Academy Xi Blog

Speed is King: Digital transformation 2022

By Academy Xi

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Businesses have always been looking for an edge over the competition. In the past, this has meant better marketing, stronger customer service, or finding new and innovative products and services to sell. Today, the most agile companies that can quickly adapt to the latest tech and put digital capability building at the centre of their approach are the ones coming out on top. 

Pre-pandemic, 92% of company leaders surveyed by McKinsey “thought that their business model would not remain viable at the rates of digitisation at that time”. So it is fair to say that the global crisis has attached a rocket to the situation.

By no means a fly-by trend, speedy digital transformation is here to stay. 

In this article we explore key approaches that can help to accelerate the digital capability of your organisation, keeping it relevant and competitive.

  1. Identify existing digital capability, then build
  2. Foster a culture of innovation
  3. Keep customer data & analytics at the core

Identify existing digital capability, then build

Building internal capability to build digital products and apply data-driven insights is a preferred option to outsourcing for many Australian CEOs. This is primarily because those already in-house have an established history with the organisation and a fundamental understanding of its ideology. Having a cultural awareness of the company often trumps an outsider with the desired skills. 

Companies are empowering themselves and their people by investing in in-house capability. When they do this, they are doing two things. 

  • They are working towards closing the digital skills gap. 
  • They are showing their people that they are willing to invest in the future of the individual as well as the company.

PwC’s Talent Trends report, Upskilling: Building Confidence in an uncertain world, revealed that 77% of employees were willing to upskill, yet only 18% of 3000 CEOs surveyed said they’d made significant progress in creating upskilling programs within their organisations since 2019.

The results of those who did implement upskilling programs, reported 30% improvement in productivity and acceleration in digital transformation and a 28% increase in improvement in talent acquisition and retention. 

A strong 41% also reported that their upskilling program was ‘very effective in creating a stronger company culture and improving employee engagement.’ The survey indicated that the more advanced the upskilling program, the more effective it was in addressing their skills gap.

The other perk to building from within is by up and re-skilling your existing teams you’re increasing the likelihood of them staying on and given the stark reality that digital and tech talent is hard to find, this is a wise investment.

Foster a culture of innovation

There’s often talk of adapting new tech to enable a faster version of ‘business as usual’. While improvements to efficiency are logical, it’s also important to be mindful of focusing too much on our comfort zones. The leaders of the pack in digital transformation are sinking as much budget into innovation as they are into how things run on the daily, quite often by leveraging technology.

The momentum created around innovation and change as a result of the global pandemic within some organisations has changed the way they do business. Understandably they want to continue on this trajectory. “Business leaders are saying that they’ve accomplished in 10 days what used to take them 10 months,” says Kate Smaje, a senior partner and global co-leader of McKinsey Digital. “That kind of speed is what’s unleashing a wave of innovation unlike anything we’ve ever seen.”

So, how do you foster this culture within your organisation?

Simon Costello, Co-Founder and CEO of onboarding and fraud-prevention platform, FrankieOne, feels having the right people on your team is imperative and looks to recruiting new graduate talent as a means of introducing more innovation into his business. 

“You need to be innovative in every area of your business – and talent acquisition is no exception.” – Simon Costello, Co-Founder & CEO, FrankieOne

New skills and increased digital confidence can certainly encourage people’s ability to innovate. By offering internal employee training programs for existing members of your teams, you will be providing them with opportunities to develop and experience the benefits across the company.

Keep customer data & analytics at the core

Where speed is king in keeping your company ahead of the digital tech curve, data is the power source to support rapid and quality decision making. Research from McKinsey shows that leading businesses are three times more likely than competitors to say that their data and analytics initiatives have contributed at least 20 percent to earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) from 2016 to 2019.

Fast forward to times of global pandemics, and customer data and analytics is now more powerful than ever.

A solid example of keeping the stats at the core of your strategic planning is from San Francisco based clothing label, Levi Strauss. The pandemic pushed the company to implement initiatives they had planned for the year ahead and further into the future, within a matter of days. Because they had invested in digital tech, including AI and predictive analytics, they were able to quickly change gears to keep up with customers heading online.

