What’s the Impact of Training on Digital Transformation?

By 2020, experts predict that spending on digital transformation initiatives will surpass the $2 trillion mark. That translates to a tremendous amount of investment by companies across industries.

While a host of companies prioritize technology and internal processes in their digitization journey - to great success - many are finding it difficult to achieve the same results for their workforce.

One of the keys to driving the people element of digital transformation is offering learning and development initiatives that not only train existing staff but serve to attract in-demand new talent to the business.

Here we look at 6 essential ways training and development initiatives can help progress digital transformation, empowering people to evolve their skills with the landscape around them.

1) Helps to drive a digital culture

“The big moment for an organization is when they have embraced the fact that digital transformation isn’t a technical issue, but a cultural change.” - Ian Rogers, Chief Digital Officer at LVMH

Concerning digital transformation, 62% of organizations consider their company culture the number one hurdle in their journey. The crux here is that to progress and ensure your digital transformation is a sustainable success, fostering a company culture where everyone is able to buy into new methodologies, mindsets and processes is absolutely essential.

To develop a culture geared towards a full and successful digital transformation, company-wide transparency, communication, collaboration and development is essential. 

Just two years ago communications giant Telekom Malaysia Berhad embarked on a digital transformation journey with the core aim of making life simpler for its customers. Understanding that its staff would be pivotal in making the shifts necessary to realize its key goal, the business began to implement a host of tools that enable collaboration, innovation, and foster an entrepreneurial spirit.

Over 50% of its workforce is now engaged in its enterprise exclusive social media platform powered by Yammer, and Skype for Business is utilized across the organizations for both daily and event-based communications.

Moreover, a shift toward agile working and regular cross-departmental meetings has given the business a new lease of life: as a result of these initiatives, the company's group website is now among the top 12 most-visited sites in Malaysia.

Telekom Malaysia Berhad

Over 50% of its workforce is now engaged in its enterprise exclusive social media platform powered by Yammer, and Skype for Business is utilized across the organizations for both daily and event-based communications.

Moreover, a shift toward agile working and regular cross-departmental meetings has given the business a new lease of life: as a result of these initiatives, the company's group website is now among the top 12 most-visited sites in Malaysia.

2) Offers the prospect of continuous learning

Offers the prospect of continuous learning

The pace of change related to the digital world is rapid and not expected to slow down anytime soon. To hurtle towards continual digital enlightenment at breakneck speed, employees across departments need access to resources and platforms that will empower them to constantly top up their skills and learn new proficiencies that will allow them to remain relevant and up to date in an incredibly competitive landscape.

To remain competitive in a digital environment, organizations must foster a culture of knowledge, sharing and continuous learning. 70% of business leaders feel they currently lack the leadership, skills, and business models to adapt. By offering your employees access to platforms, technologies and curriculums that will allow them to continually upskill according to emerging trends and technological evolutions, you stand to set yourself apart from the competition.

Speaking on the subject, David Willett, Corporate Director at The Open University, explains: "Creating a learning culture can be difficult, and requires the endorsement of senior leaders. Investing in broader transferable skills, such as management and digitals skills, is still a crucial part of future-proofing businesses."

3) Attracts new talent

Today’s employees are looking to work for companies that offer more than just a job. Alongside internal culture, learning and development opportunities in addition to career advancement are the primary deal breakers for many prospective candidates when choosing to work for a company.

The millennial cohort, in particular, are looking for job roles that come with development opportunities. In fact, 59% of millennials state opportunities to learn and grow are significant to them when applying for a job.

One forward-thinking business using a robust learning and development model to attract top new talent is software company, ITX Corp. With the mission of growing its talent base and evolving company’s collective digital mindset, the organization rolled out an online-based self-directed learning program to its existing employees.

ITX Corp

Not only has this initiative significantly improved staff engagement and performance, but by offering its course participants internal communication channels that encourage them to share what courses they’re taking as well as which instructors they would recommend, ITX has been able to attract new talent by using outcomes of the program as testimonials to share with potential candidates.

The result? 82% of employees completed at least one course, with more than 2,330 collective hours of learning logged, in addition to numerous records being broken, in addition to successful hiring rates.

4) Makes technology mainstream

New technologies and platforms are emerging at a constant rate and to cultivate an agile workforce, companies must ensure its staff are aware of new technological trends or developments to get the most from them, leveraging new platforms and methodologies to your organization's advantage.

To drive innovation on a national scale, helping existing companies embrace emerging digital trends while giving innovative new startups a chance to progress, the Canadian government has invested around $1 billion in technology to create a series of what it calls five innovation 'superclusters'.

Rather than focusing on particular companies or picking those it considers especially worthy, the Canadian government is encouraging fresh collaborations between organizations, marrying resources, infrastructure and commercial reach with cutting-edge cultures, products, services and innovations.

As a result of this initiative, MaRS Discovery District discovered that out of 55 Toronto-based tech companies, 53% have seen a rise in international applicants since last year. And as it’s in its infancy, more positive results are expected to emerge from this large-scale innovation in the near future.

5) Assists in nurturing and discovering talent

 Assists in nurturing and discovering talent

Training has the power to offer learning and development executives innovative new ways to benchmark the skills of their employees and uncover hidden talents that can help to enhance the skillset of the business in its entirety.

By creating a culture of continuous learning and offering the platforms, support and resources to make such a notion a tangible reality, you stand an excellent chance of nurturing existing talent while identifying individual talent you may have otherwise missed.

To upskill its IT team, Canadian Pacific launched an Amazing Race-type competition in which they paired employees from different departments to compete in a question answering activity based on the content they learned through their internal learning and development latform to benchmark engagement levels in addition to skills acquisition or retention.

This unique approach shows how to monitor, nurture and discover existing talent through internal training.

6) Drives innovation

Continuous learning and internal training can serve to empower a workforce, leading to collaborations between departments and teams that might otherwise never occur. For example, a customer service team can bring a considerable amount of information to a marketing department regarding messaging, personas and content development - the kind insight that can help a business enhance its digital marketing efforts, exponentially.

Despite its colossal size and expansive corporate structure, Nestle has adopted a tech-driven mindset to create a culture of innovation and propel itself into the future, full force. To achieve this, the company launched its digital acceleration team and center, or ‘DAT’: a space-based within its global headquarters where its staff where its employees work for periods of 8 to 12 months at a time.

Nestle Digital Acceleration Team

To participate, DAT members undertake immersive training and work on strategic business initiatives, often participating in hackathons and intense problem-solving activities to help participate in the company’s digital progression while gaining the skills, understanding and knowledge to perform their roles at an optimum level of competency.

As an umbrella for 2,000 internationally renowned brands, Nestle by giving their sub-businesses access to such an immersive level of training, the company is setting an excellent example of how digital training can drive innovation.

Final thoughts

"Companies that get confused, that think their goal is revenue or stock price or something. You have to focus on the things that lead to those." - Tim Cook, Apple

The success of your companies digital transformation depends largely on people. 

By fostering a culture of internal development and continuous learning, embracing emerging platforms and technologies, encouraging collaboration and investing in the right talent, success and longevity will be inevitable.