How to Attract & Retain Talent in an Age of Digital Disruption

Author Ian Dodson

With 68.5% of workers considering themselves ‘not engaged’ or ‘actively disengaged’ at work, the learning culture of an organization is more important than ever. As companies across industries are keen to find and retain talent - particularly in growing areas such as digital technologies - employees now expect leaders and workplaces to be agile in an environment of intense digital disruption.

As the digital climate continues to evolve and develop, organizations who can adapt are the most likely to succeed in an increasingly competitive landscape. While degrees were once considered the benchmark for a prospective employees learning and knowledge, relevant and instantly applicable skills such as data analytics and social media are now in huge demand across the globe.

To create an agile learning environment that can respond to the needs of the marketplace and evolving customer base, organizations need to consider a range of learning options for employees that create an adaptable workforce. This blog explores 6 ways to ensure your company attracts and retains the talent they need to drive digital transformation.  

1. Drive digital maturity

Rationale - Today’s employees want to work for companies that allow them to develop and demonstrate the skills and abilities needed to succeed. According to a recent MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte survey, employers that don’t offer opportunities to develop skills were six times more likely to have employees leave the company within a year compared to than those who worked for more digitally mature organizations.

Benefits - 80% of employees prefer for work for digital leaders. And this is not limited to millennials but applies across the board across all age groups demonstrating a recognition of the influence of the digital environment. As an organization’s digital maturity drives their digital transformation, organizations that nail down a digital strategy that includes people along with processes and technology are more successful in both attracting and retaining talent.

Results - Digital strategies in the most mature organizations are developed with an emphasis on transforming the business through targeted improvements in innovation, decision-making, and talent engagement. These are the types of organizations people want to work for and as a result, the majority working in digitally mature organizations were found to be satisfied with their organization’s strategy, culture and leadership. 

2. Microlearning

Microlearning - Study Portals | How to Attract & Retain Talent in an Age of Digital Disruption

Rationale: In such fast paced work environments professionals are always pushed for time and require learning that is flexible and on-demand. Each month there are 3.3 million web searches a month for online learning while the calibre of those searching are highly educated and motivated with 69% holding degrees and the majority ranging from 20 to 39 years of age.

Benefits: By learning online, individuals have the opportunity to upskill at a pace that fits their schedule and have the power to dip into resources as and when required. The on-demand learning model offers easy access to content as the use of mobile continues to surge. Applications that capture lectures, aids revision and exam preparation along with student planning provide new ways for students to learn and access syllabus on-the-go.

Results: The flexibility of online classes, growth of hybrid models and the ability to use smartphones and apps to conduct classwork have made online learning more appealing to students. For L&D departments, providing online learning gives access to data previously unavailable. Through analytics, organizations can track the behaviour and engagement of employees and understand what specialities and formats prove most engaging and successful. 

3. Offer professional certification

Rationale: In today's ever-evolving digital landscape it's easy to get left behind. Today’s companies take different approaches when it comes to hiring and seek employees that will fit in with their company culture, remain in their role, and strive to move up the ranks. When employers are trying to choose between potential candidates or looking to invest in the careers of their staff, an internationally recognized qualification provides an assurance of a candidate’s skill level.

Benefits: Not only does a qualification of this nature demonstrate niche skills and knowledge, but also a strong ethic for learning. Continuing learning demonstrates a desire to learn, commit, and grow. An external certification will also help a professional looking to learn new skills or a recent graduate keen to move into a career in digital become a glistening needle in that giant digital haystack.

Results: Increasing employee engagement investments by 10% can boost profits by $2,400 per employee, per year. By encouraging, and indeed investing in staff to undertake courses that result in professional certification, a company can increase their productivity, profits, and ultimately retain staff. Constant development is the best way to harvest talent and ensure an employee is continually honing their abilities by being challenged by their role. The long term result is loyalty, cohesion and of course, growth.

4. Keep on top of emerging industry trends

Keep on top of emerging industry trends | How to Attract & Retain Talent in an Age of Digital Disruption

Rationale: In the world of digital, the pace of change is so rapid there is a critical need to upskill on a regular basis to stay ahead of the new technologies, strategies, and developments. Knowing the latest development can provide emerging opportunities for professionals to engage with customers (current and future) and drive revenue.

Benefits: Digital media consumption has risen by 49% in the US since 2013. Embarking on a continuing education program ensures learners stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in their industry. Not only that, but an overall understanding of digital platforms and processes will ensure departments can pool together their newfound knowledge and collaborate to ensure success as one big, thriving commercial entity.

Results: According to the UK government, 72% of large companies and 49% of SMEs are currently suffering the effects of a skills gap in digital trends. By keeping up with the major moves, shifts, and trends in the world of digital, an organization can beat others to the punch and gain maximum exposure from new platforms before they become saturated. As a result, companies will be able to expand their brand's reach, become an authority in your field, and ultimately, enjoy an increase in sales. 

5. Provide transferable qualifications

Rationale: Continuous learning that leads to a professional certification that is recognized from industry to industry, as well as from country to country, provides professionals with the chance to move roles and progress their career in more ways than ever before.

Benefits: A qualification that is recognized across the board is particularly important to millennials, as job-hopping is common, with four job changes by the age of 32 being the norm for many. By upskilling the young, budding workforce, you will be able to develop teams of people that are able to transfer skills between departments, therefore, creating, a well-oiled workforce without gaping skills gaps, making innovation and progression easier than ever before.

Results: The more transferable skills a person gains, the more valuable that person will be to your organization regarding skill level, independent thinking, problem-solving, and overall output. Investing in a young workforce will ensure your company stays relevant and remains up to date with the constant changes of the ever-evolving digital landscape, securing a bright and prosperous future.

6. Increase job satisfaction

Rationale: A study carried out by the American Psychological Organization found that while the majority of workers were satisfied with their job overall, only half confirmed they were pleased with the growth and development opportunities (49%) and employee recognition practices (47%) presented by their organizations.

Benefits: 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 are unmotivated and don't perform at an optimum level - and according to a survey by Gallup, this costs companies a total of $300,000 billion each year. Employees who are continually challenged, incentivised, and gain new skills not only perform better but will become increasingly valuable to your business with each year of service.

Results: Organizations with a high level of engagement report 22% higher productivity. Job satisfaction and employee engagement does more than just boost productivity, but highly engaged companies have double the rate of success than lower engaged organizations, outcomes including absenteeism and turnover. Businesses who retain staff become stronger, abler adapt to industry changes and are ultimately more successful than those with a high staff turnover. 

"Digital has become part of our lives in such a way that I don't think any of us realized it was happening." - Virgin Media’s Head of Digital, Rhona Bradshaw

In conclusion, the digital economy has grown to $2.9 trillion in just 20 years since the launch of the internet - that's huge. Never has it been more important to adapt, evolve, and upskill individuals that play a key part in your business.

Recent predictions suggest that over 60% of jobs will require post-secondary education by 2020. As digital transformation continues to be a priority for organizations across industries, real longevity lies in the digital capabilities of your staff and the adaptability of the learning and development programs you choose to upskill your workforce.

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Ian Dodson
Co-Founder @ Digital Marketing Institute