Amongst their winning tactics was fulfilling online orders in both fulfilment centres and from within their stores. Pre-pandemic this would’ve taken months to implement, but they managed the shift to meet demand within weeks. 

“The company also provided curbside pick up of orders from close to 80% of their US-based stores (nearly 200 in total).”  – Harmit Singh, Chief Financial Officer, Levi Strauss

What’s possible – inspiration from our clients

At Academy Xi, we recently had the pleasure of working with Phil Hayes St Clair, CEO and Co-Founder of Drop Bio, a digital company focused on improving lifestyles for those with chronic inflammation.

Phil and his company had a market research challenge, requiring them to determine the right personas for a product they wanted to launch. A time bound opportunity, they reached out to Xi as they were aware of the courses we offered in training people to become user experience researchers. The team at Drop Bio thought graduates might want some work and real world experience in customer research. 

“Recruiting is the most difficult part of growing any company…you have to get it right as best you can. In this case it was a really fantastic mash up of timing, good talent, great project and fantastic outcome.

“Through Xi we ended up with two outstanding researchers that essentially did a 10 week piece of work for us. The thing that really surprised me was just how quickly we were able to start that project. The speed the team at Xi moved at was really impressive and matched the speed that we operate at as a fast moving start up. Great tempo alignment that made life a whole lot easier.”  – Phil Hayes St Clair, CEO and Co-Founder, Drop Bio

The wrap up

While the speed of your digital transformation is important, going faster isn’t the entire answer. The companies leading the race are making sound decisions around investing in their people, tech, data and processes, which combined are enabling them to make stronger decisions and have more profitable outcomes.

Be assured that you don’t have to do this alone or have all of the answers in-house.

Need a hand in shaping your workforce for success?

Academy Xi offers an industry tested range of talent and training solutions that help organisations transform their workforce, source exceptional external talent and get priority access to people with exceptional skills working in design, tech, data, business and digital solutions. Get in touch with us today.

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Academy Xi Blog

Can remote work & the great resignation ‘go the distance’?

By Academy Xi

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Following record-breaking demand for remote work, online educators and training providers have galvanised in response to ‘The Great Resignation’.

Supplying a sudden demand for employees with a digital skillset, these companies are preparing a ‘next generation’ workforce for the possibilities of remote work, helping millions stay ahead of the curve.  

Woman working on couch with daughter standing on couch next to her

Conducting research at the start of 2019, employment website Indeed found that 68% of Australian employers had remote workers on their staff. Of these employers, 69% claimed that increased productivity was the biggest benefit of remote working, followed by improved morale, lower absenteeism and reduced employee turnover.

Data for Indeed’s survey was captured nearly a year before Coronavirus came into effect, with Australia’s first case confirmed on the 25th of January 2020 and restrictions beginning a few months later in March. A world of change has been presided over since the report’s publication. A more up-to-date study would document a much larger proportion of Australian companies facilitating remote roles. 

Large parts of Australian industry were locked down in response to the pandemic, with the Australian Computer Society (ACS) reporting the loss of 850,000 jobs throughout March and April in 2020. Meanwhile, Australia’s borders were closed to non-residents as of the 20th of March in the same year and the education sector was dramatically impacted. ACS pinpoints education as the nation’s fourth largest export earner. Like so many other companies and institutions, Australian education and training providers with a progressive mindset have upped their resourcefulness and continued to provide in-demand skills solutions online. 

 

A Remote Possibility

Though homeworking has been a cultural and economic necessity throughout coronavirus restrictions, it seems more than likely that a number of businesses who’ve sampled its benefits will move toward a larger remit of remote work permanently. 

As well as the personnel improvements noted by Indeed, a remote workforce offers the added financial incentive of less bricks-and-mortar office space. However, not every company’s activities will have translated well into an online infrastructure and some will revert to business-as-usual operations as soon as possible.

But what about companies that already had their sights set on remote horizons before the pandemic? For those businesses that made the leap into fully remote operations, it seems unlikely that many will find themselves looking back once the lockdown landscape is cleared.

