals.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • An understanding of the current state of the digital environment of the organization.




Review client questionnaire results and insights.

  • Digital HR scope

Review organizational and HR goals to align with digital HR strategy.

  • Digital HR purpose statement

Take an inventory of current HR processes and systems.

  • High-level HR process maps

Map the current state of HR technology systems.

  • HR technology systems map

Prioritize HR technology elements.

Module 2: Elicit Pain Points and Digital HR Needs

The Purpose

Elicit pain points and needs in the core HR and workforce management technology elements.

Key Benefits Achieved

Key pain points and digital needs to inform the strategy documented.




Elicit and capture pain points and digital needs from core HR technology elements.

  • Core HR pain points and digital needs

Elicit and capture pain points and digital needs from workforce management technology elements.

  • Workforce management pain points and digital needs

Module 3: Elicit Pain Points and Digital HR Needs (continued)

The Purpose

Elicit pain points and needs in the talent management and strategic HR technology elements.

Key Benefits Achieved

Key pain points and digital needs to inform the strategy documented.




Elicit and capture pain points and digital needs from talent management technology elements.

  • Talent management pain points and digital needs

Elicit and capture pain points and digital needs from strategic HR technology elements.

  • Strategic HR pain points and digital needs

Module 4: Identify Digital Opportunities and Initiatives

The Purpose

Identify digital opportunities and initiatives stemming from digital needs and pain points.

Key Benefits Achieved

Prioritized initiatives to include in the strategy listed.




Identify and categorize digital opportunities stemming from pain points and needs in each technology element.

  • Digital opportunities from each technology element identified and categorized.

Brainstorm digital HR initiatives to address opportunities.


Prioritize digital HR initiatives.

  • Prioritized list of initiatives to address digital opportunities.

Module 5: Create a Digital HR Strategy Roadmap

The Purpose

  • Create a digital HR strategy roadmap and plan high-level change management and communications.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Roadmap of digital initiatives prioritized.
  • High-level change management planned.




Create a digital HR strategy roadmap to plan for prioritized digital HR initiatives.

  • Digital HR strategy roadmap

Create high-level change management plan.

  • High-level change management plan

Plan communications with impacted stakeholders and the organization.

  • High-level communications plan

About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 4-phase advisory process. You'll receive 10 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation #1 - Identify priority HR technology elements
  • Call #1 - Review client feedback, connections to organizational goals, and results from external scan.
  • Call #2 - Prioritize HR technology elements.
  • Call #3 - Establish scope, purpose, and goals and metrics of the strategy.

Guided Implementation #2 - Uncover the client digital experience
  • Call #1 - Discuss activities to complete process and systems mapping.
  • Call #2 - Define client personas and prepare for interviews.
  • Call #3 - Review empathy map and journey map findings.

Guided Implementation #3 - Identify digital opportunities and select initiatives
  • Call #1 - Identify digital opportunities and initiatives.
  • Call #2 - Select goals and metrics for prioritized HR technology elements.

Guided Implementation #4 - Create a digital HR strategy roadmap
  • Call #1 - Review the digital HR strategy roadmap.
  • Call #2 - Outline a communication plan and discuss next steps.


  • Francesca Bartha, Senior Manager, HR Systems Solutions, KPMG
  • Corrado Chiaramida, Senior Manager, Network Learning Business Management, Telecommunications company
  • Rossana Broderick, VP, Learning & Organizational Change Management, Alectra Utilities
  • Larry Dean, IT Director, Hastings County
  • Anjana Dhaliwal, Senior Manager, HR Systems, OLG
  • Rick Diesinger, Associate VP, HR Technology Strategy & Governance, Allergan
  • Debbie Elliott, Principal Consultant, Elliott D & Associates
  • Sideek Headlie, Engagement & Change Manager, Telecommunications Services of Trinidad & Tobago Limited
  • Marlon Herry, Enterprise Applications Manager, University of Trinidad and Tobago
  • Lisa Highfield, Research Director, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Volker Jacobs, CEO & Founder, TI People
  • Sharifa Jivani, OE Consultant, Toronto Hydro
  • Suanne McGrath Kelly, President, Chief Business Strategist, Plan in Motion Inc.
  • Ilia Maor, Manager, HR Technology and Analytics, York Region
  • Jim Meier, Director of Global Projects, Barry-Wehmiller
  • David Piazza, President, SoftwareReviews
  • Jay Polaki, Founder and CEO, HR Geckos
  • Harjas Rai, Senior HR Business Partner, Media company
  • Atif Siddiqui, Senior Partner, Cloud HCM, GroupeX
  • Kim Townes, HR Director, Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre
  • Diana Valler, VP of HR, H.I.S. Red Label Vacations
  • Ken Weston, Senior Consulting Analyst, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Henry Winter, VP, People & Safety, Alectra Utilities