My colleagues and I recently had the opportunity to share our “Net Better Off” framework at the 2020 HR Technology conference. We led a lively panel discussion about how a digital core can unlock human potential and leave your people and your business Net Better Off.

The Net Better Off framework stems from Accenture’s extensive research with more than 3,500 C-suite leaders and more than 15,000 workers. Our data revealed that by making workers Net Better Off, organizations can enjoy significant revenue growth. But what does it take to leave workers Net Better Off? Our report outlines six key dimensions: emotional and mental, relational, physical, financial, purposeful and employable. 

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64% of a person’s potential—defined by their ability to use their skills and strengths at work—is influenced by whether or not they feel better off across the six dimensions of the Net Better Off framework

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But to enable the Net Better Off framework, people need the right support. Our research and experience suggests that intelligent technologies need to be a partner to people, enhancing the experience in the workplace by bringing ideas, opportunities and insights that allow individuals to thrive in their business and personal environments. There has never been a more important time to build this digital muscle within the HR function.

Supporting the workforce with a digital core

We see many HR organizations doubling down on building their digital muscle, and innovative technologies are yielding benefits that extend far beyond automation. For example, they are enabling:

  • Connectivity - Fostering interactions between people across the organization, but also reconnecting people with themselves by improving mental resilience.
  • Opportunity - Creating growth options for people inside and outside the enterprise.
  • Visibility - Data-powered insights for effective decision-making.

But as with building any muscle, it doesn’t just happen overnight. To deliver this value successfully to the organization, HR and IT need to construct a digital core that consists of an integrated ecosystem of HR technology partners, including platforms and specialized solutions. The digital core is not a static engine; it’s a technology Transformation that evolves over time and delivers continuous innovation. Purposeful experiments strengthen the muscle and make it more resilient and adaptive. When digital is infused into talent enablement and decision-making, it becomes part of the organization’s culture.

Artificial intelligence (AI) powers this digital core and deploying AI capabilities always comes with great responsibility. Selecting and orchestrating HR technologies that align with the organization’s definition of “responsible AI” is fundamental. Indeed, ecosystem partners in the digital core should all contribute to the ethical, transparent and accountable use of AI technologies in a manner consistent with user expectations, organizational values and societal laws and norms.

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A strong digital core for stronger outcomes

As we think about making people Net Better Off, we can identify several ways in which a strong digital core can enable these dimensions.

Organizations can help ensure that people have in-demand capabilities and skills to obtain good jobs and advance in their career, making them more sought-after in the marketplace. Digital enables many new skilling and career growth opportunities. For instance, Accenture’s own reskilling solutions based on our intellectual property in skills development, along with workforce reskilling platforms such as SkyHive, learning experience platforms like Degreed, talent marketplace solutions such as Gloat, or candidate assessment solutions including Pymetrics all contribute to augmenting human potential and ingenuity.


At Accenture, we are using the PluralSight learning solution to support our global technology upskilling initiative called “TQ” (Technology Quotient). Our goal is to make our more than 500,000 people fully conversant with the latest technology trends.


Workers need to feel a strong sense of belonging and inclusion, having many strong personal relationships. So how can intelligent solutions help connect the dots between teammates and supervisors, alumni and current staff, or mentors with new joiners?

Conversational-AI recruiting and digital onboarding solutions provide new ways for candidates and new joiners to interact with organizations, to better understand where they could fit and to build human connections early on. And especially right now, many businesses are conducting virtual onboarding. Our clients are using solutions such as ServiceNow or Enboarder to amplify the sense of belonging and engagement of new joiners. Even before workers officially start with a company, they can get to know their future colleagues and onboarding cohort through welcome messages and short videos.

Emotional and Mental

Feeling positive emotions and maintaining mental wellness are always important—but even more so during these tumultuous times. HR organizations have increased their focus on digital wellness solutions as well as employee listening solutions to help employees with mental resilience and health. For example, our talent wellness analytics solution effectively monitors employee lifestyle using data from varied sources to predict illness / fatigue. It helps organizations gain a better understanding of how emotional wellness can improve overall workforce productivity. We have also deployed AI solutions for our clients to measure the stress score of employees, for their psychological and mental wellbeing.

We at Accenture, as well as some of our clients, use Thrive Global, a solution that recommends daily micro-steps to help reduce stress, increase well-being and maximize productivity.

A future of Net Better Off

Our research before COVID-19 showed that the emotional, relational and purposeful dimensions were the strongest drivers of positive employee behaviors. At that time, most organizational leaders were investing only in the employable and financial dimensions, and thereby failing to unlock the full potential of their people.

Now, as we see workers’ needs evolve, the HR organization has an opportunity to use intelligent technologies to help people across all six dimensions. We should expect to see even more AI in digital HR technology, and even more collaboration between the human and digital workforces. This powerful combination will help organizations to solve for the Net Better Off equation, supporting workers by unlocking their utmost potential.

See more Workforce insights.

Camille Prost

Managing Director – Digital HR

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