A large number of organisations will have tested elements of a remote system throughout the pandemic and found it not only cost-effective, but also highly productive. This means many companies will emerge from the pandemic determined to maintain or even build out hybrid structures, with certain roles and responsibilities fulfilled from afar.

Man working at a desk behind a laptop

Teams of people might have found virtual meetings to be an unfamiliar substitute for in-person interactions. However, many will have realised that online meets work perfectly well and will continue to hold them because it saves time and money. For similar reasons, executives might think twice before booking a long distance flight on company expenses. Many top level professionals will hold future board meetings virtually, thrashing out deals and wielding their power in crisp white shirts and wrinkled pyjama bottoms. 

Mismatched clothing has become an in-joke shared between remote workers throughout the pandemic. It’s a sign of the times, when everyone has thrown everything they can muster together, or done unusual things to deal with unusual circumstances. 

There’s a widespread notion that the pandemic has made the vast majority of people resourceful and adaptable. That said, the spectrum of social and economic effects brought about by Coronavirus exist on a scale. Nobody could reasonably claim that a pyjama wearing executive has been pushed too far beyond their comfort zone. 

Countless workers employed in retail, hospitality, tourism and leisure industries will have found themselves in tough situations. It comes as no surprise that many have quit these kinds of industries and professions, never to return.

 

‘The Great Resignation’

A recent US Labor Department report documented that 740,000 employees working in leisure and hospitality industries resigned in April 2021. These people had staffed diners, roadside motels, sports bars and theme parks, before the venues of the iconic American experience were transformed into a temporary ghost town. Many of these employees have taken themselves to a newer haunt, which is very much alive and kicking.

Digital industries and an expanding online workspace have been the driving force behind ‘The Great Resignation’, also known as ‘The Big Quit’. A record-breaking 4 million Americans left their jobs throughout April this year, with a large proportion of them leaving low-paid, inflexible roles and seeking to reposition themselves in digital careers (US Labor Department Report, 2021). 

More recent statistics indicate that the mindset of the quit movement has been influential in all levels of employment. A poll conducted by Forbes in late June 2021 found that nearly 40% of white-collar workers would move to another company offering remote work rather than go back to an old office job. Forbes notes that “even highly sought after companies like Apple are scrambling to avoid mass-resignations from return-to-office policies”.

In a similar vein, a survey captured by insurance and financial services giant Prudential established that “one in three American workers would not want to work for an employer that required them to work on site full time” (Forbes, 2021). With this statistic in mind, Prudential vice chair Rob Falzon confessed, “If there’s one thing that keeps me up at night, it’s the talent flight risk.” 

Three men sitting at a table outside while having a meeting

A precise percentage of how many resignees are following new career paths into the digital space will only become clearer with time. However, this mass exodus of staff, which stretches far beyond the US and into global employment markets, has been fundamentally linked to the enhanced possibilities of remote work. 

A 2021 report by Harvard Business School examined the records of 9 million employees from 4,000 companies, discovering that staff in tech and healthcare industries were most likely to resign. This is especially true for employees of companies that experienced increased demand for products and services. It doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to conclude that some of these staff members must have felt overworked, or undervalued.  

Many industry specialists believe that a version of the Great Resignation is already taking shape in Australia, with the conditions for a major employment shift already aligning. A recent large-scale salary survey by Hays, a worldwide recruitment specialist with offices in most of Australia’s major cities, concluded 40% of Australians are seriously considering career changes. Interviewed by Yahoo Finance, Hays Australia managing director, Nick Deligiannis, forecasts the Australian big quit in these terms.

