Dan Falvey, Executive Advisor of HR Strategy at SAP, shared insights on what’s necessary for a company to become a digital winner.
Falvey began his thought leadership presentation at the Human Capital Leadership Forum held on November 15 in Dallas by announcing, “I’m going to talk about leadership today and the future of work. The future’s no longer coming; it’s here,” he noted. “More than half of the Fortune 500 firms have gone out of business since 2000, and another 40% of the 500 S&P companies will disappear in the next decade if they can’t keep up with digitalization.”
“More than half of the Fortune 500 firms have gone out of business since 2000, and another 40% of the 500 S&P companies will disappear in the next decade if they can’t keep up with digitalization.”
Falvey described a study conducted for his company by Oxford Economics. Oxford Economics surveyed 2050 employees (half of whom were Millennials) and 2050 executives (half C-level and about 20% Millennials) in 21 countries across all industries and functional areas. “The purpose was to test three hypotheses that we suspected were critical to succeeding in the digital economy.” These three hypotheses, which the study confirmed, were:
• Organizations that are firmly behind and pushing through this digital transformation are experiencing better overall results.
• The more engaged the workers, the higher the profitability.
• The talent strategy is no longer about filling the head count. It’s a much more mature view.
The Oxford Economics study found that only one in five businesses is winning in the digital economy. “Companies that get digital leadership right perform better in the marketplace and have more satisfied and engaged employees,” said Falvey. Companies that are digital winners are more likely to report strong revenue and profit growth (76% vs. 55% of those that haven’t embraced digital). These companies have employees who are more satisfied (87% vs. 63%) and more likely to stay in their jobs (75% vs. 54%). These companies have more mature strategies and programs for hiring skilled talent (85% vs. 64%), building diversity (56%, vs. 48%), and succession planning (72% vs. 50%).
“Companies that get digital leadership right perform better in the marketplace and have more satisfied and engaged employees.”
Falvey asked the audience how many of their companies had Millennials on their senior leadership team. Only a few hands were raised. “That’s a little scary, considering how quickly the workforce is shifting to a Millennial-based majority of your workforce, because it also reflects your markets. It’s important to invite these other perspectives in.”
“So, how does your company become a digital winner?” asked Falvey. He summarized the answer in five main points:
1. Execute a company-wide digital vision. "The best leaders not only have a strategy for going digital, they're sharing it with employees across the organization. Does every employee know where the company is headed and how it’s using technology to get there? Wherever you can, get the data out to your people,” said Falvey. “Make them more nimble and give them the ammunition to do more at the time it’s needed to diminish the red tape and unnecessary processes.”
“Wherever you can, get the data out to your people. Make them more nimble and give them the ammunition to do more at the time it’s needed to diminish the red tape and unnecessary processes.”
2. Continuously update executive and employee skill sets. Everyone, from the ground floor to the executive suite, needs digital skills and the ability to learn new ones quickly.
3. Flatten the organization. “From a decision-making standpoint, things are way too complex,” noted Falvey. “Leadership needs to streamline this process by putting data in the hands of managers and workers across the enterprise to make decisions quickly, without bureaucratic bottlenecks.”
4. Emphasize diversity. Companies that cultivate a diverse workforce and take a broad range of employee perspectives into account are better poised to succeed in a global economy—and to keep employees happy and engaged. “The benefit of diversity isn’t just the organizational culture. It also translates into business results by expanding the perspective of the leadership team and the work environment, as well as how customers are viewed,” said Falvey.
5. Listen to young executives. The growing cohort of Millennial executives has a strong vision for leadership in the digital economy. Taking their advice may be a shortcut to digital transformation.
ABOUT DAN FALVEY:
Dan Falvey is a Global Executive Advisor on HR Strategy and Transformation. He brings more than 15 years of experience in Human Capital Management from both a technology and content standpoint. Specifically, Dan has extensive experience in the areas of HR Technology, Workforce Management and Productivity, Employee Benefits, and HR Outsourcing.
Dan has worked with large employers to align their workforces with their corporate strategic objectives, specifically as it relates to creating high-performance cultures and workforce engagement. These industry sectors of experience include Professional Services, Manufacturing, Retail and Financial Services, and Regulated Industries.
Dan has BA in Economics from Fairfield University and an MBA from Loyola University of Maryland. He has been a speaker at industry events and is active in various HR Leadership associations.