by Jeff Kavanaugh Ravi Kumar S. HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW

November 27, 2019


Companies in every industry are digitalizing their operations, and many are struggling to find the talent they need to do it. But not all. In a global survey of 1,000 business leaders, we set out to discover what companies that are good at staffing their digitalization projects do differently. We found that the fundamental distinction between companies that are good at filling their digital talent needs and those that struggle is this not that they pay more for recruits, nor spend more to train them. It’s that they go beyond the conventional practices of recruiting from the best schools and poaching from competitors, and instead hire people who can develop the skills they need and then incentivize them to do so.


In our survey, we learned how companies that had robust talent pipelines built them. We saw that they do a combination of four things.


1. They look for potential, not credentials. Given that the life cycle of any given technology skill (such as fluency in a popular programming language) is only about two years, the clock on technical expertise quickly runs out. A stronger candidate, therefore, may be someone curious, adaptable, and quick to learn.

The leaders in our survey (those best at staffing their digital initiatives) cast a wider net than other companies. They are more likely to hire people with associate degrees (81% vs. 39%), vocational or trade school graduates (73% vs. 39%), those returning to the workforce after military service (76% vs. 29%), or those who have taken time out for parenting (71% vs. 24%). A candidate who worked as a teenager, or joined the military to pay for college, may be more motivated, resilient, agile, and a better team player than someone from a more privileged situation.

Unilever, for example, by using online games and video interviews to screen candidates, is drawing from a much wider pool than the small number of campuses from which it formerly recruited. AI algorithms do most of the candidate filtering, reducing hiring times and costs. The company has so far processed 280,000 applications this way, and in doing so has doubled the likelihood that candidates reaching final interview will receive and accept an offer. In the process, Unilever has significantly increased employee diversity in gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.


2. They value soft skills as much as technical ones. IT development used to be about writing a spec and coding it, but today it’s more about finding problems and creating solutions. For instance, with digitalization initiatives focused on improving how customers and employees interact with the company, so-called soft skills have become more important than technical ones.

The skills in highest demand among our survey respondents are teamwork (74% of respondents), leadership (70%), and communication (67%), all soft skills, followed by user experience and analytics, which are technical ones. Michel Langlois leads software development for Calix, a global provider of software platforms, systems and services. “One of our biggest challenges is finding people who can carry digitalization forward for us,” he says. “How adaptable they are might be more important than how many coding languages they know. We need people who can collaborate, admit to mistakes, and rebound quickly. We used to look solely at a candidate’s programming skills and technical competency. Now we also measure a person’s motivation, and skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. If they score poorly on these, we pass on them.”


3. They think about teams, not individuals. Companies will always need PhDs and MBAs to groom as future leaders. But the leaders in our survey are much more likely than poor performers to hire graduates with non-STEM degrees (76% to 39%), non-college graduates with high aptitude scores (71% to 38%), and vocational or trade school graduates who can be valuable contributors to teams.

Leaders in agile organizations and teams are not always those with the most impressive titles or broad managerial responsibilities. A programmer hired from a two-year college may never become a corporate officer, but she may be a valuable player on a team. Andrea Guendelman runs Wallbreakers, a firm that prepares computer science graduates who have been unable to land a job to interview with major firms. “Companies need a mix of skills to execute their digital initiatives,” says Guendelman. “Ideally, they’d find them all in one person, but they can’t, so they must assemble teams. When we evaluate candidates, their ability to play on a team is one of the most important things we look for.” High-potential candidates go through Wallbreakers’ six-week training on data structures, algorithms, soft skills, and team skills, and half the class goes on to land the job they wanted, according to Guendelman.


