How Digital Transformation is Shifting Talent and Hiring

In Digital Transformation by Daniel Newman1 Comment

How-Digital-Transformation-is-Shifting-Talent-and-HiringThe digital age is constantly evolving, and mobile platforms have opened up new ways for us to connect, from anywhere, at any time. Mobile platforms are driving new levels of accessibility, allowing more and more people to tailor their work schedules to their liking. This has made us more attached to our devices—with information and our social circles constantly at our fingertips—but this has also made it harder for some people to detach from their work. I’ve already discussed how augmented reality will change how we work; add to that IoT and VR, and we are headed toward a brave new world.

We are heading toward an always on, always connected digital world; in fact, if we’re not careful, the line between life and work might move beyond blurred and straight into the nonexistent. While this can be both a good and bad thing (being “always on” can add a lot of extra stress), one area where the digital transformation is definitely a “good,” and is having a huge impact, is in corporate hiring practices.

Rise of the Generalist

Business rapidly changes course with the advents of new technology. Virtually every type of industry worldwide has transformed their business practices in the face of new breakthroughs in connectivity and how people work. Hiring practices have changed drastically as well, and a new type of talent is in high-demand. I like to call them “generalists.”

While generalists may have had traditionally accepted roles in the workplace, there has been a huge shift in terms of what traits are desirable in the modern hiring process. Agile, adaptable, and quick-learning employees are crucial for businesses that want to adapt at the pace of the rest of the business world.

A good generalist will familiarize quickly with new tech and business models, while knowing where to find the best information available today. Sifting through the mind-boggling amount of available information today may seem like an impossible task impossible for the person who doesn’t know where to look, and that’s where generalists come in. Human resource professionals want talent who know where to find what they need to adapt at the breakneck pace of change.

Embracing Change in Hiring Practices

The white collar landscape is shifting rapidly with each new innovation in tech, and human resource professionals are changing up their tactics in terms of finding—and retaining—the best available talent. Some of the sweeping new concepts taking root in human resources include:

  • Shifts toward contemporary business cultures. Digital talent is looking for fast-paced, rewarding work, and the flexibility to do it. The slightly old-fashioned concept of a full-time job, with long-term security and big benefits packages are waning in popularity (and availability!). The independent contractors of today are looking for fun, agile work that gives them a sense of purpose.
  • Expanding the scope of accepted business practices. Flexible schedules, work-from-home options—the traditional departmental approach to managing a company is falling by the wayside. Provide the tools for collaboration across all departments, and all types of talent will flourish.
  • Maximizing the potential of new tech with the concepts they drive. Mobile connectivity has created several new concepts that are vital to businesses keeping pace with the shifting demands of the business world. The Internet of Things (IoT) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies add fluidity and agility to any workplace, and mobile devices will continue to shape how we do business.
  • Reinforcing skills with intelligent behaviors. Embracing new trends of the digital age will only reach their full effectiveness when a collaborative culture is established. Cross-functional learning and creating spaces for motivated talent to make empowered decisions are vital to embracing new business concepts in the digital age.
  • Leading through inspiration. Talent retention is easier for HR when they can inspire change. Collect feedback in engaging, personal ways, and encourage avenues for digital work to attract the best talent to your organization and keep them there—because they want to be there.

Mobility continues to drive the importance of connectivity and collaboration in the business world. Human resource professionals today need to fully appreciate the value of generalists who can shift gears as fast as technology. They must engage and adapt to the demands of an ever-changing business culture to successfully harness the talent of a new breed of workforce.

Additional Resources on this Topic:

Recharge HR: How Digital Transformation Can Save HR – And Your Business
Talent Analytics: What They Are, Why They Matter
Inside Hitachi: How an HR Revolution Transformed the 100-Year-Old Company

This article has been brought to you in part by the SAP Store. Please visit the SAP Store to find the latest in software and services to power your business.

Photo Credit: clinton4grace via Compfight cc

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.


  1. Very interesting article. I like the “rise of the generalist” part. I would say that, in the coming, accelerated years to come, we do need generalist who, appart from adapting to changing conditions and knowing where to find expertise, are able to find and maintain a sense of purpose that factors in social and human impact, not only business outcomes.

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