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How prepared are you going digital?

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How is your digital transformation going? What is holding you back? Are your managers and employees on board with the organisation’s digital vision?

Our insights based on two EMEA/global surveys covering more than 600 leading organisations suggests that whilst nearly all organisations were “Going Digital” with significant business re-engineering, and a transformational model reflecting fundamental change in their business ecosystem, the people implications were lagging. These results gleaned from talentspringboard, our partner mobileVision and our CIPD collaborations provide the basis for our recommendations. Contact us for more information on these links.

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So what does this imply?

Going digital means something different for every organisation. Why Go Digital? For some, especially in the public sector, the drive comes from business and cost efficiency agendas. For the disruptors, digitalization has meant creating business models that home in on new and often disgruntled customers. For others with significant, customer-rich relationships (notably utility or retail organisations), the need to respond to disruptive competitors has created a deluge of customer interactions where there is a major conundrum of managing both physical and on-line channels with inevitably mixed messages, whilst trying to avoid cannibalization of existing customer revenue.

So organisations are on a journey reflected in the talentspringboard Digital Continuum™ of organisational choices – survival, partially digital or wholly digital in respect of services, products, customer segmentation and competition. Irrespective of investment or constraints, organisations have to face up to the people dilemma.

What are the workforce implications of digitalization?

We all know this because we are already consumers in this digital world – cashless society, blockchain audits and cyber security risk. But have we and other employees internalised this? Most of us work in this ever-changing world, so what do we feel as employees or contractors in this transformational digital economy?


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Hence the workforce implications of digitalization have focused on new organisation design, mastering the wider Talent Universe with varying degrees of mixed talent categories, new types of employment contract, greater flexibility, creative and collaborative working, new roles and changing skill sets plus increasing automation and robotics fast becoming the new workspace.

Why people analytics and workforce planning are hot topics

In the past, organisations typically focused on the right size and right cost in annual headcount planning. Now the right shape (organisation structure), the right skill (capability assessment) and the right contract have become critical elements.

Often under the new leadership of executives such as Chief Digital Officers and Digital Marketing Officers, organisations have rushed to implement digital strategies. What is evident is that they have tried to recruit people into these progressive role titles assuming the task will be too great for current incumbents. For many of these new hires, keen to make an impact, the scale and pace of both learning and change has been too great. Digital skills surveys and workforce analytics can reveal a depth of skill, ambition and creativity to harness the changes.

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We have clients in many digital industries, including technology and AI, who admit they do not really know what talent they already have! Our deep functional surveys based on a proven digital skills framework and on-line assessment have highlighted where organisations can identify critical roles and key talents who can step up to the challenge, be re-deployed or up-skilled to match future requirements. Given large workforces in retail, hi-tech, utilities and government, this is surely the way forward in order to reduce human capital risk and potential litigation.

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A deep dive into workforce analytics - alongside Big Data from both customer and talent information sources – have the potential to provide the basis for more agile organisation and workforce decisions.

For employees, this journey is simultaneously one of adventure and anxiety, with lessened job security as associated timeframes have shortened massively. How many of us would put money on staying with our current employer for the next 5 years? How many staff feel secure that their current stakeholders (private or public) will own the organisation in 5 years? How will automation and AI impact the no doubt significant number of existing and new roles? Yes, there will be new industries, new roles and wider global prosperity in the future; but we must look for new opportunities to make the future of work attractive.

A digital mindset change is required

But what about the emotional impact going forward? Much is written about employee engagement and the need to tap into employee motivation to deliver necessary productivity and hence, stakeholder value. But given these transformational changes, people’s loyalty is constrained (and under strain anyway in these times of economic uncertainty). Employee trust is at an all-time low as more businesses are exposed by their huge discrepancies of income inequality, combined with some shocking examples of poor values and business ethics.

A fundamental digital mindset change is required. This is what organisations are saying is holding back their digital strategy execution. Employees need a pull-program to get the commitment. Traditional change management was “done to us” and so we naturally resisted: it was painful! Now we need to define a new Digital Change Canvas™ which touches the 4Cs of cultural change that create the magic “pull” effect: emotional commitment, collaboration, confidence and capability. TSB is now running management workshops to analyse and address these digital obstacles.

New workforce planning is critical for corporate strategy alignment  

Talentspringboard has worked with the CIPD to create a new framework for workforce planning which incorporates wider holistic analytics covering internal and external business influences. Accordingly, it reviews and anticipates the necessary changes to workforce capability.

The new framework (depicted below) includes controllable factors such as: customer growth assumptions, organisational agility, opportunities to develop new markets and new services alongside partnerships, alliances and acquisitions. Typically, all these organization design factors are within the decision remits – and thus control - of stakeholders and executives. It also anticipates less-predictable levers such as economic fluctuations, political change (e.g. Brexit or rising nationalism), talent shortages, regulation and changing industry dynamics.

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Workforce analytics and planning can make use of the now significant amounts of internal and external data we have. This can yield deep insights that greatly enhance – and speed up - decision making using the full array of available tools to maximise the business opportunities.

In summary

1) HR and Digital Offices need to advance the people agenda urgently to align with the Digital Strategy

2) Organisations need to recognise where they are on the Digital Transformation continuum, and where they need to prioritise or update their HR analytics in order to evaluate the value of their people interventions

3) Conduct Workforce Digital Audits to highlight critical roles and respective incumbent talents, and to identify opportunities for up-skilling and re-deployment or necessary new hires

4) In times of major economic change, organisations are looking to revise their corporate strategies, we need HR to step in with new analytics; the CIPD workforce planning model provides a blueprint for assessing workforce requirements.

By Jim Matthewman, Managing Director at talentspringboard
Contact +44 7500 709 729


Follow on LinkedIn or twitter @TSB_talent

See also: Results The CDO-Digital-12 Agenda Survey, March 2018

Contact +49 172 388 4444