Business

Bridging the gap between technology and culture

By Alison Grenier

Digital transformation is changing the way we do business in all industries. This is not just about doing what we’ve always done more efficiently, but fully embracing and using technology to unlock new ideas, new markets and new ways of thinking.

It stands to reason that the skills needed to take businesses through the digital revolution are also changing, with new competencies and even new job titles emerging daily. In fact, according to Business Insider, by 2020, more than one-third of the desired skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not considered important to the job market today.

This shift has not gone unnoticed in the education streams preparing our children for this new reality. Beginning as early as kindergarten, education is evolving to replace reading, writing and arithmetic with collaboration, critical thinking and communication. At the post-secondary level, a focus on STEM programs is also fostering digital literacy.

Are Canadian organizations ready for the ongoing shift in the labour market and education patterns?

While most organizations have invested considerable time and money overhauling their recruitment practices (identifying the new skills needed and exploring new ways of finding candidates), they must also ensure their people management practices have evolved sufficiently to keep these new recruits engaged.

While most organizations have invested considerable time and money overhauling their recruitment practices, they must also ensure their people management practices have evolved sufficiently to keep these new recruits engaged.

The Best Practices Hub of Great Place to Work® provides insight into how the Best Workplaces™ in Canada create corporate cultures that are ready to welcome the skills of the future.

Accessible leaders

As companies try to attract the top digital talent into their organizations, particularly women, it is becoming increasingly important to allow connectivity to top executives from the beginning of the employment conversation.

As part of the interview process at Autodesk Canada, female job candidates are introduced to female ambassadors in leadership positions. This practice allows female candidates to learn first-hand about the opportunities available for women and begin to appreciate Autodesk’s commitment to cultivating a work environment where their employees are free to be themselves and thrive.

On-the-job learning

As the workforce shifts towards a more digital arena, companies – and by extension, their employees – will constantly have to adapt to the newest technology and competitors. As a result, corporate learning and development programs must become engrained into day-to-day routines.

To provide practical learning that helps employees adapt to global industrial mindset, Intuit has created opportunity for sharing and learning in the International Temporary Assignment Program (ITAP). With ITAP, employees develop new skills and relationships and accelerate global growth objectives. The assignments are based on business need and employee development goals.

Collaboration

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, which is why fostering a collaborative mindset (within teams and across departments) is more important than ever. Individual contributors will realize their full potential only when combined with the skills of their colleagues.

To enhance inter-departmental interaction, AOL Canada has instituted a formal quarterly program called Speed Talk. In this program, employees are given five minutes to ask questions to unfamiliar colleagues in an organized session. This takes about an hour of rotation, with about 30 people participating each session. In addition to the knowledge acquisition that takes place in these sessions, the soft skills of communication and emotional intelligence are practiced.

Bridging the gap between technology and culture

Want to learn more about how to prepare your organization for digital transformation and the labour shift? Register today to attend an informative webinar. 


Alison Grenier is head of culture and research at Great Place to Work® Canada.