Jan Mueller provides advice on how businesses can develop their digital strategy in order to attract, retain and develop talent
We now live in a society that is digital-centric; with 89 per cent of adults today using a mobile phone and more than 20 hours a week spent online, it is evident that we are now truly living in the Digital Age. With recent research from Fujitsu revealing one in five people will always opt for a digital service when made available, it is clear that digital capabilities should apply to working life as well.
A recent study by Accenture revealed that employees are optimistic about the impact of digitalisation when it comes to improving their jobs. As technological innovation continues to develop in the modern workplace, we are seeing first-hand how talent can thrive when provided with the right tools to do so. The research also highlighted that 57 per cent of employees believe that technologies such as robots, mobile apps, data analytics and artificial intelligence will improve their working experience. However despite this, 61 per cent of business leaders are conservative when it comes to digital, with 55 per cent of them not having a digital strategy in place.
Digital offerings allow businesses to become more streamlined, efficient and accessible. In order to ensure that companies stay relevant, they need to recognise the vital role technology plays in all aspects of the employee lifecycle, with digital as a key enabler in serving day to day activities and the wider business objectives. Here is some advice on how businesses can develop their digital strategy in order to attract, retain and develop talent.
- Teach staff with digital skills: If organisations are to truly embrace digital services in the workforce, they need to provide staff with the skills to execute it effectively. According to Hour of Code, almost 50 per cent of employees do not know where to go for IT training to enhance their digital skill set. As a result, this lack of digital knowledge can result in issues for staff as they feel ill-equipped to do their job effectively and to the best of their ability. Such worries can lead to stress and a disengaged workforce, with staff worrying about career prospects and development, rather than focusing on their day-to-day responsibilities. Giving staff the correct coaching so that they feel capable of handling digital services can boost productivity and morale. As a result, staff are likely to be much more engaged in the work they are doing and feel more confident in their future career path and organisation.
- Get flexible, get mobile: Getting digital means that businesses can break down traditional barriers including geographical, time and access issues. By using technology and implementing mobility programmes such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), businesses can overcome these. BYOD allows employees to work flexibly, enabling them to travel between different offices or business sites, with access to all their work related information whilst on the move. Flexible working initiatives can also be a great way of boosting productivity, especially when it comes to millennials (those born from the late 80s and 90s). Three-quarters of millennials stated that they are attracted to companies that are focused on a culture that create results and facilitates flexible working.
- Engage emerging leaders: There is no denying that attaining the best and brightest millennial talent is a desire for many businesses, as they are at the right age to be cultivated and developed into the next set of emerging leaders. Millennials have digital skills in their DNA, and therefore are more likely to be attracted to organisations that are digitally savvy; it can be the difference between them interviewing for one organisation over another. Targeted recruitment strategies, such as video interviewing, will help organisations demonstrate digital capabilities to millennial candidates. Moreover, with millennials being avid users of mobile technology, it is important for companies to enable cross-channel career sites, with tailored and engaging content that will enable them to access a business’s career page via mobile, tablet or desktop. A social and professional presence online which communicates the culture, values and personality of the company – supported by real-time interaction from the brand – will allow Millennials to understand a company’s culture and make an assessment about whether it’s a good fit for them.
Companies who fail to adapt to the latest technological advancements are setting themselves up to fall behind and become outdated. With Fujitsu’s report revealing that 73 per cent of employees see digital as vital to the future success of their organisation, businesses need to realise that digital is now a lifestyle and needs to be factored into the whole business; from recruitment, to mobility, to career and business development. With a new generation of workers in play, companies need to think about their digital offering for employees just as much as they would do for their customers.
 Bentley University, The Millennial Mind Goes to Work, 11 November 2014,