Corporate Culture, Employee Retention, Employer Branding, Engagement

Digital Proficiency Impacts Ability to Attract and Retain Talent

New research examines the link between digital proficiency and an organization’s ability to attract and retain talent.

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The study, conducted by Randstad North America, a provider of flexible work and human resources services, finds only 10 percent of enterprises are considered digitally “superior,” having fully implemented technologies like automation, artificial intelligence and collaboration tools in the workplace, as well as invested in strategies for training or reskilling workers to be digitally savvy. The majority (52 percent) are still “developing,” while 38 percent of companies are “proficient,” falling somewhere in the middle of their digital transformation.

Findings are based on responses from more than 800 C-suite leaders and department heads, as well as nearly 3,000 workers across the United States.

Impact of Digital Transformation

The study shows superior companies are reaping significant benefits by completing their digital transformation journey. Compared to developing companies, superior companies are on average 165 percent more likely to achieve business objectives, increase revenue, save costs, and see return on investments.

Digital innovation has reshaped workers’ expectations, with widespread implications.

A company’s reputation and utilization of digital tools plays a large role in the attraction and retention of talent. In fact, without both, employers could be at risk of losing as many as six out of 10 employees. The study finds that 40 percent of employees have already left a job because they didn’t have access to the latest digital tools, and 58 percent report the need to seek new employment in order to secure digital skills.

Employee respondents cite the following as factors that would greatly influence their decision to join a company:

  • Company’s use of the latest digital tools (80 percent)
  • Innovative culture (72 percent)
  • Company’s reputation as a digital leader (62 percent)

Workers also expect digital leadership.

The research shows that a digitally-savvy leadership team is fundamental to outperforming competitors and a company’s ability to attract, engage, and retain workers. The majority of employees (72 percent) agree a company’s executive digital leadership greatly influences their willingness to join an organization; however, only 37 percent of employees completely/strongly agree their employers have a digital leader in place.

Respondents point to these as traits required for digital leaders today and in the future:

  • Ability to keep people connected and engaged (76 percent)
  • Commitment to driving a culture of innovation, learning, and continuous improvement (76 percent)
  • Agile and digital-savviness in their use of digital tools to drive business success (75 percent)
  • Exceptional knowledge and skills related to collaboration and team-building (72 percent)
  • Adept at risk-taking (63 percent)

In addition, workers want access to digital training and skill development.

According to the study, “a lack of skilled resources to implement new digital technologies” is a top challenge, second only to “lack of budget.” At the same time, the study finds that nearly all (90 percent) employees want to acquire new digital skills in order to further their careers. Randstad notes that this provides employers with a tangible solution to talent shortages and a way to attract candidates.

Nevertheless, respondents are largely dissatisfied with the digital tools and learning technologies offered by their current employers:

  • Only 13 percent say their employer has fully embraced technologies like automation, artificial intelligence, and collaboration tools
  • One-third of workers don’t feel that their employers offer ample opportunities to acquire digital skills with training and on-the-job learning
  • 58 percent of workers say their employers use the latest digital tools and platforms – but don’t provide the necessary training
  • 56 percent of workers feel they lack the skills required today to be digitally savvy
  • 50 percent don’t believe they will learn new digital skills fast enough to succeed in their careers

“Digital technologies have fundamentally altered nearly every aspect of business operations today,” said Alan Stukalsky, chief digital officer of Randstad North America. “Yet, as our study illustrates, business leaders are struggling with how to unleash the power and promise that a technology-enabled workforce offers. The simple truth is companies must be willing to adapt and scale traditional business models, in order to effectively compete for talent and drive operational growth.”