Technology, Talent and Trust
3 things every company has to focus on to succeed today
With constant change and disruption, how can my company continue to create value and succeed in today’s marketplace?
This is the number one issue I discuss with the business leaders I talk to and my response is to focus on three critical things — technology, talent and trust.
My answer may seem simple, but the reality is that most companies are only focused on one or two of these things; rarely are they focused on all three. And even when they do, they tend not to think about how these three things work in harmony. Often these things are siloed and companies are not creating the critical connections and linkages between technology, talent and trust that help drive value and growth within their organizations. Building an agile company that is positioned for long-term success will require getting these three things right.
Think about the top companies today and why they’re so successful: they create products and services that are digital first and technology-enabled for what today’s customers and clients are looking for; they attract and retain top talent by providing their people with meaningful growth opportunities, and regular and transparent engagement; and they not only work to build trust with their customers, shareholders, and employees, but also with the stakeholders in the communities in which they serve.
Let’s dive into what I mean by technology, talent and trust and how together they can create value for your company.
It is no surprise to anyone that in today’s marketplace, technology is a real differentiator for companies. There are exciting opportunities for organizations that truly utilize technology to transform their business. For example, by leveraging data analytics and automation, some companies are now hitting growth goals that used to take years to achieve in only a fraction of the time.
Companies have to be technology-enabled and digital first. They have to realize that there is a fundamental shift happening with technology and that it’s changing how customers and clients work, interact, and go about their daily lives. Take the health care industry: For example, advancements in data analytics, robotics, and telemedicine are changing the way that doctors, hospital and clinics treat patients. New online patient portals allow people to contact their physicians, get their diagnoses and referrals, and refill their prescriptions without going to a doctor’s office; Robots are being used to perform scans and surgeries remotely; And data is being shared and analyzed across hospital networks to work to find cures and better treatment options faster.
While being tech-enabled is key, we can’t lose sight of the fact that technology alone will not lead your organization to success, especially if you’re not thinking about your talent. Many don’t realize that it is actually talent, and how it works with together technology, that will ultimately fuel growth in today’s marketplace.
Organizations need to start thinking about talent in a more balanced way, addressing both the “hard” technological and skills-based side of employee management as well as the “soft” side that encompasses mental and physical wellbeing and work-life integration.
From a technological perspective, organizations need to both empower employees and reassure them that embracing the new frontiers of technology will not make them irrelevant: Training and re-skilling a workforce is a part of embracing new technology, but just as important is reassuring employees that there are advantages, such as a renewed emphasis on soft skills, more management opportunities, and a need for more “emotional quotient” in the workplace.
From a wellbeing perspective, organizations must listen to their employees’ needs and respond to them in specific, easy-to-adopt, meaningful ways. Organizations that employ people who are physically and emotionally healthy retain talent longer, are more creative and engaged, and serve clients better. We used to see this attitude only in startups in Silicon Valley (and indeed, these culture changes are easier to make in smaller organizations), but some traditional companies are now adopting many of these practices and reaping the benefits of a more engaged workforce.
The foundation of any organization or institution is built on trust and trust is something that no business leader should take for granted. In today’s marketplace, consumers, shareholders, and employees are motivated more than ever by their support for an organization’s values. And while many people still believe the sole focus of business is to generate profits, I would argue that the public is now asking business to do more.
Businesses that go beyond the bottom line and lead with purpose and values are ones that today’s consumers want to support, ones that today’s employees want to work for, and ones that today’s shareholders want to invest in. According to research from Edelman, 65% of belief-driven buyers will not buy a brand when it stays silent on an issue they feel it has an obligation to address. Trust is something that companies have to earn by delivering on their promise to their clients, customers and employees, and by being transparent and accountable for the mistakes that are made along the way.
In a world where rapid change and disruption are the only things that are certain, focusing on technology, talent and trust will help business leaders build agile organizations that will create value and growth no matter what lies ahead.