As a business leader, you're keenly aware of technology's impact on your bottom line, but have you ever stopped to consider its impact on your talent?
Many leaders haven't — and that's a mistake. In fact, our Workplace 2025 Study: The Post-Digital Frontier discovered that how well companies adapt to digital innovation can significantly influence the quantity and quality of talent they attract. The majority of respondents told us it’s extremely important that their employers take an innovative approach to technology. Randstad's study also found that 40 percent of employees have quit jobs in the past because they didn’t have access to the latest digital tools. And a further 58 percent said that they need to seek new employment in order to gain digital skills. Unfortunately, few employers are currently providing these opportunities to their employees.
Today, no matter what industry you're in, if you want to attract and retain top talent in the post-digital workplace, you need to put innovation first. Here's why.
why innovation matters
Research indicates that engaged employees are 44 percent more productive than those who are merely "satisfied" — and that employees who are inspired at work are a whopping 125 percent more productive than those who are not. These statistics have huge implications for employers. But truly inspiring your workers takes more than a slogan on a poster or a rousing speech from the CEO. It requires continual action and dedication, and one way to accomplish that is by incorporating new, digital tools into your current tech stack. Doing so not only demonstrates your commitment to keeping your tech current, but also shows your staff that they'll have opportunities to learn new skills and grow professionally if they stick with your company.
And investing in innovative new technologies — from something as sweeping as a new payroll system to something small like a new office chat app — isn't just about boosting morale. A majority of employees agreed that the most important reason employers need to embrace digital innovation is because their companies' futures depend on it. Failing to invest in technology sends the wrong message to your team: For example, it can create uncertainty about the future of your organization, which will cause employees to seek opportunities with greater stability elsewhere.
No matter your role, there are ways you can move your team forward using technology. Start by conducting a needs assessment with your team to identify pain points or places where processes break down. From there, research whether or not available software can help address these challenges. You may find, for example, that a new applicant tracking system could speed up your hiring process and improve the candidate experience. Even if you don't have a budget, there are a host of free apps like Slack that can help your team communicate and collaborate more effectively. Small gestures like these can help demonstrate that your company embraces innovation.
Of course, you should keep in mind that change can be frightening for employees. If your staff is accustomed to processes or systems that have been in place for years, suddenly charting a new direction may be a source of anxiety. Listen to your team members' concerns, and keep them in the loop if you plan to make changes. Communication is key for any successful tech implementation.
your tech is only as good as your people
It’s not enough to just embrace new technologies — you need to bring them into your business seamlessly, and manage them effectively, if they're going to have any kind of impact. Make sure your team has the right skills needed to successfully implement a new tool. Technical requirements will vary from project to project, and the changing nature of the tech itself means you should consider adjusting your approach to staffing.
Make your workforce more agile to address project-specific requirements. With more professionals are choosing the freelance and gig economy route, there’s no shortage of skilled talent out there to help you fully harness the power of new technologies.
Embracing the latest in digital isn't just for tech companies anymore. Organizations across all industries are feeling the pressure, from competitors as well as from employees, to innovate — or get left behind. For a closer look at the emerging digital trends in your industry, check out our report Workplace Trends: Innovation Takes Center Stage, and see more insight for more information on how to lead a digital transformation at your company.