One of the most pressing priorities for rewards professionals in 2019 is strategic workforce planning in the digital age. As industries collide and nearly every company needs skilled, technical talent (e.g., computer programmers, data scientists, artificial intelligence experts, etc.), organizations need to evolve their rewards and talent practices — from rethinking job architecture to determining future job needs to designing compelling compensation programs.
HR leaders have an important role in this digital transformation taking place. They need to be involved in:
- Changing the types of skills and competencies non-tech companies need,
- Changing the way existing employees do their jobs,
- Altering the recruiting landscape for many companies,
- Bringing diverse rewards philosophies face-to-face like never before, and
- Altering the types of leaders organizations need to be successful.
Workforce planning in the digital age will require more than just closing your most urgent skills gaps. You will need to step back and think about how your organization needs to change to keep up with the escalating expectations of your customers.
As you begin implementing workforce plans for 2019, we recommend incorporating these steps to set your organization up for success in the era of digital disruption.
- Examine your overall organizational and leadership structure. What are the organizational and leadership skills you will need to meet your business goals? Look closely at your leadership structure and the people in those roles. If you've had low turnover or relied heavily on a culture of mainly promoting from within, you may find your biggest obstacles to adapting to change are sitting at the top of your organization. And if nobody on your leadership team has been through a digital transformation, who can show your company the way?
- Consider how you can best fill high-value, emerging roles. Do you already have those skills internally? Do you have a people analytics driven process to identify people who have the potential for building those skills? If not, are you setting up in locations that will provide rich talent pools and be attractive to the people you would need to hire? Do your learning and development programs support and incentivize your people to develop their skills for the jobs of tomorrow?
- Consider people's competencies and skills holistically. Adopt a talent model that evaluates the totality of the person's experience to determine how his or her skills will translate into business value. For example, is the value of someone who knows Python but doesn't understand how your business makes money equivalent to the value of someone who may not have the programming language skill set but understands your business?
- Replace the career ladder with the climbing wall. Employees don't just move vertically up a ladder at an organization anymore. As you develop your people strategy, think about skills and competencies in terms of a climbing wall. This is a much more apt metaphor in the digital age for understanding the way that people grow their skills through the lifecycle of their career. They move up but also over, acquiring new skills or experience. Make sure your rewards program is flexible enough to accommodate these kinds of moves.
Now is the time to assess the impact of digital transformation on your rewards and talent programs and take action. The challenges companies face in making this transition are urgent, but those that embrace them today will be better positioned to create a workforce that can thrive in the digital age. For more information, read our white paper to understand how the evolving relationship between people and technology is shaping the way we think about human capital strategy at its highest levels. If you would like to speak with one of our experts about these issues, please contact us here.