There are signs that there could be a ‘Great Resignation’ in Australia soon, too. The pandemic has been a rude intrusion to many Australians’ career plans. They have put their career plans on hold to help their organisation through the crisis. Now, they are focused on their career again and have begun prioritising advancement. But while career progression is valued, just 16 per cent of employees expect to receive a promotion in the next 12 months.” – Nick Deligiannis (Hays Australia)

All this represents a power-shift, as a perfect storm of pandemic conditions is changing the hearts and minds of an Australian workforce. On a global scale, more people than ever before want and expect flexible working conditions, as well as better all round lifestyles. In some cases, they’re prepared to turn their backs on senior roles with blue chip companies in order to make this happen.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

For anyone who values their own work-life balance, resigning, upskilling and pursuing a remote career is a process that’s perfectly relatable. What’s trickier to understand is the timing with which a whole raft of employees are throwing themselves into a sea change of career diversification.        

The Great Resignation was coined by Texas A&M Management Professor, Anthony Klotz, whose research acknowledges that people voluntarily quitting jobs in large numbers amid an ongoing recession represents a longstanding economic trend ‘turned on its head’. In short, people have always resigned in greater numbers when the economy is stable and job opportunities are relatively high. In times of recession, people tend to ‘stay put’ and resignation rates drop and remain low. 

From December 2000 to the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, resignation among the total US workforce never surpassed 2.4% (The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, 2021). The first year of the pandemic played out as expected, with a seven-year resignation low of 1.6% throughout 2020. From the Spring of this year, everything changed and long standing resignation records have been shattered, peaking at 4%. In the eye of the nation’s worst ever economic storm, more Americans than ever before have lept ship and searched for new opportunities in digital industries.     

The Great Resignation is a clear indication that many employees are becoming more proactive and savvy in their career moves. 49% of students that study with Academy Xi expect to secure a new role at a different company upon completion of their studies. Many of our students have realised that more enjoyable and stable opportunities have already presented and will continue to arise as the effects of the pandemic ease off. 

When Covid conditions pass completely, hiring rates are anticipated to continue moving upward, following a steady trajectory in the medium-term and replicating the growth patterns of previous post-recession economies. By upskilling through workshops and preparing to latch on to an upturn in remote work opportunities, millions of people are realising the value of staying ahead of the curve.  

A Great Resignation thought-piece article published in recent weeks by Forbes has argued that too many people are resigning without a new role lined-up. In doing so, they’re throwing themselves into limbo and losing the salary bargaining leverage that comes with keeping their current job contract. There’s a simple but failsafe solution to this problem, whereby people seeking better work opportunities can re-skill part-time, enter into the jobs market formally prepared for a new role and hand in their notice once a new position is secured. Before you make the leap into a digital career, get the skills and experience needed to land that new role and hit the ground running.

  

Realising A Workforce’s Digital Potential 

What does an increase in remote work opportunities mean for the next generation of employees? In short, it means absolutely everything. Remote workers have a better chance of balancing hard work, health and happiness – that all important trio of variables that contribute to individual productivity.

Throughout the pandemic, companies and employees have learned that embracing the overlapping nature of work life and life-in-general can bring about real results. Here, it’s useful to circle back to the findings of the Indeed report. The numbers don’t lie. Those people who are able to fulfil at least some of their job’s remit remotely tend to be more productive. The flexible scheduling of remote work also gives people a better chance to meet all of life’s other responsibilities. As a result, they’ll likely be more content in their work and remain loyal to their company. This is backed-up by the reduced staff turnover and absenteeism reported by Indeed.

When properly supported by training and skills development, digital industries give people more time and space to evolve their careers, perform their best work and realise their full professional potential.

Man behind laptop while team works around him

What does this look like? Well, some people like to work in bursts of an hour, broken-up by ten-minute periods of lying on the ground and doing everything possible to think of nothing. Meditating in the office should not be frowned-upon socially but does represent a trip hazard. Others are more zen working at 1am, after returning from a 24hour convenience store with a bottle of Mountain Dew, ready to start a graveyard shift of coding.

Giving talented people greater freedom to work in ways that suit their lifestyles will normally ensure maximum individual output and high quality work, helping a company as a whole achieve a healthier bottom line. As long as a remote employee manages their time, prioritises, keeps teammates ‘in the loop’ and hits deadlines, no one in a senior position will spend too much time thinking about how and when things got done.

