Attracting and Retaining Talent: Why Organisations Must Actively Manage the Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is fundamentally changing the way in which we work and live, yet many commercial and public sector organisations are choosing to ignore or put off the changes needed to successfully digitally transform. Unfortunately for many, the motive is a huge fear of change and the unknown. As we move into what is clearly a digital future, new generations entering the workplace are not even thinking about this change: Digital life is a part of their reality now and not a concept from the future!

Most of your new talents will be digital natives, meaning individuals who are always connected and always on, and these digital habits place different and greater demands on businesses. For example, being used to technology from childhood on, the majority of Gen Z (born from 1995 onwards) prefer digital communications over personal, face-to-face interactions. Has your organisation revised the communication strategy to prepare for the digitised employees that will soon join the workforce?

Work: Measured in the Same Unit as Life

According to a study conducted by PwC over a period of four years, 86 percent of the Millennial generation (born 1980-1996) would consider leaving an employer whose values no longer match their expectations. Millennials are known to have high brand awareness, and this affinity goes well beyond lifestyle brands. The same is true for their workplace: For Millennials, a company today needs to be innovative, hip and leading edge – a job to post about on social media and WhatsApp.

Younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z want to spend more time using cloud services such as Trello and Slack, which enable them to actively communicate with each other in real time. They want to spend less time using what are now considered to be ‘traditional’ applications, for example email and voicemail, which only support linear, time-delayed communications.

For Millennials, work has ceased to be just the means to an end: Work has increasingly became the end itself. Work must be fun, often meaningful, and fit the lifestyle, because it is ultimately considered a part of the allup Millennial identity. In an New York Times article, Gen Z is depicted as “…having a strong sense of entitlement, a tendency to overshare on social media, and frankness verging on insubordination.”

Millennials are typically more concerned about the pursuit of their individual happiness than any generation before them and ask for a company to take the extra steps to make them feel relevant. In a world filled with a high volume of online feedback and one that is becoming an increasingly individualistic society, the generation entering the market now is not easily swayed by the often forced corporate spirit: They are typically more in need of routine recognition and praise along with real-time bytes of communications.

Turning the Necessity to Reinvent Into a Big Opportunity

A huge challenge for some, the necessity to reinvent might prove to be the biggest opportunity for others. According to Forbes, 96 percent of business leaders claim that newer technologies – such as cloud services – will ultimately change all rules in the business sphere. With these redefined rules of the game, smaller and more agile organisations can use their flexibility to actively seize business opportunities and democratise information, and turn it into useful insights. Being proactive becomes critical because this is a unique moment to overtake market share from, or at least compete with, long-established commercial and private sector organisations.

The journey to digital transformation journey is inevitable, as technological barriers will soon be overcome. Diverging ideals, attitude and lifestyle models are largely inspired by this digital era. In this connected world, the workplace and private life can intertwine with ease. The constant information flow is resulting in greater competition and ambition, and globalisation is increasing the flexibility in which one can change and move dramatically. The digital age is changing the professional world like no other era before. Are you ready?

The bottom line: In order to attract and nurture the new generation of workers, use the changing times to seize new opportunities and turn your company into a space employees will feel proud of – let them shape the digital future with you. Unlike generations before, they do not want to work for someone; they want management to take them seriously and work with them. Invest in creating the circumstances to involve all employees in the digital transformation of your organisation. By giving all team members – lesser and more experienced – opportunities to learn how to successfully use and apply new technologies, teams will be motivated and feel a sense of inclusion – together.

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