How Organizations Should Handle the Widening Digital Talent Gap
July 23, 2018 | Technology
As the need to switch to digital is becoming more and more apparent, the pool of digital talent is becoming increasingly precious. And the hunt for right tech talent is becoming much like a treasure hunt for organizations.
Talent is one of the key requirements for successful digital transformation implementation. And over the past couple of years, multiple reports have highlighted the widening digital talent gap across the world – be it America, Europe, or Asia. The surge in the demand of digital talent has caught the business world pretty much off guard. Currently, the increase in demand is simply too much against the supply, as depicted in the chart below by Belong.co for digital talent gap in India.
It is inevitable that more and more businesses will continue to include Digital in their strategy; so, the digital talent gap is likely to widen further. Therefore, it is imperative that organizations take necessary steps to ensure that they have the right digital talent to embark on their transformation journey successfully.
Key Steps to Overcome the Widening Digital Talent Gap
Attract & Retain
A recent survey by McKinsey & Company revealed that top talent in highly complex jobs like cloud architects, data scientists, storage systems specialists, software architects, etc., (essentially the most demanded digital talent) can help boost the productivity of an organization by up to 800 percent. Unfortunately, currently the demand-supply ratio for some of these jobs is as bad as 10:2.
These findings make it pretty much clear how important it is to attract the right talent and retain it, once on-board. Here are some points to include in your strategy in that regard:
- Unparalleled Opportunities: Since the right talent is scarce in supply, it is a no brainer that you would have to make your EVP (employee value proposition) better than competitors. It should not be just about a good company and great rewards, but also about having a great leadership to work under, and an opportunity that offers them a clear, rapid path for career progression and enable them to create a big impact on the organization.
- Leadership Involvement: Unlike traditional ways of professionals’ hiring, digital talent acquisition requires a more sophisticated strategy. These individuals will be responsible for bringing constant change and innovation; therefore, their hiring should involve leadership’s direct participation. First, it smoothens the decision making in regards of what all should be considered to build a strong EVP. Secondly, it ensures that the talent hired is exactly what is required to achieve the vision that the leadership has.
- Flexible & Collaborative Workspace: Transformation requires cross department collaboration and a seamless flow of information between them. As an organization, you need to ensure that your hired digital talent has easy and quick access to cross department information that they need for a particular task. If such organizational architecture is not established already, then they should be allowed to bring the necessary change.
- Authority of Decision Making: To retain the right talent, it is essential that they have complete autonomy on the projects/tasks they are managing. By design, transformation projects should be self-governing for the responsible person. Otherwise, waiting for management’s approval for every move would not only unnecessarily slow down the process but also result into employee’s dissatisfaction.
Suggested read: Busted! 3 Myths around Digital Transformation
Train & Educate
Reports suggest that across industries, around the world, a good portion of employees believe that their skills are or will be redundant in next few (2 – 5) years.
So, while it is crucial that companies look out for talented change agents, it is also essential to develop the digital talent in-house by well-thought-out and well-equipped training programs for new skills. Here are some necessary steps in that direction:
- Training Programs: As a part of their digital strategy, organizations need to develop in-house training programs that train employees on the necessary technical skills for the next generation of business operations. However, training programs shouldn’t be limited to technical skills. They should also train them on soft digital skills such as consumer-centricity and passion for learning so that they can be truly aligned with transformation process of your organization.
- Prioritize Learning: Besides developing training models, it is also essential that organizations create an environment that prioritize learning and motivate employees to constantly evolve though it. For motivation, organizations can reward employees and educate them on the urgency of developing certain skills to pave a clear path for their own career.
- Partnership with Education Providers: The 20th century education systems are designed to train students for 20th century jobs. Plus, according to a McKinsey Global Institute report, Europe and North America will face a shortage of 16-18 million college-educated workers. While education sector is going through its own transformation journey already, it is high time that organizations also partner with them to develop programs and initiatives that help them produce more and better digital talent.
Ever since the digital revolution has hit the business world, the talent requirements have changed suddenly and drastically. Apart from adopting a holistic approach (steps discussed above) to narrow down the widening digital talent gap, organizations across the industries must also invest themselves in aligning the education system with the digital talent needs of today and tomorrow.