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article imageWhy is it hard for businesses to find and keep digital talent?

By Lisa Cumming     Jul 11, 2018 in Business
Having digital talent is important for digital transformation, but companies are facing barriers when it comes to recruiting, employing and retaining that talent.
According to Harvard Business Review (HBR), three of the biggest challenges to recruiting and employing digital talent are:
  1. Integrating digital talent hires with the core company
  2. While many companies are creating accelerators that serve as the home base for their digital recruits, not many are ensuring that there's not a disconnect between their digital talent and the core company, wrote HBR authors Linus Dahlander and Martin Wallin,
    "The accelerators are created to spur digital innovation," wrote Dahlander and Wallin. "But they can keep new hires distant from the company, making it hard for them to see how the code they produce interacts with the company’s core strategy and production."
    When it comes to attracting digital talent, a 2017 report on the 'digital talent gap' by Capgemini Digital Transformation Institute, in collaboration with LinkedIn, says that a company leaders need to work with digital talent to develop a "talent strategy" that focuses on "the unique needs of digital talent" and that any current recruiting approach needs to be diversified.
  3. Not enough digital skills training across the company
  4. The Capgemini report found that while a majority of companies "frequently discuss" the gap in digital skills within a company, "concrete action to bridge it is rarely taken."
    "Close to 50% of the organizations we studied conceded they have not taken digital talent seriously," reads the report.
    Dahlander and Wallin found in their research that while "firms [rush] to train internal talent," companies don't effectively create pathways for the sharing of this information. This makes it so that other workers who are not directly impacted by the training don't get an opportunity to learn these new digital skills.
    Writing on an example of a steel plant that didn't have these sharing pathways in place, "... younger workers in one plant were able to gain digital competence to improve production efficiency, their training didn’t ripple out to the broader organization."
  5. Digital initiatives not seeing follow-through, and being seen as the "silver bullet"
  6. When a company makes the decision to move towards digital transformation, some companies don't do a great job at explaining to their employees what exactly this entails, and explaining why initiatives to do with this transformation are so important.
    When employees aren't engaged with the digital transformation happening at their own company, they become apathetic or frustrated with initiatives meant to serve them.
    "More than half of [2017's] digital talent say that training programs are not helpful or that they are not given time to attend. Close to half actually describe the training as “useless and boring,” reads the Capgemini report.
    "Without this communication about strategy and goals, few employees will be motivated to engage," wrote Dahlander and Wallin.
    When it comes to developing digital talent, the Capgemini report notes that companies need to "create an environment that prioritizes and rewards learning and that company leaders need to "chart a clear career development path" for workers, so the development of digital skills makes sense.
How can companies retain digital talent?
In terms of retaining digital talent, the Capgemini report says that companies should look at "flexible and collaborative ways" of working, and that the digital talent should be given power to make changes within the company, according to their expertise. Different strategies for recruiting, developing and retaining digital talent can be used to create company Employee Value Propositions that, hopefully, motivate talent to continue working with the company.
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