Investing in people is the key to successful transformation

People may be your most important catalyst for digital transformation বা or the biggest obstacle. When people-related challenges to transition progress, problems are very easy to identify but very difficult to solve.

The challenge is not awareness. Companies realize that cloud conversions are difficult and they need highly skilled, motivated staff to run projects. But they still struggle to create processes that create those employees and, as a result, hit other project-centric goals.

“Often by celebrating achievement and innovation, you reinforce role-model behavior and develop grassroots momentum for change initiatives.”

Where things stand

Based on our engagement with customers, we have evaluated the capability of enterprise progress across eight domains by creating a cloud adoption framework from HPE Edge.

With an average maturity of 1.7 on a scale of 1 to 5, where a score of 3 indicates a cloud-ready entity (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Organizational maturity in the eight domains of adopting the cloud operations model

It goes without saying that they are bad employers. They may value employees themselves and aspire to increase their overall talent level but still fall short in the overall distribution of talent-related initiatives. They can create talent development plans but fail to align them with cloud-centric initiatives. And they may promise to do better to build a talent base but fail to practice organizational muscle to make it happen.

The struggles of cloud-centric organizations in public can be tracked for these four reasons (see Figure 2):

  • Attract and retain talent
  • Talent ability
  • Communication
  • Strategy and planning
Figure 2: Organizational maturity in the human domain

While most companies try to address at least one of these factors, many do not have the necessary intentional plans to run complex cloud conversions.

A systematic approach to identifying well-defined initiatives that can be implemented in measurable growth can go a long way towards addressing people-related barriers to transformation progress.

Attraction and retention: Competing for special skills

Start with attracting and retaining talent. In today’s competitive IT environment, it is important for companies to attract the specialized skills they need. Each company is competing for the same hybrid, public cloud and edge talent. But companies are fighting with traditional onboarding tactics. Job search and job search often do not reach people with the right skills. Compensation packages are getting expensive. Geographical requirements are often very strict.

Across the population of the organizations we are involved with, those who are lagging behind in cloud maturity are not effective in acquiring the talent needed to do the job and they are not expanding the internal plans to retain their talent.

On the contrary, the leaders of the People’s Front are building systems to find this talent and sustain it. They already have a solid foundation for performance and talent management and are adapting to meet the needs of new fields such as hybrid cloud security, hybrid networking and the Internet of Things. Culture, salary competition and non-financial incentives play a big role in how effective an organization is in identifying and recruiting talent.

Leading organizations are defining new job functions and new practice areas, where exciting growth opportunities can be used to compete for attention. They are attracting talent outside of the traditional full-time equivalent role by building strategic relationships for contractors, partners and other non-FTE workers.

An insurance company we’ve worked with has developed a program to gain a broader insight into skills and competencies across the enterprise, allowing it to create a risk and legacy plan and externally target selected areas for public cloud expertise.

Talent Ability: Modernize training to accelerate upskilling

Once the workforce is created, companies need to plan for enhancing skills in key areas across IT – from security to infrastructure to application development. Legacy shops usually rely on passive learning techniques such as courses, webinars and pre-recorded training. But they often have incomplete course catalogs because hybrid cloud and edge skills are evolving rapidly. This means they do not have offers available to train people.

Leading organizations in our customer population create better outcomes by creating learning journeys focused on more measurable, active learning systems. Coaching and mentoring is a long-term practice that builds confidence in companies that bring new sets, platforms and responsibilities. They are installing a rotation of work between roles and contexts.

They also operate so-called two-in-a-box strategies where experts are brought in from outside partners to work alongside staff. These extra hands provide services and also train employees to manage tasks related to a new cloud venture – essentially helping employees learn to fish as well as their own. One of the top five U.S. banks we’ve worked with employs this approach, emphasizing active learning strategies and the modern student experience.

Communication: Leading and communicating through change

We find significant differences in the ability to communicate across our customer population, which affects conversion effectiveness.

Transformation affects employees in a variety of ways. Companies demonstrating maturity in this capability are using new platforms, working on new schedules, working on new schedules, and often reporting within newly configured team structures.

Where we see communication problems, companies are often doing a bad job of explaining new landscapes and helping employees adjust to new expectations. A meaningful understanding of leadership commitment and change to build awareness will help prepare and enable employees for the next steps of the transition journey.

Organizations with effective communication strategies understand that communication is important not only as a process to update about changes but also to celebrate individual and team achievements. This can be done through internal channels such as collaborative communication platforms, newsletters and internal recognition. It also helps to use external channels like social media and LinkedIn to promote success.

Often by celebrating achievement and innovation, you reinforce role-model behavior and develop grassroots momentum for change initiatives.

Strategies and planning: Manage risk and build flexibility through inheritance planning

While all work agencies have done to retain employees, including the key role for transformation success, employees still leave. They can make personal choices that have nothing to do with their company’s commitment. So, what if a key director or a group of critically important programmers chooses to take on another job? Is the transformation of the company damaged?

Within our customer population, leaders and individuals with disadvantages differ significantly in how they manage inheritance plans. Backward people do not understand the risks associated with their human capital and they often do not create legacy plans to exit important IT roles. And without this plan, business and IT activities could be disrupted.

The first step in dealing with this situation is to realize the skills and qualifications you have throughout your organization. Prepare a risk assessment that evaluates the impact on performance and business continuity if someone important leaves. From risk assessment, you can create a legacy plan and install cross-training plans to back up skill levels in key areas within the organization.

Leaders often go one step further. There is an in-depth awareness of where these important roles of advanced organizations with highly effective talent planning lie in new practices. They set up arrangements to identify and reward top performers in these important areas.

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