To enhance the skills of its employees, it often makes more sense for a company to develop its existing resources rather than recruiting new talents. Not only because existing staff are already steeped in the company’s culture. But also because offering them opportunities for professional development cannot fail to motivate them.
Why is that so important?
Lockdown really has been a wake-up call for companies – it has led us to rethink certain basic principles and brought to light some of the shortcomings of contemporary society. Making the most of existing staff potential and talent has turned out to be essential in responding to this situation.
According to a study conducted by ESCP Europe in conjunction with Netexplo, the seven keys to a successful digital transformation are:
1. A meaning of work: staff understand the purpose of what they are doing.
2. An interdisciplinary approach: an end to working in silos.
3. Systems thinking: everyone understands how the whole value chain works. There are fewer levels of management.
4. Focus: people tend to persevere. The leader maintains a handle on activities and knows when it’s worth continuing or else calling it a day.
5. Imagination: allowing creativity to express itself. This is decisive for the long-term future of the organization.
6. Trust: this liberates energy. Management becomes genuinely open to the ideas of its teams.
7. Sharing: organizations share ideas within their particular ecosystem, without being under any obligation to implement every proposal put forward.
The importance of individual talent
Each individual has their own specific skill set.
Staff will only truly take on board the major changes being ushered in by digital if they are motivated and feel that they are stakeholders in the process.
This burgeoning of digital technology is prompting an overhaul of corporate strategies, and a new situation on the ground means new ways of working. This requires senior management to elaborate a clear-sighted vision and to translate it into an action plan in conjunction with the human resources department. That action plan is in turn relayed to middle managers and taken on board by all staff.
But digital transition also entails new modes of organization (working from home, making clear the purpose of projects, collaborative working, remote management of projects, etc.) and communication (such as video conferences and chats), as well as new tools (Teams, Skype, Zoom, etc.). All of this requires new skills and the training of staff so that they can reveal and develop their potential and talents.
How can HR help reveal this potential?
The first tool, which is absolutely essential, is the ‘competency framework. This clear, comprehensive and motivational reference system of competencies is put together in conjunction with staff, and the overriding goal is to ensure that it is accessible and comprehensible. Consistent with the company’s vision and its future needs, its main purpose is to monitor and analyze the professional development and motivation of staff.
Digital tools and channels favor working in ‘project mode’ – a mode that draws on the skills for the future, such as the ability to mobilize resources and to work as part of a network. You are therefore strongly advised to include in your framework not just technical skills (knowledge and know-how) but also behavioral, managerial and project management competencies. In parallel, you can arrange training on simple and efficient tools such as the Five Ws (who, what, where, when, why) and Gantt charts to promote the professional development of a greater number of staff.
This is particularly important in the current, rather uncertain climate: staff needs to know what they will be capable of doing tomorrow and which competencies will be indispensable for the company.
There are also interesting tests available such as the BIG 5 (a descriptive model of five broad personality traits) and the Insight Discovery* test that has been developed from the theories of Carl Jung. Not to mention the motivation tests – to reveal a person’s potential, sometimes all you have to do is ask them what they enjoy doing!
The basic assumption: we do a good job of something we enjoy doing…
The role of managers
Managers in regular contact with their staff have a key role to play. The more collegiate a manager is in his approach, the more cohesive the team will be, confident in its collective intelligence and the tools that will enable it to express its potential.
A manager too concerned with his own status, quite apart from being completely out of step with the current age, will quickly lose all credibility in the eyes of their team. Staff will simply content themselves with highlighting everything that is wrong about the present set-up and working practices.
The best way of managing effectively is to adopt the approach of a coach who brings its team together and allows them to express their potential. This involves valuing individual contributions, placing trust in team members to act on their own initiative, listening carefully, receiving and providing feedback, and offering regular encouragement.
Good tools and good managers mean motivated staff keen to develop their potential and meet the challenges on the horizon. And this, in turn, means a company that can take the digital transformation in its stride.