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How to close the digital leadership gap

David Needle | March 10, 2017
A new report by Deloitte identifies what it says is a serious shortfall of digital leadership in organizations and offers a range of solutions to address the issue

Skills are becoming obsolete faster

Another key digital trend in the report is the concept of "always on" lifetime learning.

"The concept of a 'career' is being shaken to its core, driving companies toward 'always-on' learning experiences that allow employees to build skills quickly, easily and on their own terms," the report states. Of the executives surveyed, 83 percent rated careers and learning "important" or "very important" to their organisation.

"Skills are becoming obsolete faster than ever," says Bersin. "Companies know they have to build skills internally faster or risk employees changing jobs if they are not challenged."

Rather than traditional classrooms and set times for instructions, Bersin says the digital era has enabled many more options for short video instruction and "micro-learning" that's accessible on demand.

The jump in learning as a priority among those surveyed was one of several surprises in this year's report. "Another surprise was the use of automation and AI. We're starting to see companies actively implementing these new cognitive technologies," said Bersin. "But only about a quarter of those doing it have the HR department involved, it's all tech people." Going forward he says it's important companies bring HR into the loop to help monitor and manage the impact of new technologies.

The report also found a change in understanding of diversity in the workplace. A solid majority (78 percent) of respondents said they now believe diversity and inclusion is a competitive advantage (39 percent say it is a "significant" competitive advantage).

Still, leveraging that advantage remains a challenge as only six percent of companies tie compensation to diversity outcomes. Deloitte calls the diversity issue is "dauntingly difficult," but notes that companies are experimenting with new approaches such as eliminating names on resumes because candidates with ethnic-sounding names may experience lower hiring rates. It says Australia has been a leader in this area.

While companies have typically considered diversity a reporting goal driven by compliance and brand priorities Deloitte sees a trend of diversity and inclusion now becoming a CEO-level priority that's considered important throughout all levels of management.

In preparing this year's report Deloitte surveyed over 10,000 HR and business leaders across 140 countries.


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