Digital transformation: Five ways to attract and retain talent

How do you keep your best talent during the digital revolution? Listen to Ian Dodson.

Digital technologies will add as much $1.35Tn to the GDP of the world’s top 10 economies by 2020 – that’s huge. As organisations across every industry try to capitalise on the massive opportunity the digital economy presents, the competition for talent with the skills needed to drive an organisation’s digital maturity intensifies every year.

Roles with a digital focus continue to increase while traditional jobs evolve to have more of a digital orientation. So how can you improve your company’s appeal to potential candidates as well as existing employees to maintain retention?

The key is talent development. Talented people seek opportunities to grow and are drawn to organisations that provide ample opportunities to do so. This can be achieved by providing real learning and career development opportunities that enable people to acquire relevant skills and knowledge in their domain.

Those that implement a digital strategy to include people along with processes and technology are more successful in both attracting and retaining talent.

Here are five ways to ensure your organisation’s learning and development programmes and culture help attract and retain the best talent on the market.

Drive digital maturity

80% of employees prefer to work for digital leaders and that’s not limited to millennials but applies across every age group.

According to the annual global MIT/ Deloitte survey of executives and managers, a trait of ‘digitally mature’ organisations – those most prepared to take advantage of digital trends – is a willingness to provide employees with the resources and opportunities needed to develop their digital knowledge and skills. 

In fact, employers that don’t offer these opportunities were five times more likely to see people leave the company within a year compared to digitally mature organisations.

As an organisation’s digital maturity drives their digital transformation, those that implement a digital strategy to include people along with processes and technology are more successful in both attracting and retaining talent.

Foster on-the-job learning

Findings from a CIPD survey last year suggest a greater focus from organisations on fostering a learning culture, with on-the-job training and internal knowledge sharing events expected to become more prevalent.

Experience is the number one way people learn and on-the-job learning is proven to have a positive impact on employee performance and motivation. Whether through mentoring, dealing with challenging assignments, working alongside diverse sets of people, experience-driven development can help build new skillsets and deeper expertise.

People who feel that their skills have been enhanced will want to advance. They will also appreciate that the company is paying attention to their potential while providing them with the necessary support to advance in their career. Not only will this help increase morale but it will also help build loyalty.

Be flexible through online learning

In today’s fast-paced work environments professionals are always pushed for time and need learning that is flexible and on-demand.  It’s no wonder then that online learning is so popular. In the latest Global Shapers survey of 25,000 young people globally 77.84% of respondents reported having taken online courses in the past.

By learning online, individuals have the opportunity to upskill at a pace that fits their schedule and dip into resources as and when required. Most on-demand learning models offer easy access to content on-the-go, with applications that capture lectures, aid revision and exam preparation so that students aren’t limited by their location or access device.

Increase job satisfaction

A study carried out by the American Psychological Organisation found that while the majority of workers were satisfied with their job, only half were pleased with the growth and development opportunities (49%) and employee recognition practices (47%) offered by their organisations.

To increase job satisfaction, professionals that feel valued by their employer are far more likely to be engaged in their work and ultimately more willing to stick around. Those with a lack of direction or the prospect of development in their current job role often become unmotivated and don’t perform at an optimum level.

Employees who are continually challenged, incentivised and gain new skills will become increasingly valuable to your business with each year of service. Job satisfaction and employee engagement do more than just boost productivity but highly engaged companies have a much higher rate of success than lower engaged organisations, outcomes including absenteeism and turnover.

Get to know your employee beyond their job role

How many people could contribute far more than they currently do? As an employer you need to know their skills, talent, and experience and take the time to tap into it.

For example, your head of engineering could be a talented writer and relish the opportunity to contribute to the company blog. Pairing your workers’ passion with concrete job responsibilities is a great way to motivate employees and make them feel valued, in turn contributing to your business’s success.


Talent retention and attraction are vital to building a market-leading business. After all, everyone wants to learn and everyone wants to grow. Invest in the advancement of your workforce through training, mentoring, and developing employees skills and you will not only attract but also retain the best and the brightest.


About the author

Ian Dodson is founder and director of the Digital Marketing Institute


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