Culture eats strategy for breakfast, proclaimed Peter Drucker, the late management guru, many years ago. The aphorism holds true even today, as companies across industries pursue digital transformation to stay relevant in a continuously evolving marketplace.
While organisations seek to reimagine their operating business models by leveraging disruptive technologies, they must not underestimate the importance of fostering a culture that endorses such sweeping changes. Indeed, building a digital-ready enterprise through constant adaptability and evolution with changing business dynamics can pave the way for increased innovation, agility, leanness and responsiveness.
The business case for companies to promote a culture of digital readiness and adaptability is compelling. A recently published BCG study found that almost 80 per cent of the organisations that emphasised on culture reported robust or best-in-class performance on a sustained basis.
And, talent transformation leaders in Indian companies recognise the imperative to instill a culture of digital readiness. They increasingly realise that rolling out contextual human capital management (HCM) and talent-development applications can not only enhance staff productivity and morale throughout the employee lifecycle, but also boost digital adaptability.
According to Gartner, digital dexterity in people must be placed high on the priority list. Companies must invest in studying existing skillsets and unearthing gaps, developing and acquiring the right skillsets through hands-on experiences, and inculcating an experimentation-driven ‘lab’ mindset.
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Enhanced digital learning outcomes with digital readiness
How can companies then cultivate a culture that thrives on constant experimentation and fast-paced learning, in alignment with shifting marketplace and customer requirements? The key for chief human resource officers (CHROs) and learning & development (L&D) leaders, such as you, is to evaluate your enterprise’s digital readiness to reskill and redeploy talent.
It’s important to bear in mind here that merely rolling out the latest learning technologies will not lead to the institutionalisation of a robust learning culture. You need to first gauge the readiness of your staff to embrace new skills, then define and articulate a coherent vision for implementing such learning modules, and then, finally, build awareness.
Assessing audience willingness involves, first and foremost, talking to each employee, and understanding their unique learning requirements. For instance, ask questions, such as which learning approaches they liked in the past; what previous learning experiences have shaped their attitudes; and how they pick up new skills at work and outside of it.
Without undertaking this exercise of capturing employees’ actual learning needs, you might well build learning platforms that will be irrelevant to the former, and as a result, impede the organisation’s digital readiness.
Once you have assessed employees’ willingness for new learning structures, the next step in the journey of promoting a culture of digital readiness is to secure buy-in from the leadership. The senior management giving financial backing via budgetary allocation will not suffice on this front, though.
A critical mass of top decision makers in the organisation must become ‘learning evangelists’ to encourage and motivate employees to upskill and reskill. The way to spot such advocates is to ask your leadership team as to how learning can help address some of the teething business problems they are seeking to resolve. For instance, ask them which learning modules are delivering on their mandate, and which ones are not. Also, pick their brains on what new skills are required to drive business excellence.
Finally, you need to define a sharp, coherent vision for your planned digital learning initiatives that will further embed the concept of digital readiness and adaptability throughout the organisation. It’s vital here to judiciously combine the business imperatives with the real-world learning requirements of your employees. So, factor in things, such as just-in-time learning, social and collaborative tools, self-directed learning platforms, and synchronicity between at-work and outside-work learning.
No matter how great a company’s strategy, business model and customer engagement initiatives are, all of that will count for nothing if the organisation fails to institutionalise a culture of constant digital readiness. With uncertainty becoming the new normal, you must embrace disruption, and leverage digital learning platforms to reimagine workforce and talent management. Doing so will not only help you strengthen your competitive advantage, but also ensure superior employee productivity.