Future Proofing your Organisation from Digital Disruption

The future of work can’t be discussed without mention of digital disruption.  It has already transformed the way organisations operate and how they engage with consumers.  Incumbent market leaders will face some serious challenges if they fail to become students of technology and advocates of change.

90% of CEOs have stated they believe their organisations are facing digital disruption, and 70% of them said they don’t believe their organisations have the skills to adapt.

For those who do have the capacity to future proof themselves, it is going to be a very exciting next few years. Digital technologies are reducing barriers to entry, blurring market segmentation, and opening the doors for the next generation of innovators.  Perceptive organisations are already making strides to embrace digital technologies, particularly within HR, a necessity for success in the global market.

However, that’s not to say that digital technology can only be taught to the up and coming millennial workforce.  

A recent article in Nature exposed as a myth, the proposition that exposure to technology has made young people “digital natives”.

The conclusion arrived at was that “the younger generation uses technology in the same ways as older people — and is no better at multitasking.”

It begins:

“Some people put the cut-off at 1984, but for most it is 1980.  People born after that date are the digital natives; those born before are digital immigrants, doomed to be forever strangers in a computer-based strange land.”

“But a paper published last month in Teaching and Teacher Education reaches the opposite conclusion.  The digital native is a myth, it claims: a yeti with a smartphone (P. A. Kirschner and P. D. Bruyckere Teach. Teach. Educ.67, 135–142; 2017).
It is beyond dispute that people brought up in the most recent decades have been exposed to a lot of digital technology — at least in developed countries.
However, a 2011 review for the Higher Education Academy in York, UK, put it bluntly, as the first of its executive-summary conclusions: “There is no evidence that there is a single new generation of young students entering Higher Education and the terms Net Generation and Digital Native do not capture the processes of change that are taking place”.  Many members of the digital-savvy generation use technology in the same way as many of their elders: to passively soak up information.
Consequently, all HR professionals are going to benefit from learning how to leverage technology for greater organisational outcomes.
With the ongoing digital revolution that streamlines processes and reduces transactional costs, HR plays a key role in improving the efficiency of operations, through standardising processes and using transactional technology (digitalising traditional pen and paper practices).
So, what 3 things should HR leaders consider when combatting digital disruption?
1. Culture is the most significant factor in successful digital transformation.
Having a culture that is open-minded, embraces change and agile will ensure the effectiveness of new digital initiatives.  Today, executives are investing energy into initiatives such as artificial intelligence; programs that use data to build a model for future predictions, and the Internet of Things; the interconnection and communication between devices via the internet.  Ten years ago, only about 40% of CIOs were involved in strategic planning, whereas today, they comprise some of the most integral players in the C-suite.  High performing executives have improved their ability to embrace digital, and the results are evident.

One such example is that of GE’s previous CEO, Jeff Immelt.  One of his legacies is the digital transformation of the organisation.  Immelt’s financial performance exceeded competitors; earnings tripled during his tenure and resulted in record-high market share.  To influence digital transformation throughout the organisation, Immelt maintained an unwavering, persistent and open-minded approach, with an all-or-nothing attitude.  His view was prevalent in all areas of the company, as he encouraged all employees to learn how to code. Whether they learned or not, he maintained that an open attitude and mindset towards new software was imperative.

Investing energy into cultural transformation will complement change.  A common factor for successful digital transformation is strong leadership buy-in, along with a corporate mindset of innovation.  Leaders can account for up to 70% of an organisation’s culture and need to lead the charge when it comes to digital transformation.

2.  Leveraging digital platforms can lead to successful talent ventures.

As jobs and skills adapt to meet the needs of a digital future, finding and recruiting the right people is becoming more important than ever. Luckily digital platforms also have the capacity to revolutionise the recruitment process. Leading organisations are using social networking, analytics, and cognitive tools to improve efficiency and reduce bias in candidate screening.  Akin to the talent acquisition processes of the Big Four, NAB has recently automated their volume recruitment process thanks to platforms like E-Recruitment.  NAB includes these technologies from the very top of their selection funnel, including an online application, a cognitive assessment, a values questionnaire, and an online interview.  NAB’s Chief People Officer, Lorraine Murphy suggested that this new model saved over 700 hours a month and halved the turnover of recruits during the training period.

In addition to using digital platforms to inform decisions about employees, online tools allow important data to be collected to improve HR decision-making.  As such, data analytics may also assist HR to make unbiased judgements and decisions regarding existing employees.

Leading organisations such as Google and Luxottica have further shifted towards relying on the data in their recruiting.  Luxottica identified in their analyses that the slow process of hiring external candidates was caused by hiring managers stalling their decisions.  With this information, Luxottica then altered their recruitment goals and strategy, reducing the time it takes to recruit senior positions with external candidates from 96 days to 46 days.  
This data-based people management is increasingly used in technology firms, as leaders in innovation, and sets an excellent example for other industries to follow. 

3. Workforce planning based on data-analytics and digital technologies.

Beyond recruitment and talent acquisition, digital and data-analytic approaches can assist key elements of workforce planning.  Despite this, once candidates have successfully proceeded through the recruitment and onboarding process, many organisations are failing to emphasise the importance of ongoing learning and development programs.

