Has Digitalization Made Talent Hunting Difficult?

We always come across that in the media as news, interviews, or social media posts. We read research results on the subject and, articles written by experts are published. Companies have struggled to find talented people in recent years and therefore see their development and sustainability at stake.

Honestly, it doesn’t sound convincing to me at all!

Talent hunting has become one of the most important problems of the digital age. An atmosphere is created as if digitalization and, if we evaluate it more broadly, the levels reached by digital transformation have been achieved by the ‘pool of talents’. Has there ever been another period of initiatives in world history that have grown so widespread, exponentially, and have a global impact?

There has never been another period that offered such opportunities and potential to talents. Some management consulting companies (the first to raise the issue of talent shortage is obvious), probably due to the difficulty of finding a new product to offer, so to speak, opened a pandora’s box with the ingenious invention of talented business development team members. As a result, a multi-billion dollar market has emerged. Everyone is on the hunt for talent!

When we review the employment studies of large institutions in the years when information technologies were used much less (for example, in the 1980s and a little more in the 1990s), we see that they conveniently attracted talented and potential candidates.

I claim that in the 90s when I started my working life, the employees were better trained. They also provided a higher level of service compared to today. Today, I feel sorry for the employees who receive forced training. (I am expressing my observations since I have had training experiences in the different mediums recently.) With the digital age, the preferences of senior management have changed; some western companies first creating products and then marketing them as a mandatory menu.

To give an example from the banking sector, which is my profession, the inspection boards and MT (management trainee) programs, which have pool functions for middle and senior managers, have been emptied and turned into a showpiece. However, how well the banks were raising executive candidates from these two sources.

When I observe some banks now, they have been transformed into a group of employees with ultralow technical / service quality. The wages have reached such a low level that the young person who has graduated from a university may be undecided whether to go to the bank and work at a GSM dealership. It’s hard to believe, but there can be transitions between the two sectors. We cannot explain this only with unemployment. When we ask top managers, the responses are ready: digital competition is very tough, costly, and destructive, so we need to keep the salary budget of our employees low.

Still, some visionary top managers have caught the crux of the business in the sector and are aware of what will happen. For this reason, they act with the awareness that human value is fundamental and that information technologies are a support force for businesses and employees.

A corporate culture that has no genuine respect for human value does not internalize the humane approach, and cannot develop the harmony and solidarity of people with information technologies in digital transformation processes may initially ‘hunt’ some talents. But then become helpless when these talents are ‘hunted’ by other companies.

The fact that companies reach a value of 2 trillion USD and allocate tens of millions of dollars a year to Human Resources units does not change the perspective of senior management. How about the Google company news in the media last week: the decision to reduce employees’ salaries who want to continue working remotely by 25%… Or what about Apple, which raided an employee’s home with its security team and copied the information on his computer and cell phone as evidence?

Without putting sincerity and trust based on the vision, mission, and values, it seems that these things will continue in the form of deceiving each other.

In today’s digital competition, companies can hardly survive without an advanced information technology infrastructure in line with the business resources, but those who do not rely on harmonious human values seem to have no chance in this regard.

Companies that succeed in digitalization cannot achieve digital transformation to a large extent. The reason is what we have emphasized above about human value!

Bulent Hasanefendioglu

Head of Consultancy, TDG Global

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