For Digital Talent, ‘How’ Matters More Than ‘Who’
The pressures of increasing digitalization and rapidly changing work environments place new demands on talent identification. But is agility enough?
There’s no argument: As automation reshapes entire industries and artificial intelligence is on the rise, few would dispute that the future of work is being driven by a tidal wave of digitalization. Organizations everywhere are using digital technologies to develop new business models and pursue new revenue and value-producing opportunities.
These digital business strategies are enabled through talent, not machines alone, placing people at the heart of the business agenda. Digitalization is placing greater pressure on matching the right employees with the right jobs, and ensuring they are as productive as possible. It’s no surprise that 57% of Chief Human Resource Officers say that attracting and retaining digital talent is one of their top HR initiatives.
In a nutshell, this is the claim that there’s an ideal talent profile that defines an employee who is agile enough to perform effectively in any role using any technology in any situation. Just find or build employees with this one-size-fits-all profile, the story goes, and they’ll succeed no matter what your digital business strategy looks like. And, it’s not just about employees—leaders with this profile will also be “agile” enough to lead effectively in any digital context.
This myth takes several forms, but the most widespread version is centered around the notion of learning agility, typically defined as the ability and willingness to learn rapidly. The argument maintains that learning agility is the key to unlocking all other competencies required by digitalization. It’s that missing ingredient to your secret sauce for digital talent.
The reality, however, doesn’t support these claims. Yes, it’s true that the ability to adapt to ambiguity, new ways of doing things, different cultures, and change is an important attribute for any employee or leader in today’s rapidly changing work environment. Organizations are constantly changing: 98% of employees report significant changes to their business in the past four years.