It comes as no surprise that increased freedom means trust is a core component of the employer-employee relationships which oversee remote roles. The starting assumption will be that people are just as productive somewhere else as they are in the office. If they aren’t, or they struggle to juggle tasks effectively, most managers will treat that as an exception and course-correct when it’s necessary. It’s an arrangement that cuts both ways. Employers have an obligation to ensure that a workforce is properly trained for all the responsibilities that a remote role demands. More and more companies developing remote operations will contract the help of online trainers who practice what they preach. The best academies will offer flexible online course options that move fluidly with the times, providing up-to-date remote solutions for remote work problems.

With rapidly evolving digital infrastructure, a record breaking demand for working remotely, and online skills development providers preparing a ‘next generation’ workforce, the question on many people’s minds is not “Can remote work go the distance?”, but instead “Can I?”. 

The Great Resignation has shown us all that the toughest of times can make people bolder. Millions of people with digital career ambitions have immediately flipped the two words of this question into a new order, forming a simple but priceless statement of post-pandemic intent. “I Can”.

Academy Xi Blog

Digital Maturity is the benchmark

By Academy Xi

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Five digital experts give their take on how to reach organisational digital maturity.

Key themes include:

  • building capability
  • digital leadership
  • adjacent skill sets
  • digital roadmap
  • continuous learning
  • mentoring
  • knowledge sharing
  • communication
  • storytelling

Although digital transformation remains a top strategic priority for almost every organisation, ‘Digital Maturity’ is now more commonly used as a benchmark for success. 

Digital transformation is all about the doing (implementation, adoption, rewiring), digital maturity is the being. The process versus the state. A digitally mature business is one that has learned how to respond appropriately to the emerging competitive environment through collaboration, thoughtful training initiatives, scaled innovation and revamping their approach to workforce transformation. It isn’t housed in a single department but rather is a mindset owned by all staff and sits across the entire business.

Matt Tsourdalakis – Lead UX Designer, NAB

Matt is a versatile UX/Product Design Consultant and team leader with human-centred design at his core. You can watch Matt in the “How to Lead a Design Team” webinar. He is also a ‘Designer In Residence’ at Academy Xi.

What are the top three things you are looking for when hiring digital talent?

First, flexibility and adaptability. Digital is always changing — just look at how it’s changed over the past year and a bit through COVID-19. I look for talent who embrace change and relish the opportunity to try new things. 

Second, skills on the tools. There are plenty of new tools coming to market. I look for talent who always have their ear to the ground when it comes to new tools, features and methods to get work done more efficiently and effectively. 

Third, high emotional intelligence. I don’t want to spend my time working with brilliant a**holes. Emotionally intelligent people are empathetic, self-aware and more likely to be team players.

It is projected that by 2025, the average worker in Australia will need to learn seven new digital skills. In what ways are you addressing this challenge in your workplace? 

I’m a big advocate for fostering an environment of continuous learning. This means intentionally creating an environment for the team to learn and upskill in the areas they’re interested in. 

One of the best ways to learn new skills is to teach them, so I like to give my team the opportunity to teach, showcase or demonstrate a new tool, workshop or way of working. It’s amazing what you can learn even by simply watching how someone else works.

What can businesses and individuals do to progress in their digital maturity? 

Businesses should hire individuals who can educate the rest of the business on the latest digital trends. You can’t expect every executive to become the sole source of information on digital trends. Just hire people who live and breathe digital.

Individuals have access to more information than ever to grow in their digital maturity. Podcasts, eNewsletters, books, YouTube channels, meetups, blog posts — there’s heaps of resources out there. Individuals just need to find out what’s their preferred way to learn, and make it a regular habit. 

Learning and upskilling in digital should be a daily exercise — not something you neglect until you really need it. You wouldn’t prepare for a marathon by only running 20km the day before the race — you prepare by building your stamina in regular smaller increments over a long period of time.

Stephanie Shang – Head of Media, Australia, Essence (Group M)

Stephanie heads up the media practice at Essence (GroupM), whose key clients include Google, Airbnb, Vistaprint and more in the Australian market. 

Watch Stephanie in our recent webinar, “Digital Transformation Trends for 2021”.

