Digital Disruption Forces Businesses to Rethink Staffing Strategy
See how rapid technological advances are revolutionizing how companies approach the structure of their workforces and new strategies for employee recruitment.
The remarkable pace of digital transformation has changed how businesses operate at every level. Companies today need to be nimble, taking a close look at emerging technologies, choosing the right investments and continuing to thrive in the face of constant disruption.
That means reexamining business models, processes used and, perhaps most critically, the nature of work and who (or what) does it.
Understanding staffing in the digital age means taking a strategic approach to personnel.
What Staffing Model Works in the Digital Age?
Traditional labor models are not always the right choice in the digital era. Major initiatives are conceived, launched and executed more quickly than ever, requiring companies to act nimbly. Leaders are shifting towards a model that’s both strategic and flexible.
The modern staffing model may include a mix of the following:
- Permanent employees who focus on the most critical initiatives
- Skilled contract employees that support the work, complementing permanent employees and providing talent not available internally
- Specialists that provide additional capabilities and are available on an as-needed basis to complete high-value projects
This approach allows companies to be responsive, provide the right resources for time-sensitive and mission-critical work, and make key hires.
As a recent Deloitte report notes, HR offices are grappling with how to address personnel management in a digital age. “HR’s concerns will soon be revolving around the changing nature of the organization and employees becoming increasingly digital,” the report states.
Organizations must be mindful of the realities of work, including:
- Digital trends that are pervasive, including cloud computing, social media, mobile connectedness, cybersecurity and data analytics
- A multigenerational workforce that includes several generations whose entire lives have been digital in the same workplace with older employees whose technical comfort and skills may be lacking
- Hyperconnected employees looking to blur the lines between work and personal lives
- An emerging group of digitally skilled employees
- Business models that are challenged by digital disruption and new competitors
- Employee perceptions that they are the first consumers of and ambassadors for their employers’ brands
“HR needs to be more pre-emptive with regard to digital transformation as it plays an important role in shaping the organization’s digital identity,” cites Deloitte. “It is a challenge and a real complexity to plan future capabilities of a workforce in the digital economy.”
What Are the Challenges of Staffing in the Digital Age?
The greatest challenge is talent. For many highly skilled positions, competition is fierce, with potential employees having considerable leverage. Advanced data analytics, robotic process automation and cloud computing are just three needed areas where demand is high as companies seek to incorporate emerging technologies into business processes.
Recruitment is fiercer and requires more creativity than ever before. Companies are using a number of tactics to improve their hiring outcomes, including:
- Pre-Employment Networking. Companies are forging relationships with potential candidates well before there are available openings. A focus on engaging potential talent may include providing insights into the company and its strategic plans, offering informational interviews, social gatherings and regular check-ins with a recruiter. Relationships forged early can lead to faster-hiring processes.
- Digital Solutions. Digital labor platforms allow for integrated personnel management, connecting the primary HR functions under one roof. With recruitment, hiring, onboarding, training, development and evaluation in the same platform, it allows organizations to be more nimble and cohesive in employee matters. According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute report, using a digital labor platform can increase output by 9 percent, reduce employee costs by 7 percent and add 275 basis points to profit margins.
- Flexibility. Many employees today expect to have a high level of flexibility in when, where and how they work. Remote employees can use digital technologies and powerful collaboration tools that keep them in contact with colleagues. A digital mindset in the HR office and throughout the organization makes companies more attractive to candidates.
- Focus on Company Culture. Businesses today need to focus on corporate culture. Why? Because there is more information available about most workplaces. Sites such as Glassdoor provide detailed information about companies, including employee reviews that can paint a clear picture of how an organization treats its workers. “Top performers know their value and are growing more footloose as a result; many are going online to find new opportunities and to evaluate potential employers,” notes McKinsey.
Recruiting and retaining employees in the digital age requires employers to think very differently about their workforce. Flexible, creative and strategic approaches allow for better outcomes.