A panel of two inspirational guests shed light on HiPo digital competencies. Parul R. Pandey who has worked with various organizations and has seen high – potential change in the Digital age up close and Prashant Pandey helps multiple companies in designing and implementing large-scale talent management initiatives. This discussion will bring forth a conversation on how companies can design programs to nurture digital competencies for HiPos to be able to thrive.
Q1. How has digital changed the way we do business? How is digital disrupting businesses?
Parul R. Pandey- The fundamental shift that I have seen in the last couple of years is that the senior leadership is now seeing customers in the centre like never before. The customer experience has set every digital touchpoint with the suppliers like organizations or us whether they co-create content or co-create solution put customers at the centre. Digital has completely changed the way we interact with the customers. The other big piece is the backend work not so much for a digital org but for a manufacturing/traditional organization is changing because of the possibilities IOT is creating. IOT is going to bring a revolution in the whole delivery chain as we reach the customers. So the key challenge for us is how do we find the talent to take care of both these pieces. How do we do the same business in an absolutely different way?
Prashant Pandey- The change is happening both internally and externally. Externally the customers are getting more aware. They have more access to data and hence are more demanding. So, keeping customers at the centre of each conversation is more of an outcome and thus the way you engage with them has to go through a fundamental shift. The customer behavior has changed due to digital, and I completely resonate with Parul. Hence, what you can do internally in terms of the way you design products, the way you design your services, the way you engage with customers, has gone through a massive change too.
Also, because of digital, what you can do with data and process, derive insights from them is also giving a lot of power to the organizations. How that power is used differs from organizations to organizations. Some are extremely smart when it comes to using digital to capture data, process it to derive insights and come up with a strategic response or strategic initiative. Some organizations can do that and some cannot. That’s why, and some are growing in terms of the way they work. Young organizations are coming up and blossoming as they are smarter in terms of capturing that data, processing that data, and coming out with a completely disruptive model.
Q2. Due to the emergence of digital, has the competencies that we see in a High-Potential changed?
Prashant Pandey: Yes and No! Certain fundamentals elements have not changed. For example, every HiPo irrespective of a digital era or not, needs to have a strategic bent of mind, needs to have execution capabilities and be people-centric. What has probably changed, is the degree of the strategic bent of mind and the way you need to display strategic thinking. The speed and the agility with which you need to drive execution has changed. Yesterday, if we had a luxury of implementing an initiative and do it in a year’s time, today we have to do it within six months. Similarly, on the people side, fundamentally they are required, but the way you engage with people in the digital has changed. How you use digital platforms to engage with people more smartly and give them experience that is unique.
Q3. How do you think the definition of Talent is changing and how it is tremendously different from before?
Parul R. Pandey: In strategic thinking, we know a person needs to look at trends and articulate it in an inspiring manner, but the underlying question is there is so much information and data out there, do we really know what the right questions to ask are? What hypothesis the right hypothesis to make? And then take out our insights which are sharper, clear, and impactful. So, these are the elements over and above in strategic thinking. Similarly, when we say we need to engage with people across geographies, across digital platforms, what is that we are looking for? We are looking out for people who can build on ideas from across virtual platforms and use collaborative tools. So it is about radical collaboration and utilizing the digital space.
Q4. How do we identify high-potentials?
Parul R. Pandey: This is one of the biggest challenges. Right now, we have the tools to assess the regular competencies. We know what personality profiles will best suit, what result areas we need to look at to predict potential and similarly, we know how to assess the potential for competencies by putting the candidate in a situation. What are we really struggling with is how do we assess digital competencies? And we don’t have a solution. We are really going through a trial-and-error kind of a method. Doing more of open-ended interviews and using predictive analysis to look at whether they have gone the right or wrong way and what have they done when they have gone the wrong way. This helps us assess if they are the leaders of tomorrow.
Q5. What are some of the changes organizations that are spearheading the identification of high-potentials in the digital age make?
Prashant Pandey: IQ and EQ have always been components organizations look for in employees. The change that has come about today is looking for employees with DQ (Digital quotient) which cannot be confused with the functional knowledge of Digital. Organizations are not looking for Tech people, but for people who understand and appreciate what technology brings as a power, and if they can translate and visualize that in terms of how it can impact some part of the business module. DQ is the ability to appreciate technology and think of what it can do for consumers and the internal business systems shortly. The tools used today for identification are similar to the tools used in the past, but it is done in a very different way. Traditionally, candidates were tested on strategic thinking; today they are still tested on strategic thinking but concerning a digital mindset. On one hand while digital is a disrupter, the solution too is digital. The other change that has been made in this digital age is using digital platforms and digital tools very smartly.
Q6. How have you seen the HR community leverage the power of digital, and where do you think this community can bring in some changes?
Prashant Pandey: Companies are always encouraged to have conversations at two levels. The “What” and the “How”. The “How” part is where the organization spend a lot of energy on executing and hence, they need to use digital wherever possible. A retail company we are working with is managing this “How” very well. We have created a learning app which enables personalised learning, but again, a lot of energy is spent on loading on information onto this app, it involves refreshing content, speaking to the consumer and being agile regarding change and creating up-to-date content on a regular basis. The areas where this community can bring change is, its sellers need to become aggressive internally into the systems. Resource constraints will always be a reality, and for HR to use these limited resources to drive their initiatives, they need to be great sellers internally. A lot of HR employees today are not good advocates and salespeople, and so gaining investments is difficult, although the intent is present. This will cause pressure on those external forces, and the idea will scale down and not have the initial impact it was meant to have.
Parul R. Pandey: We need to anchor all leaning on the learner’s goals. The completion rate for long learning programmes is 95% because learners know what is in it for them at the end of the journey. Customized learning does not only mean curating content, but it is also about what the learner wants and what their unique needs are. It is also about making sure the learner reaches their goal with an interactive, engaging and digital method.
You can watch the session here.