4. They incentivize employees to grow. Our leading companies are much more inclined than the laggards to reward higher skill levels with better compensation (67% to 41%), benefits (64% to 23%) and responsibility (78% to 58%). But, to our surprise, they do not offer significantly more training opportunities; they are only slightly more likely to offer traditional classroom training (48% to 47%) and leading-edge tools such as just-in-time online courses (53% to 49%). The reason became clear when we talked to managers. Employees know that they must upgrade their skills continually, and they have a multitude of ways to do that, of which the most accessible are online. If someone would like to be certified in machine learning, Python, or R (all technical skills in high demand), there are free or affordable courses online that they can take during work hours or their personal time. Once a company has hired a person with potential, it must give them opportunities and incentives, but it does not need to spoon-feed them further education.


Jeff Kavanaugh is an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Business of the University of Texas at Dallas, and serves on the board of the Institute of Business Analytics at Indiana University. He heads the Infosys Knowledge Institute, the research and thought leadership arm of Infosys, a global technology services company.

Ravi Kumar S. is President and Deputy Chief Operating Officer of Infosys. Ravi heads the company’s 180,000 employee delivery organization. He also leads talent acquisition and development for Infosys, creating innovation and technology hubs in collaboration with clients, local state governments and academia.




TOTAL REWARDS

CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITION



Keynote Speakers


ERIC HUTCHERSON

EVP & CHRO, NBA Morning Keynote June 9


BROOKE SHIELDS

Actress, Model, Author & Advocate Closing Keynote June 10


This is THE premier event for professionals engaged in the critically important practice of Total Rewards. It provides pioneering, forward-thinking concepts and perspectives related to the Total Rewards field. Everything you need to bring great work to life is right here with:


Are you ready to bring great work to life?

Total Rewards professionals have the unique ability to impact the work of their organizations and bring it to life with strategies that effectively motivate and reward employees. These strategies have a deep and personal impact on employees, and their families, as they help them thrive and improve their lives. Which, in turn, drives the organization to achieve its desired outcomes. Total Rewards pros truly bring great work to life!

What's New in 2020?

More deep, varied and interactive programming devoted to:

Total Rewards leadership developmentSkill buildingCompensation and benefitsGlobal delivery of programsAI/technology challenges and opportunitiesDiversity and inclusion within a Total Rewards frameworkSolutions to integrate Total Rewards throughout your organization, from the C-suite to legal to talent development to HR business partners and beyond.

Plus, more time to meet with solution providers in the exhibit hall and more in-the-moment networking opportunities.

Who attends?

The conference is ideal for professionals who have responsibility for any aspect of Total Rewards, including compensation, benefits, sales compensation and executive compensation, as well as HR multi-hatters.

Programming is geared toward those at all experience levels, from emerging practitioner to expert thought leader, and anyone who has a goal to enrich their cross-functional expertise and overall Total Rewards competence.

RegisterSchedule at a GlanceHotel Info

Conference Location

June 7-10, 2020

Minneapolis Convention Center

1301 Second Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Minneapolis is the biggest underestimated place in the north. A dramatic riverfront skyline, three professional sports stadiums within 1.3 miles, so much art you’re literally surrounded by it and a theater on almost every corner. A culture committed to perfecting the craft of the brew, the best park system in the nation, and a foodie paradise where you can get Nordic cuisine for breakfast, Ethiopian for lunch and this thing called a “Juicy Lucy” for dinner. Visit Meet Minneapolis, the city's official convention and visitor's association to learn more about what's happening in this twin city.

Hotel Information

Our co-headquarter hotels* for the 2020 conference are the Hilton Minneapolis and the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis. We also have rooms reserved at the Millennium Hotel Minneapolis. Each hotel is within walking distance of the Convention Center. To obtain the group rate, you will need to make your reservation online no later than May 12, 2020, or before the block sells out, whichever occurs first.




*Experient is the Official Housing Provider for the WorldatWork 2020 Total Rewards Conference & Exhibition. Improper solicitation of hotel reservations from any company other than Experient is not approved. Reservations made by unaffiliated organizations may appear to have lower rates. However, they may be illegitimate, not have the rooms to sell, have unreasonable cancellation or change penalties, and may be completely non-refundable. Please be aware of, and report, any unauthorized solicitation to your organization or Experient.

