Digitalising the Diakonie

© Diakonie Wolfsburg/Sahnefotos

How transformation to a digital company succeeds

The use of digitalised technology changes the way of team work. A stronger connection, higher transparency and a simpler communication are supporting an open company culture and improve different working processes. The advantages are clear but how will the transformation to a digitalised company be successful? An interview with Daniela Engelbrecht, head of Human Resources Department, about the changes of the digital change.

How do you define a successful transformation to a digitalised company? What are crucial success factors?

Daniela Engelbrecht: Companies are not only supported by digital technologies but also redesigned. It means that working processes need to be rethought. Only through doing that we will be able to fulfil clients’ wishes and requests in a service- and goal-oriented way as well as effectively and efficiently. We are rethinking our processes through the eyes of our clients. There is no panacea for a successful digitalisation. It is significant to offer the necessary resources to the company. Based on that we put together a team that is open to and capable of the digital change and which is also able to convince our members of staff, especially our nurses, of the use of digitalisation. It is important to focus and to prioritise. Therefore, we started working on topics which will add the most value.

What role does Human Resources play in the digital transformation?

Daniela Engelbrecht: The Human Resources department plays a key role. We are in the middle of the change to a digital company. On the one hand, we have staff members which have seldomly worked digitally, also called “digital immigrants”. On the other hand, we have staff members which grew up in the digital world. The so called “digital natives” are communicating via social media, commenting on blog posts and have access to huge amounts of knowledge in a short amount of time through Google and Wikipedia. The sharing of knowledge is natural for them. Digitalisation allows staff members to participate in knowledge management since processes are transparent, information is available for everyone and teamwork on documents as well as unlimited, mobile access to files are available. This leads to a platform of teamwork, communication, information and knowledge management. It is our task to enable all members of staff to take and use the chances of digitalisation.

What does digitalisation look like specifically in your Human Resource area of responsibility?

Daniela Engelbrecht: We are accompanying the digital transformation process pro-actively and act as an internal consultant during strategic tasks linked to digitalisation.

Moreover, our operational work in the Human Resources department is changing as we are working with an innovative personnel-software since 2020. The timely, cloud-based HR-software solution is offering a simple, efficient and trouble-free use for our clients, members of staff, managers and of course the users in our department. This improves the experience of staff members since modern and fast technology can be used in working spaces. We enable our staff members a positive, digital experience within the Human Resources Department. Long service and working hours will become a thing of the past.

How does the individual member of staff profit from the digital change in the Diakonie?

Daniela Engelbrecht: Instead of searching for stability in rigid and centrally defined rules and processes we are going towards a continuously evolving organisation which is emphasizing flexible and decentralised processes.

Instead of focusing on single pieces of information from individual experts we are encouraging the connection between staff members, collaboration and interdisciplinarity. This is further mirrored in our strategy of working in multi-professional teams where colleagues with different professions are working together to expand boundaries and create new opportunities. This way the teams are able to address the clients’ wishes more profoundly. Collaboration also means that we stop focusing on experts with single pieces of information and instead rely on reactive teams. In a good collaboration, which means it is constantly being optimized, lies the future of digital organisation.

Data protection and security are topics which are closely connected to digitalisation. How is the Diakonie handling this?

Daniela Engelbrecht: As a company in the social and welfare sector we have to deal with legal rules and meet the standard regarding data protection and security just like every other company. An impact assessment regarding the data protection is allowing an assessment of the risks and possible consequences towards the personal rights and freedoms of every affected person.

Networking also means that the work becomes more transparent. For some staff members this can lead to the feeling of becoming transparent themselves. To talk about these worries, to assess possible consequences for one’s rights and to show that this is not about control but cooperation is a part of our digital transformation.

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