What are the top three things you are looking for when hiring digital talent?

Beyond sound theoretical knowledge, this is what I look for when hiring. First, cognitive flexibility. The technology infrastructure and media landscape that underpin digital marketing is constantly evolving and fragmenting. Therefore, digital generalists need to cover more ground than ever before, and jump between various ideas and theories to solve problems. Effective adaptability to new information, situations and timelines is crucial to success. 

Second, critical thinking and analysis. It is really important to assess information beyond face value and assign genuine meaning to numbers and metrics. For example, how does this data impact cross-functional teams and stakeholders? Why should anyone care? How do we transform an observation into an insight? 

Third, effective communications skillsIt is imperative to be able to translate complex and technical information into something that is accessible for stakeholders and articulate the value of digital back to objectives and key results that matter to the end user.

It is projected that by 2025, the average worker in Australia will need to learn seven new digital skills. In what ways are you addressing this challenge in your workplace? 

Essence is a global data and measurement-driven media agency with digital heritage and analytics DNA. Beyond well-thought-out training programmes and practical application, we have always future-proofed ourselves by investing in emerging skills. 

Because we offer specialist capabilities in emerging growth areas, we are solving not only the problems of now, but also the challenges of the future. Think: data strategy, analytics, experience, strategy and advertising operations and beyond media services.

What can businesses and individuals do to progress in their digital maturity? 

Having a clear roadmap and end goal is fundamentaldigital transformation journeys can take years, not months. Only then can businesses and individuals make intentional investments into the right tools, technology and training that help concentrate their efforts, and generate value rather than spreading themselves too thin.

Let’s also not forget that all this great work is powered by brilliant minds. Strong leadership is required to set the ambition and motivate teams to adopt a transformational mindset. Meanwhile, diverse talent and cross-functional collaboration mean that decisions encompass all perspectives and scenarios, saving teams a lot of time and preventing them from hitting dead ends further down the line.

Josh Slighting – Head of Data & Digital Audience, Network 10

Josh leads multiple departments at the network and has built their data strategy and capabilities from the ground up. Watch Josh in our recent webinar, “Digital Transformation Trends for 2021”.

What are the top three things you are looking for when hiring digital talent?

First, critical thinking. The environment we work in is fast paced and evolving rapidly. People need to respond to the changing demands of their role and focus on solving problems. 

Second, attitude. 

Third, relevant experience – by this I mean direct experience or transferrable skills that would see this person productive in their role and trusted by the team within six months.

It is projected that by 2025, the average worker in Australia will need to learn seven new digital skills. In what ways are you addressing this challenge in your workplace? 

We are constantly innovating and pushing boundaries when it comes to digital; it’s a fast growing part of our business. Learning and the opportunity to try new things in the digital space can happen more organically as a result, and for us that can be a necessity. In our business, it’s not just digital skills that people need to learn, but also skills that sit adjacent to a particular subject matter expertise. 

Skills like project management, product management, strategy creation and customer experience design and service design are becoming increasingly important. 

We have focused learning and development programs through virtual course material, tailored training, and increasingly cross-functional and cross-discipline project based work offering people a chance to learn new things while working on interesting and challenging projects.

What can businesses and individuals do to progress in their digital maturity? 

For individuals: It’s important for people to continue to be (pro)active in their own learning and experience, and to take accountability of this for themselves. Things change very quickly, so it’s best for you to stay ahead of the changes and constantly invest in yourself. 

Mentoring and knowledge sharing outside of your business with colleagues in the same industry can be a very effective tool and can help you identify how your skills and understanding of potential industry changes is holding up, and therefore where there is opportunity to improve.

For businesses: This is a continuous process and not accomplished from a singular investment in something ‘transformative’. Digital should no longer be a standalone department or cost centre, but rather part of the way business is done. Generally speaking, technology will continue to accelerate digital capabilities and have a positive impact. However, the changing demands of consumers and pace of digital innovation require at minimum the same  investment in process improvement and ensuring your business has the variety and depth of skills to support the evolving business as usual model in a more digitally enabled world. 

