How employers can remain relevant in today’s digital economy

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The impact of the Internet on the global economy and on organisations is undeniable. Technological advancements such as social media, smart grids, cloud computing, and mobile web services have transformed the business environment. A significant study by the McKinsey Global Institute revealed that the Internet accounts for 3.4 per…

The impact of the Internet on the global economy and on organisations is undeniable. Technological advancements such as social media, smart grids, cloud computing, and mobile web services have transformed the business environment.

A significant study by the McKinsey Global Institute revealed that the Internet accounts for 3.4 per cent of overall GDP in the 13 nations studied, with China and India ranking among the fast-growing players in the Internet's global supply chain.

Given that the digital economy is changing the way that companies are doing business, it becomes crucial for organisations to rethink the way they recruit talent and help them thrive.

Reinventing talent management strategies

In the digital era, two of the biggest investments that a company can make are in its people and its technology. The swift adoption of consumer-oriented technology is becoming increasingly important for the success of any business. As the requirement for certain technology-based skill increases, talent strategies need to change in order to gear up for the demands of the digital environment.

According to a paper by Deloitte University Press, 60 per cent of respondents to their global survey have updated or are currently updating their talent sourcing strategy, and another 27 per cent are considering changes. Organisations today need to reformulate their talent management strategies not only to address the needs of the company, but also their prospective hires.

According to the Brandon Hall Group, approximately 40 per cent of current hires are millennials, and they will represent the majority of the workforce by 2020. Their needs are different; and a majority prioritise jobs with chances for faster career progression and personal growth. Organisations need to be prepared to give them that or be prepared for them to leave.

Strategic hiring

The impact of the digital age is visible in recruitment, skilling and talent management. It has become imperative to integrate technology with recruiting strategies. Today organisations use multiple channels for hiring - from social to online.

The 2014 Social Recruiting Survey by Jobvite reported that 93 per cent of the 1,855 recruiting professionals surveyed use or plan to use social media in their recruiting efforts. The report also found that leveraging social media improves candidate quality by 44 per cent over those using only traditional recruiting techniques like phone screenings and filtering resumes based solely on skills and experience.

Platforms like professional networking sites and social media are not only effective but are also helping companies build their brands as employers as well as attract job candidates.

With ever increasing globalisation of business, organisations are dealing with creating a workforce that can adapt to the digitally evolving world, be innovative and manage technology effectively. A company's culture should shape its talent strategy. And if innovation governs this culture, the right talent can be attracted. It's vital to think out of the box and stretch the boundaries.

The need for training, learning and development

To ensure that employees have the skills and information they need to thrive at their jobs, companies need to support professional development. Human Resources teams have to ensure that current employees are upskilled to manage the demands that arise with technological transformation. Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends 2015 survey found that while 85 per cent of respondents cited learning as "important" or "very important", more companies than ever report they are unprepared to meet this challenge. By focusing on e-learning and making the learning infrastructure more robust as well as technologically steeped, organisations can prepare employees for the digital wave.

Employees are the best brand ambassadors

For potential hires, there's nothing more reliable than an employee's views about working in the company. An employee's perception about the organisation contributes to building the company's brand image and spreading the word amongst peers. Employees drive business outcomes, customer loyalty, and help achieve profit and growth. Overall, they add to the business success and are a company's greatest asset. Hence, it's important to show employees that they are valued as much as customers.

It has become essential to give employees opportunities for not only continuous learning and development, but also access to collaborative and mobile platforms for better productivity. Furthermore, mobile devices give employees the benefits of flexible forms of training, leveraging the multiple alternatives those e-learning offers.

In today's fast paced economy, employers must stay relevant by embracing the changes brought about by digital transformation. Online platforms are now the norm; using them intelligently can not only acquire and retain talent, but also make employees advocates of the company.

The author is Global Head of Human Resources, UST Global


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