10 Milestones To Digitalizing Your Talent

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This is a chapter from our book “The New Digital HR Leader” -> You can download it here

On the digital transformation journey of our organizations, those of us dedicated to HR are aware of the importance of developing a digital culture that is based on innovation and customer oriented. To achieve this, we are aware that the best digital professionals are needed as their capabilities are essential for doing the tasks in the new jobs we will create and also for helping us evangelize this new vision throughout the organization. That is why we are particularly concerned about the state of talent within our companies. How can we lead all employees to digital transformation? Specifically, how do we make our talent go digital?

Digital talent is found both within and outside the organization, so our task is to strengthen the talent already in our organization and to recruit the talent we want, but do not have as yet with us. However, on this two-pronged path the point of departure is the same: define what profile is required to achieve the goals we set, what functions are to be developed, which skills and attitudes are necessary for this.

Based on the business goals to achieve within the digital environment, the first challenge we face will be to identify which new jobs we must create and which existing jobs we should redefine to include digital skills. Thus we may find ourselves adding in our job profile catalogue, positions that range from the most generic like the Digital Manager, through to communication experts such as the Digital Marketing Manager or the Branded Content Specialist, to more analytical or development jobs such as the Big Data Analyst or the Open Data Specialist, for instance. Yet we may find that existing job posts within the company should include some new skills such as digital literacy, networking, network leadership, customer orientation, network communication and information analysis. To accommodate both new jobs and new competencies added to existing positions, we will also have to transform plans for careers, succession, evaluation, development, compensation and others.

As this new digital environment is still very changeable, these HR processes need to be agile and adaptive. For example, in performance appraisals, we will have to create continuous multi-source feedback systems that enable objectives to be adjusted as often as needed and enable employees to actively participate through self-evaluation and even possibly set their own goals. In this process the manager becomes a coach. Moreover, liquid careers will eventually prevail over linear ones; so in parallel there will be joint-responsibility in development, continual learning, flexibility and localization among others. However, to start developing these new or redefined positions, we must conduct beforehand a thorough audit of our digital talent to see which defined capabilities need to be developed and what kind of professionals we need to recruit or train up for our organization. Having already discussed the handicap of a widespread shortage of digital skills in the labour market, if we add to this, ambiguity in the definition of new emerging functions and the complexity involved in new knowledge-related work activities, then auditing task seems complicated at the very least, but not impossible. As mentioned earlier, we will be filling these posts with both internal and external talent. With internal talent, it is vital to boost a collaborative work environment that enables us to find the people who are most open to digital change and those who could potentially cover the new digital posts if we train them up. Concerning training efforts, it is important to have a vision of constant life-long learning, with personal learning spaces, experiential training (action learning), e-learning, in a never-ending process of reviewing and updating skills and competencies. Special emphasis must be placed on collaborative learning, including learning communities and MOOCs.

Additionally, our selection strategy will be broad, multichannel and strongly supported in social networks. A strong employer branding strategy must be developed and the concept of candidate changed and expanded to include employee care.

When developing our change management departments, as mentioned in the previous chapter, some of these digital professionals will become our digital leaders, who will help and guide different segments of the organization along the journey towards the transformation into a digital culture. These profiles will be particularly open to change and innovation as well as our allies throughout the process.

Besides structural changes, other changes in competencies and positions, together with the departmental transformation carried out by digital leaders, we must deploy all HR machinery available to promote cultural change. In this context, we can give free rein to our imagination and undertake many different types of tactics. Fostering a collaborative culture through social networks is a key point in this strategy, developing maximum transparency and collaboration. Such networks also enable employees to participate in collaborative innovation processes. Another of our allies is gamification, using game mechanics to adopt new digital tools and skills.

The retention of know how must also be factored in this entire process. As mentioned in the first chapter, the new professionals of today are knowledge workers, so one of greatest values of our employees is their ability to learn and share what was learnt over the net. We have to develop comprehensive strategies for knowledge management.

Once this cultural change process has been initiated and continues to progress, regular assessments will be important alongside the performance appraisals of our leaders and employees. This will allow us to evaluate the work done and make the necessary adjustments. Forget annual audits and conduct more frequent controls, depending on what kind of agile organization we want to become.

We will not find our allies just on home ground. Union is strength and in this context collaboration is fundamental. Strategic partners with common sense and aware of our needs are going to be a great help to us. Without losing sight of the goals, we can achieve an advantageous win-win that supports us primarily in areas in which we neither possess expertise nor master yet. Throughout the digital transformation process, transparency with our customers and strategic partners is fundamental.

Lastly, let us recap the ten milestones mentioned here:

1. Conduct an audit of digital talent

2. Define the new digital jobs

3. Define the new digital skills

4. Develop advanced recruitment strategies through social media and big data

5. Find the hidden talent of our organization

6. Develop the digital skills of all employees through advanced training plans

7. Appoint digital leaders

8. Renovate career, succession, performance planning and the entire employee life cycle according to the new digital requirements

9. Execute corporate strategies for digital cultural transformation: social networks, gamification, compensation, teambuilding and others

10. Plan and execute regular assessments of the strategy.

After this brief analysis and drawing conclusions from these data and examples, are you ready to boldly lead talent digitalization in your organization?

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