Vida Asrina – Head of Experience Design, Endeavour X



Vida leads an experience design team of 25 designers (and growing) at Endeavour Drinks (Woolworths Group). She is also a ‘Designer In Residence’ at Academy Xi.

What are the top three things you are looking for when hiring digital talent?

First, interpersonal skills. Things like a growth mindset and positive attitude, someone who is flexible in their approach and a natural collaborator. Most importantly they are empathetic. Empathy is critical for both businesses and individuals to thrive. A good human being really – a team fit! 

Second, the technical skills and experience required for the role; they have robust technical skills and are flexible around how they do it. 

Third, communication skills and the ability to take people on a journey. Things like storytelling, talking design without jargon and can communicate clearly on their proposed approaches and solutions.

It is projected that by 2025, the average worker in Australia will need to learn seven  new digital skills. In what ways are you addressing this challenge in your workplace? 

At Endeavour X, we encourage people to share their own learnings. This is key in building capability. Organisations need to invest more in upskilling their employees. We look to collaborate with other organisations, including universities, and other organisations that provide learning and training opportunities. Optics are also important. We showcase a lot of what we do in the digital side of the organisation so the rest of the business has visibility. If people can’t see what is being achieved and how, they won’t necessarily reflect on their own skill sets critically and look to plug the gaps. 

Recruitment, hiring and how you structure a team also play an important role. How you mix different individuals in a team, with diverse backgrounds and personalities, will shape the dynamic of the team. If you get it right, you will have the right foundation for a high-performing team who support one another’s growth and value learning from one another.

What can businesses and individuals do to progress in their digital maturity? 

Two things here. The first is continuous learning. Keep learning, keep practicing, keep nurturing talent. We as individuals have a part to play in this too. 

Second, connect with your industry and your community. There is so much to be learnt from others.

Ainsley Johnstone – Founder & CEO, Think Talent

An entrepreneur at heart, Ainsley Johnstone leads award-winning recruitment agency ‘Think Talent’. Watch her in our webinar, “Help! I can’t get good tech talent!”

What are the top three things you are looking for when hiring digital talent?

First, strong stakeholder engagement and communication skills. Second, having a customer centric mindset. Third, the capability to innovate and solve problems. 

It is projected that by 2025, the average worker in Australia will need to learn seven new digital skills. In what ways are you addressing this challenge in your workplace? 

Digital literacy is already a must in all areas of employment and specific capability requirements will continue to grow and evolve with technology and customer demands. 

We are working with our clients to assess how they can iteratively uplift capability in flight without disrupting their operating rhythms by taking people away from their work for long periods of time. This is a real challenge but ultimately you need to keep pace or you will be left far behind. 

It is important to have a people strategy that considers how you plan to attract, acquire, engage and uplift talent around the life cycle to ensure the top digital capability is in the building at all times. 

The clients I see winning have a clear capability plan linked to their growth agenda and leverage a partner ecosystem that offers innovative learning solutions.

This challenge has ultimately brought us to a partnership with Academy Xi, where we are leveraging their skills to offer bite size learning opportunities at different points of the talent lifecycle to ensure top talent is up to date on critical skill requirements.  

What can businesses and individuals do to progress in their digital maturity? 

Upskill their business from the top down. 

They can ensure that all employees are digitally literate and have a base-level understanding of customer centric practices such as Co-creation, Human Centered Design, User Experience and Agile ways of working. From there, they can then target areas of the business that require deeper learning and ongoing capability development to keep pace.

It is also really important to attract top talent into key roles, especially in leadership positions where the vision and strategy are being set. I suggest working on developing a unique employment value proposition that will attract top talent and developing an innovative attraction and recruitment approach that will engage top talent now and into the future.

Want to ramp up your digital efforts straight away? Check out Academy Xi’s Intro Courses and Upskilling Workshops for teams and businesses.

Academy Xi Blog

Combatting Digital Imposter Syndrome

By Academy Xi

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“Who can I ask about this system?”

“Everyone seems to know how to use this program except me.”

“I am going to need help – but am embarrassed to ask.”

