Do we have the people power to execute our strategy?
Digital IQ 2017—Canadian insights
As organizations evolve to stay ahead, they’re often challenged to identify the right skills to turn vision into reality. But as it stands, Canadians aren’t nearly as focused on addressing digital skills as their global peers. In our 20th CEO Survey, 56% of Canadian vs. 79% of global CEOs rated digital skills as somewhat or very important.
This trend carries into Digital IQ, where 46% of Canadian executives rank a lack of properly skilled teams among the top barriers to getting results from digital technology. But global respondents see it much more seriously, ranking it as their number one concern. As well, Canadians are less focused on creating a digital culture and supporting initiatives meant to promote a digitally savvy workforce. With digital skills as an apparent blind spot, we may neglect to make the necessary investments to thrive. Does this leave us vulnerable to disruption?
This lack of attention to employees takes the form of a digital skills gap, which can put transformation efforts at risk. Right now, Canadian executives consider digital strategy, cybersecurity and data analytics to be quite or highly important skills to the business. But when asked if their skills are developed enough, there’s a clear capabilities gap—most significantly when it comes to technology architecture and design, evaluating emerging technologies and digital strategy. So while digital skills are seen as important, internal workforces aren’t always able to meet their organizations’ needs.
The imbalance between the skills an organization needs and the skills its employees have can hinder its ability to adapt continuously and anticipate change. Even companies with the right skills aren’t always putting them to use. One quarter of Canadian respondents say they use external resources even when they have skilled workers in-house because it's too difficult or too slow to work with internal teams. And more than one out of two claim that using third parties is less expensive.
What’s more, Canadians see better employee experiences and improving talent retention and recruitment as secondary goals for digital investments, ranking them below all other business objectives. But integrating digital internally needs to be a priority because organizations that invest in the right skills and foster a strong culture will emerge as winners in the digital era.
Q: What value do you expect from your digital technology investments?
Train your workforce: Connect your approach to talent with your strategic goals so you can deploy the right people at the right time and place. This includes teaching employees the necessary digital skills and cross-training workers to be comfortable in disciplines outside their own. What’s more, leaders must engage with digital to see how it affects the business, employees and customers.
Foster a digital culture: Cultural change can be the biggest accelerator of organizational digital transformation. Think about people on an individual level, and reward employees who take risks and champion change.
Transform the business: Too often, digital investments get defined as technology projects rather than opportunities for transformation. It’s important to create the right digital experiences so people understand how they integrate with the overall business strategy.
Hire the right people: Advance your approach to human capital to propel your business. For example, behavioural economics has been valuable in helping organizations bring on the right talent for the right job.