DIGITAL IS MAKING IT TOUGH FOR CHROs TO DELIVER VALUE

ONE of the challenges for CHROs is the mega trend of CONSUMERIZATION. CHROs are having to think about their employees first and foremost as CONSUMERS and most are scrambling trying keep up with the changing needs of employees and the speed of this change.

I recently interviewed digital natives from Amazon Web Services, Accenture, m[pirik] and Mueller Communications. I asked them to share their best advice for CHROs trying to create a SUPERIOR CONSUMER BASED ENVIRONMENT  for their employees. Their insights are fascinating: –

1. CONSIDER THIS A DIGITAL MINDSET CHALLENGE V’S ONLY GENERATIONAL CHALLENGE

An overarching theme that emerged from the interviews was that this is not just a generational issue. Organizations have to figure out how to create a digital mindset in their organization regardless of generation. 72% of organizations are considering how to develop leaders focussed on digital (Deloitte 2017). Digital leadership is loaded with dilemmas and paradoxes. Digital leaders have to provide vision YET empower others, they have to give up control YET architect choices, they have to rely on data YET trust their intuition.

2. THE POWER OF A MULTI-GENERATIONAL WORKFORCE

Digital natives have got the technology piece down, but how do they learn about some of the finer areas of leadership. The digital natives I interviewed suggested we leverage the power of the entire organization. Create time and space for more experienced employees to coach and mentor the new entrants to the workplace. Consider reverse mentoring where digital natives are mentoring mid-careerists. Leverage work as the platform for leadership.

3. HOW WORK GETS DONE

The Digital Era means that everything just moves faster because of technology. How do you translate this into a work environment? Create teams that are less bound by hierarchical structures, that allows for flexibility, speed and at the same time skills building for employees.

4. ENVIRONMENT

Create an environment where each employee can do their best work. Consider your workforce demographics. Have flexibility sit at the center of your HR polices. The new policy that Sheryl Sandberg put in place in February this year at Facebook, after her own experience with bereavement is a great example of this.

5. LEARNING

Digital means that we are “always on” because of our connected world. We are “always on” in our personal lives but this also holds true for our work lives. This means that organizations have to provide a way to satisfy this desire for continuous improvement and learning opportunities. Is this the end of the traditional learning function? Digital natives are looking to learn in an instantaneous way that is easily accessible. Scrub your learning strategies for relevance, ease of consumption and speed. Leverage agile technologies like utube, Degreed, Grovo.

6. AUTHENTICITY 

Digital natives don’t care so much about working for a big brand, but they do want to work for a brand that is authentic. Consider how your brand is experienced through the employee life cycle (the Digital Era means that this cycle is shorter than ever before). How are you managing these transitions? The one we typically think about is “hiring” but what about when we part ways with our employees, how authentic is our brand in this process. Create a closed loop process that gives you confidence in how your brand is experienced during the exit process. Establish ways to quickly access employee sentiment – start with Glassdoor, consider “fast crowdsourcing”.

7. “WALK IN OUR SHOES”

Spend time within the digital world your employees (consumers) enjoy. Experience a world where physical boundaries like banks, stores, shipping, dating are completed by a touch of the phone. Can you feel comfortable with a nano-second world? Can leadership understand that two years to the next promotion is a lifetime for Digital Natives. Search for ways that you can gain perspective of Digital Natives.

My own personal experience and perspective of Digital Natives comes from my twin 14-year-old daughters, Hannah and Emily. The 2 mega trends of Consumerization and Customization sit at the center of their world. When I go to the store to buy sneakers, I take them from the shelf, walk to the checkout and pay. When Hannah buys sneakers, she goes on line, she customizes the laces, the color and the type of sole. She then figures out how they connect to her devices and then finally she’ll order them online and hope they live up to the Amazon delivery time. After all, SPEED is of the essence!

Audrey McGuckin consults with top CEOs and CHROs to solve their toughest talent challenges. To learn more about how we’re working with top CHROs to shape CONSUMER BASED AND FUTURE ORIENTED WORKFORCE PLANS in a digital era. visit our contact page or message her directly at audrey@audreymcguckin.com.

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