March 7, 2019 - No Comments!

Building a digital-ready workforce in 2019

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Organizations across the globe are in various stages of the digital transformation process. They now see sense in the adage, ‘change or perish’. While some organizations are still determining their definition of digital and its implications, others are working on their digital strategies, and several others are in the process of executing said strategies.

Though digital has become an imperative and organizations are going full steam with digital strategies, the same sense of urgency is not displayed when engaging with the internal talent. Digital-ready organizations, however, have already cracked the code to being digital-first. An organization is as digitally-ready as its people are. Digital readiness, however, is not merely a product of “skills” or “capabilities.

Based on our experience of working with such pioneers, our interactions with today’s modern workforce, and our approach to digital, we have found that being digitally-ready is a result of three broad elements:

Digital ready workforce

Digital Capabilities

In the face of any change or transformation, a shift in skills is the crucial first step. The only difference in the digital age is the sense of urgency and the scale at which this shift needs to happen.

Why?

This is because ‘digital’ implies a significant change in the way we conduct business and deliver value (Watch this video to understand better). Therefore, the capabilities around strategy, leadership, and execution across all levels need to significantly change as well.

Several skills that were previously unheard of taking precedence in the digital age:

  • Sense-making
  • Outside-in orientation
  • Design Thinking
  • Data-driven decision making
  • Empathy

….to name a few.

Digital Mindset

A bigger challenge in the Digital Age is that of a Digital Mindset (Read more: What is a Digital Mindset and why is it important?). The Digital Age demands a shift in mindset.

Why?

It is because for us to survive in the Digital Age, we must learn to think and act differently. Here are some truths of the Digital Age:

  • Artificial Intelligence is not just taking over menial, repetitive and manual jobs, but it is venturing into the cognitive space as well
  • The Digital Age will see the coexistence of man and machine. A robot could be your teammate.
  • As technology advances, machines are becoming more human. How do you keep yourself from becoming more robotic?

None of these scenarios held true for the Industrial Age or even the early part of the Information Age. With the current scenario being so vastly different from its predecessors, unlearning and relearning is in order:

  • Agile Mindset – operating in a fast, nimble and proactive manner; Operates on the adage – ‘there is no failure, only feedback’.
  • Intrapreneurial spirit – take risks, innovate, experiment and be accountable for solving a problem the organization faces; operates on the adage – ‘it takes a village to build a business’
  • Collaborative mindset – bringing together the best resources to create exponential value; operates on the adage – ‘there is no ‘I’ in a team’
  • Design Mindset – identifying and solving complete problems to create the preferred outcome; operates on the adage – ‘think outside the box’

….to name a few!

Digital Culture

The digital workforce is built on diversity – a multigenerational workforce, virtual teams, man-machine coexistence, as well as diversity of attitudes, opinions, interests, motivations, education, experience, etc.

Add to that technology, specifically the internet, which significantly influences the way we think, act and interact, and you find yourself with the most complex construct of diversity ever fathomed. In other words, technology has made it possible for each individual to have their unique footprint, rather than putting people into stereotypical boxes.

Therefore, while it is agreed upon that diversity brings with itself richer perspectives, organizations are constantly grappling with ways to leverage and manage diversity.

How is digital impacting an organization’s culture?

Digital is creating shifts across various constructs, not just within organizations, but diminishing the boundaries of organizations and industries as well:

  • A shift from product-focus to customer-focus
  • A shift from reactiveness to proactive solutioning to stay ahead of the market
  • Shift from rigid hierarchical structures to flatter organizations
  • The shift from heavy research to collaborative, fail fast innovation
  • The shift from silos to collaborative networks

….are only a few of the shifts that digital is bringing to culture.

A digital-first organization operates in an environment with freely accessible knowledge, lower entry barriers, and an empowered consumer base. Hence, their only competitive advantage is its people. Therefore, it is important for organizations to value their people and create an inclusive workplace.

However, while doing so, the impact and disruption caused by digital must also be considered, or else the modern organization will remain a half-baked cake. As Darwin had rightfully said a century ago, “it is the fittest that survive” and this holds very true in today’s digital world.

Order your copy of ‘Clearing the Digital BLUR: How organizations can transform themselves at the Speed of Digital’ for actionable frameworks, worksheets, and case studies to help you and your organization become digitally-ready!

 

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  • Published by: Anand Udapudi in Blog

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