David Brown, Deloitte Partner in Human Capital, commented that hiring costs can be significantly reduced by changing hiring practices.  He noted that in Australia, “we spend almost twice as much on recruiting people than training and developing them” and if “organisations were to increase their spending on capability uplift, they would be able to reduce those hiring costs.”  Digital platforms and data analytics vastly improve these practices by providing objective insights.

Organisations that are effectively future-proofing themselves understand that continuous learning is critical for business success. Employees are now pursuing opportunities to learn and progress at a rapid rate, which isn’t surprising when the half-life of a learned skill is now only 5 years.

Through digital means, organisations now have the capacity to deliver learning that is always online and available across a myriad of platforms. Training costs can be reduced significantly with adoption of virtual training rather than full-day workshops. Additionally, by collecting employee data and monitoring their output, employees can be selected to attend training according to their needs.

“Everything changes, and nothing stands still.” - Heraclitus

These three HR practices demonstrate the benefits of continued digital transformation.  HR leaders play an integral role in the effective implementation of digital practice.  They can strongly influence and shift corporate mindsets and culture to embrace emerging digital platforms.  Moreover, they can capitalise on efficient talent acquisition solutions, and data-analytic approaches foster unbiased, beneficial people solutions.  The future of work is now, and HR professionals have the capacity to assist integration of technologies into the business, embrace big data to measure workplace productivity and combine digital with people-led management.

Staying on top of digital disruption demands a culture of flexible thinking and innovation.  The ability to think creatively and flexibly within a dynamic and constantly changing environment can allow teams to survive where many others fail.
Whether for external recruitment or internal transfers, promotion or recruitment, companies are increasingly using objective data for its practicality in supporting human capital decisions. 

Psych Press’s Business Personality Reflections® menu driven personality questionnaire offers a choice of a variety of scales relevant to digital transformation from 70 scales in total.
These scales are Tolerance for Ambiguity, Ambition, Autonomy, Dynamic, Self-Discipline, Achievement Oriented, Achievement Striving, Self-Sufficient, Positivity, Positive Thinking, Optimism, Innovative, Imaginative, Strategic Orientation, Vision, Ingenuity, Divergent Thinking, Resilience, Emotional Resilience, Energy Level, Social Confidence, Active Leadership, Influential, Action Oriented, Responsibility, Teamwork, Social Skills, and Approachability.

As an example, one of these scales assesses Innovation, which provides some useful information in this context:

Innovation is described as the ability to introduce new, useful and unconventional ideas, particularly in problem-solving.  It generally requires the use of original and creative thinking. The Innovation Scale measures an individual’s ability to develop interesting or unusual solutions to a problem.  Due to the fast-paced and growing workplace, having innovative employees is essential for an organisation to develop, grow and remain competitive.

A sample item from the Business Personality Reflections Innovation scale is:

“Pushing established boundaries is the only way to succeed”.

Despite the challenges of identifying innovative performance, research indicates hiring creative and innovative thinkers is linked with better individual job performance.  This, in turn, may positively influence the organisation’s innovative performance (Hunter, et al. 2012).  Additionally, Pot (2011) researched the need for policies encouraging innovation; research has found improvement in work performance and quality of working life from innovative employees.  Lastly, Scott and Bruce (1994) found a positive relationship between innovativeness and individual’s problem solving, leadership, and collaborative task skills – all of which are beneficial to any future-aligned workplace.

Individuals who score highly on the innovation scale will likely use their imagination to create novel solutions to problems.  High scorers will also be able to foresee future consequences of their ideas, prior to its development.

You might consider using innovative scales in your recruitment and development process if you want employees that:

·         Are excited at the prospect of new digital technologies
·         Creatively solve organisational problems
·         Work effectively and unconventionally to see what others will not
·         Create and develop unconventional procedures to grow your business

Organisations benefit from innovators as they implement novel solutions to problems and apply creative thinking to develop procedures that are outside tradition.  Recruit and develop employees that will allow your organisation to continue to grow and prosper where competitors will otherwise fall short.

For a free trial of the Business Personality Reflections® Innovation Scale please simply enquire now.

Build Innovative Teams Destined to Succeed

Having recruited individuals with a penchant for innovation and change, determined by a number of relevant personality scales, it might then be appropriate to form team/s on a similar scientific basis. In response to complexity and change in the digital age, businesses have turned to making teams the functional units of their organisations. Over many years, psychologists have been remarkably productive in assessing how teams are formed to produce the best results. There are well over 100 scientific studies about personality and team composition which Psych Press drew on to develop our suite of Team Assessments


TeamBuilder® identifies the aspects of your team which are in need of team building, by allowing team members to provide anonymous feedback regarding eleven team-related attributes.

  • Clarity
  • Processes
  • Trust
  • Commitment
  • Resources
  • Communication
  • Participation
  • Development
  • Competence
  • Praise/Acknowledgement
  • Interpersonal Relations

These eleven research-based attributes are believed to be critical for team building success and address areas ordinarily neglected by routine performance reviews.

What will you gain from the team building report?

  • Identify your team's strengths
  • Identify your team's areas for improvement as part of team building
  • Team members' verbal comments regarding team effectiveness
  • Prioritisation of your team's development needs to facilitate team building.
  • Personalised development suggestions to facilitate team building and improve team effectiveness
  • Comparison of your team with others in similar industries

Get the most out of your innovative employees and face digital disruption head on with the Psych Press Team Assessment Suite today. 


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