Blog / 10 August 2017

The business rewards of developing a digital mindset

In the fifth of 10 tips inspired by our Future of Work report Mapping the Digital Future, we look at fostering a digital mindset among a company’s people and uncovering the hidden talent within.

Attracting diverse, digitally-minded talent is a key plank of the Future of Work.

The five keys to a digital mindset, according to Forbes, are to: Provide vision yet empower others; give up control yet architect choices; sustain yet disrupt; rely on data yet trust your intuition; be skeptical yet open-minded.

These all ring true here at Freeformers but we would add a crucial sixth: foster and empower those already showing a digital mindset and always be on the lookout for hidden talent as your next digital innovator could be hidden in plain sight.

But this doesn’t simply mean placing a focus on young people. In fact, some of the brightest talent may be hidden away inside current senior employees, who have never felt confident enough to show it or to speak up.

“There’s a lack of empathy for older staff,” says Freeformer Kaishia Barnes. “They may not feel comfortable with digital or they go unheard or overlooked because people believe they don’t ‘get it’. That stereotyping is a big barrier.”

Nate Lanxon, Consumer Technology reporter for Bloomberg and former Editor of Wired.co.uk, agrees that diversity of all kinds is needed to unearth hidden talent. “Different people need to be brought together to learn from and support each other, and be encouraged to have respect for the opinions and ‘experiences’ of those they work with.

“In any workplace, a blend of the traditionally-educated with those who are self-taught and trained creates a productive mix, where everyone learns from each other.”

A broad, mutual learning experience can be achieved to great success by following our theme of a reverse mentoring programme, as discussed in tip four, which rewards both employer and employee simultaneously. There’s a good chance your younger employees may be able to aid you in attaining a greater digital mindset, despite their lack of professional experience.

According to PwC’s annual CEO survey, 83% of UK CEOs say that digital skills are important, yet 67% think recruiting people with these skills is difficult. CEOs in only two other territories worldwide find it harder to get hold of digital skills than the UK — South Africa (86%) and Switzerland (72%), says the report.

However, the fix may be simpler than you think. The problem of recruitment can be partially solved by encouraging staff to speak up if they already have the digital skills you require and rewarding them by offering them more senior roles that make use of these skills.

By working collaboratively and transparently with your employees and rewarding those who either have or attempt to attain a more digital mindset, your company will be prepared for the workplace of the future.

Learn even more about digital and workforce transformation by catching up with previous articles from the Freeformers Changing the Future of Work Mindset Top 10 Tips:

  1. Why you must start at the top to change the Future of Work mindset
  2. Create a collaborative culture to embrace digital transformation together
  3. Your company’s survival depends on digital transformation
  4. Encourage reverse mentoring between different sets of skills and knowledge

To read more from the Freeformers Mapping the Digital Future report, download it here. We’d love to hear what you think about uncovering hidden talent and rewarding people with a digital mindset so to find out more about Freeformers or give us your opinions, email futureofwork@freeformers.comor leave a comment below.