Sound familiar? The struggle of Digital Imposter Syndrome is real. We’ve all felt it at some point in our personal or professional lives.

Researchers say that up to 70% of people suffer from some form of Imposter Syndrome at one point or another. The fact that none of us are immune to it doesn’t make it any less destructive to our confidence.

The Digital version relates to the way people feel about themselves when interacting with programs, platforms, systems, data, emerging tech etc. One study conducted by Chapman University found that tech-related fears were the second most common fear category amongst adults. 

How often have you encountered a new piece of technology in the workplace and held back from asking the necessary questions to truly understand how it works? You held your tongue. Without this knowledge you won’t know how to leverage its potential. Or your own. Think of that productivity lag. This is how a seemingly innocuous mindset can collectively hold up business growth.

So what can businesses do?

Start by listening.

The starting point for addressing fear is to understand it. Listen to your people. What are you hearing to be the major barriers for them? What are the big pain points? How exactly are they struggling to interact with specific tech? Where do they feel that they fit into the broader digital ecosystem? To quote Zendesk, “Digital transformation can be a rough employee experience”, but it doesn’t have to be when you know what issues are of greatest concern.” 

Take your people on the journey. 

In one of our recent blogs, we discuss that when rolling out digital transformation projects, it is critical to bring your people along for the ride. It all starts with demystification. Bring the technology that underpins your organisation out into the light. To capture the full potential of any single piece of digital technology, your people need to:

  • a) Know how to use it
  • b) Know who to turn to when they have questions and
  • c) Understand where it fits into the broader organisational digital ecosystem

Mx Taîss Quartápa, a senior manager at Accenture, says ‘When I was managing the graduates at a previous workplace, I saw various versions of this [digital imposter syndrome]. The reactions I got really depended on the individual but would range from “No, I can’t do that, I haven’t been trained on that” to “I have only learnt wireframing on x software, not on y software” to “I’m just faking it – I google things and copy what to do – I’m sure that won’t always work”.

Pictured: Taîss Quartápa

Provide the right training at the right time.

All organisational digital transformation is progressive. As a company, you need to crawl before you walk and walk before you run (digitally speaking). This same concept trickles down into the way you support your people. It is about giving everyone the right education at the right time. There is no use rolling out a training program for a new system if they don’t understand where it fits, how it impacts them or why the company has chosen to go in this direction in the first place.

Quartápa says that it is a matter of reframing. ‘If we reframe imposter syndrome to imposter experience perhaps we would evaluate it with a more objective lense.’ They believe self-doubt is normal, especially when venturing into the unknown and challenging territory — something they believe we continue to do daily as part of the very definition of our roles.

Alleviate anxiety through cultural change. 

Businesses need their people to be courageous. The message needs to be: “Let’s prioritise taking the action we need to achieve our goals over looking foolish and feeling fearful”. This is obviously a mindset shift in a working environment where ‘not knowing’ is often seen as weakness. 

In their teams, Quartápa says that “a willingness to ask for help is a key attribute to their success. I expect them to be curious, to keep trying new things and that I know that can be really hard, especially when you’re new and trying to demonstrate competence early. I know everyone says “there are no stupid questions” but there actually is such thing as a so-called stupid question. It’s the question that you could have found the answer to on your own. So, read books, ask peers or google it – there’s no wrong way to admit that you do not know everything, and that you are willing to learn more.”

Our opinion? We believe that the best possible place to start with this change is at the top. Consider how powerful it would be for your Executive Team to declare “We aren’t ‘digital natives’ and could use some help to adapt to these new ways of working.” Talk about courage.

If ever there was a time to support people struggling with Digital Imposter Syndrome it is in the wake of COVID-19. We all now have a much greater reliance on technology. In a time where we are expected to use digital skills intensely across various parts of our jobs, organisations need to be aware of the additional strain this can place on their people.

Want to give your teams a boost in digital confidence?

We have training solutions for every stage of the digital journey. From Intro Courses (1 day) to larger digital transformation programs, we can help. Discuss your digital training needs with us. 

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