Registration

"Let’s Go Crazy" Presale Pricing Through Feb. 17

Registration

Member

Non-Member

Present - Feb 17

$1695

$2495

Register

February 17 – June 7

$1895

$2495

Group Rates: Bring your team to the Total Rewards Conference! Group rates available for three or more attendees. Contact teamtraining@worldatwork.org to learn more.

Special New Member Offer

Not a member, but want the member price?

Add membership to your cart with Promo Code: TR20NEW and enjoy a special new member rate of $295* (a $55 savings) as well as the member rate for the Conference.

*Must register for the WorldatWork 2020 Total Rewards Conference & Exhibition to receive this offer. Promo Code: TR20NEW. Not valid with any other offer. Offer expires on June 7, 2020.

Registration Info

Confirmation

You will receive written confirmation from WorldatWork for conference registration within 14 days of receipt. If you do not receive confirmation, please contact Customer Relationship Services at customerrelations@worldatwork.org or at 877-951-9191 (toll free) or +1 480-922-2020.

Payment

Full payment is required in order to receive your credentials/badge. You will receive your conference bag, badge and event tickets on site at the central registration area at the convention center.

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be submitted in writing to customerrelations@worldatwork.org with no exceptions. Cancellation will be subject to a $150 administrative fee up to 30 days prior to the start of the event. There are no refunds within 30 days of the start of an event.

Special Accommodations

If you need accessibility or accommodations that meet the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, please contact WorldatWork Customer Relationship Services at customerrelations@worldatwork.org or at 877-951-9191 (toll free) or +1 480-922-2020.

Schedule

Start Time

End Time

Event

Sunday, June 7

2:00 p.m.

6:00 p.m.

Attendee Registration/Reception

Monday, June 8

7:00 a.m.

6:00 p.m.

Attendee Registration Open

7:30 a.m.

9:00 a.m.

Breakfast in Exhibit Hall

9:30 a.m.

10:45 a.m.

Opening General Session

10:45 a.m.

11:00 a.m.

Break

11:00 a.m.

12:00 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

12:00 p.m.

1:45 p.m.

Lunch in Exhibit Hall and Tech/Demo Sessions

2:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

3:00 p.m.

3:15 p.m.

Break

3:15 p.m.

4:15 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

4:00 p.m.

5:30 p.m.

Exhibit Hall Open w/Reception and Tech/Demo Sessions

Tuesday, June 9

7:00 a.m.

6:00 p.m.

Attendee Registration Open

7:30 a.m.

9:00 a.m.

Breakfast in Exhibit Hall

9:30 a.m.

10:45 a.m.

General Session

10:45 a.m.

11:00 a.m.

Break

11:00 a.m.

12:00 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

12:00 p.m.

1:45 p.m.

Lunch in Exhibit Hall and Tech/Demo Sessions

2:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

3:00 p.m.

3:15 p.m.

Break

3:15 p.m.

4:15 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

4:00 p.m.

5:30 p.m.

Exhibit Hall Open w/Reception and Tech/Demo Sessions

Wednesday, June 10

7:00 a.m.

1:00 p.m.

Attendee Registration Open

7:30 a.m.

9:00 a.m.

Breakfast

9:15 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

WorldAtWork Give Back Event

10:30 a.m.

10:45 a.m.

Break

10:45 a.m.

11:45 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions

11:30 a.m.

12:00 p.m.

Grab N' Go

12:00 p.m.

1:00 p.m.

Closing General Session



https://worldatwork.org/events/2020-total-rewards-conference-and-exhibition/

Have you seen the keynote lineup to the much anticipated 2020 HRD Summit in Birmingham in February? HRD SUMMIT will be bringing together 1500 senior HR Leaders to explore how to harness human creativity and to stay a step ahead of the changes disrupting the way we work. Check out the full programme here> https://www.hrdsummit.com ⌛ Discounted delegate tickets ends 29th November. Secure your place.


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