Wagner Denuzzo, LCSW is the Head of Future of Work at Prudential Financial. He is a thought leader in workforce management whose presentations and talks are inspiring others to reinvent themselves in leading a successful work/ life harmonization.

As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, HR is leading the Future of Work with speed and agility to meet the needs of a dynamic, complex and adaptive business environment defined by disruptive forces fueled by technology. This is a moment of great opportunity demanding new ways of working and thinking to break with old habits and build experiments and failures on the road to success. It’s exciting, but the stakes are high, and this kind of change becomes a daily threat to our sense of comfort and balance. HR leaders will have to fully embrace the digital transformation that has been revolutionizing businesses for over ten years. If we believe in business as a platform, employee engagement must emerge from a multi-channel frictionless employee experience powered by a digital ecosystem connecting the workplace.

To detangle this complexity, HR must organize their technology systems and focus on hypotheses that may help us predict the best way forward. We can start by identifying our systems of record to ensure data sets are reliable and accurate, systems of insights for data mining with meaning, and lastly, design a system of engagement inclusive of all employees, partners, leaders, and customers of an enterprise that create the optimum environment for exchange of knowledge and value for all involved. Once the data architecture is defined, then HR leaders must apply their best “sense making” skills to synthesize information from the marketplace, global socio-economic forces influencing business behaviors, as well as deeply understand their current and future customers.

“In this loosely coupled, tightly align environment, HR becomes the true business partner of an organization in continuous transformation”

The integration of people analytics, employee and customer sentiment, workplace data, and HR strategy can only occur once organizations are able to identify their critical capabilities which will deliver disproportionate competitive advantage for the enterprise. This will create a dynamic positive flow of work based on work design, reinvention of roles, process re-engineering and clusters of skills that comprise the value engine of the organization and allows for agile development of services, products, and experiences for their customers. In this loosely coupled, tightly align environment, HR becomes the true business partner of an organization in continuous transformation. High value HR is about exponential learning and growth of skills that traditionally were not part of an HR leader experience. HR professionals must be immersed in continuous learning to fully leverage these new functional capabilities.

Elevating HR as a differentiator in business outcomes will take some time, but the acceleration of our function’s knowledge and capabilities is undeniable. HR leaders are now ambidextrous professionals able to synthesize large volumes of data to derive insights, that combined with superior critical thinking, cognitive control and growth mindset will determined the winners and losers in the global business world. Fully utilizing technologies to advance our predictive capabilities, inference of skills through IA and just in time learning through machine learning can ignite talent marketplaces as “experience” platforms, connect all members of the work community, and create value beyond expectations.

The digital transformation of HR is here to stay and can be the most exciting development in our profession for years to come. But we must allow ourselves to become learners again, dive into new technologies with curiosity and courage to fail. Most HR leaders in the areas of Talent Management, Learning, Succession Planning, Performance Management, Organizational Development and Design, as well as Total Rewards leaders, Talent Acquisition, and HR Business Partners must become People Analytics savvy to fully integrate HR towards value creation and business outcomes. Using data, insights and creativity, HR leaders will be able to predict workforce dynamics, plan for capability-building, and promote a cultural transformation in their organizations that will eliminate the silos of yesterday and develop an interconnected workforce of the future.