Creating a future workforce

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Creating a future workforce

In a time where we are moving fast into a digital age, everything and everybody are becoming connected through devices, whether for social or commercial purposes. Gartner predicts that digital business incompetence will cause a quarter of businesses to lose their competitive ranking by 2017. The development of digital talent will make or break your company’s future success.

Digital business is spurred by exponential technological advancements across industries, in the way we make products, use new sales channels and innovative customer services. Management teams are facing an uncertain future if their workforce stays stagnant and digitally uneducated.

How do we handle increasing pressure to be international competitive with countries where digital adoption are much higher while dealing with the realities of our current workforce? For any successful CEO or executive management member, it must be clear that your HR and talent strategy has to become part of your core business strategy. HR activities cannot stand in isolation, as people and their ability to adapt to change and utilize technology are key factors in your future success. Business is now responsible to define and drive talent. The digital transformation of our society and business requires a new set of skills that opens doors for innovation and unexplored markets.

Talent and skills development are driven by business strategy. Not only driven, but the success of business strategies rest on effective skills development across your workforce. Talent strategies are multi year strategies that support the longer-term vision of the company. Talent and skills are built over time and should be planned over time. Skills development should focus on applying new innovation within core business functions. With cloud computing and mobility, business already have the capability to allow omni-channel employee engagement. This means an employee can use business system across a choice of devices, whether laptop, tablets or smartphones while getting the same experience and functionality.

Effective recruitment is key in placing the right resources in the right positions based on a solid understanding of digital skills requirements. The current focus to recruit for immediate job requirements will lead to failure. Skills development of employees must be determined by current vs. future digital skills gaps. Skills development plans across the business must align with digital skills acquisition. Business should also focus on identifying and developing high potential employees to fill critical future positions. This will ensure succession planning takes required digital skills and experience into account.

Digital skilled employees will have more employment opportunities in the future. Business needs to address levels of employee engagement as the Leadership Council found that employees with lower levels of engagement are four times more likely to leave their jobs than those who are highly engaged. Engagement is built through increased two-way communication between employees and management. In forward thinking companies, employees are being used as first level consumers to test new products or to provide feedback on business strategies. Employee engagement is at the heart of employee productivity and high performing organizations.

We are facing a future where technology is leveling the playing field between big established players and new market entries. Companies can ensure a successful future if their HR and talent strategy is part of their overall business strategy and measured with the same rigour as the achievement of business goals. The delivery of an effective HR strategy by business is a key imperative, as a company without digitally skilled employees will not make it in the future.

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