Development & Retention

Empower Digital Readiness at Your Organization

The use of automation, data-driven technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital tools in the workplace continues to rise.

Digital readiness is essential to building a workforce that can navigate the digital world. Yet, Aon’s research shows that more than half (61%) of companies can’t spot an employee’s digital potential. And only 35% of companies have processes in place for quickly assessing and making decisions regarding digital potential.

Aon’s Digital Readiness Model provides a blueprint for workforce transformation in a digital environment. The model has been developed over years of research on how people successfully work within digital environments. Companies using Aon’s Digital Readiness Model gain a better understanding of the future-ready skills already present in the workforce. This sets a baseline for identifying the skills they need to focus on cultivating.

Here’s how to implement Aon’s Digital Readiness Model at your organization.

Define Future-Ready Skills

Before you can foster digitally ready skills at your company, you need to define what those skills and competencies are. Unfortunately, Aon’s research found that 59% of HR leaders say their organizations haven’t yet defined the skills needed for digital transformation.

Applying Aon’s Digital Readiness Model can help you define the skills your workforce needs to support digital transformation. The model identifies three core and eight supplemental competencies that support high performance in a digital workplace. The core digital competencies are learnability, agility and curiosity. Employees who are willing to learn and quick to adapt to change are most likely to thrive in a digital environment.
The digital competencies affect your company’s overall ability to adapt to change. Without them, your company will struggle to embrace digital transformation — putting you at risk of falling behind your competition. Employees who score low on curiosity, for example, are more likely to resist change. They’re less likely to adapt well to new digital technology or invest time in learning how to optimize its use.
The Digital Readiness Model highlights behaviors that support assurance and enthusiasm in a digital environment. Some of the model’s supplemental competencies include a drive to succeed, comfort handling data and the ability to collaborate virtually. Your workforce doesn’t need to rely on complex technical skills to thrive in a digital work environment. But all employees should display a level of preparedness when working with new tools and technologies.

Assess Your Current Workforce

First, define the skills and competencies that drive digital readiness within your own organization. Then determine the extent to which those skills exist in your current workforce. Use assessments to help you set a baseline for your workforce’s future-ready skills. Assessments also provide insights into each of your employees’ unique strengths and can identify employee interests.

An assessment of personality and ability measures the level of digital competence among individuals, teams or the entire employee population. Combining a personality questionnaire with a cognitive ability test offers a comprehensive overview of a person's level of digital readiness.

We’ve updated our ADEPT-15® personality questionnaire to do just that. The assessment combines personality assessments and aptitude tests to determine a test-taker’s behavioral profile and natural aptitudes. The result is a digital readiness profile highlighting how the employee’s individual competencies compare against the model's.

Identify and Fill Existing Skills Gaps

Assessing your workforce for digital readiness enables you to identify talent gaps in future-ready competencies.

There are two primary ways to fill workforce competency gaps. One is to seek those skills externally and hire for them. But hiring externally isn’t the only solution, nor is it necessarily the easiest in a tight labor market.

The other way to fill skills gaps is to reskill your current workforce through a robust reskilling program. Reskilling also engages your existing workforce, supporting higher employee interest in the work and better retention.

Design Job Architecture for Mobility

Building a change-resilient, digitally ready workforce relies on easy movement within the company. Employees should be able to see clear options for internal mobility, and not just by moving up. Develop channels for lateral mobility, too, so that employees feel empowered to move across the company. Employees should be able to move into new roles or departments that are a better fit for their interests and competencies.

To enable talent mobility, you need to develop a comprehensive job architecture that clearly lays out options for career progression.

These options should extend beyond the traditional management tracks that have historically passed for job mobility. Not every employee is a good fit for leadership roles. Include tracks for mobility based on optimizing an employee’s subject-matter expertise and competencies.
Review the jobs currently available at your company. Match specific competencies from Aon’s Digital Readiness Model to each role. When employees take the assessment to determine their specific digital competencies, you can provide potential career tracks to accompany their results, along with their level of readiness.

Internal mobility increases workforce agility, strengthening your company’s overall digital readiness. The capability also engages employees by providing developmental opportunities for your top talent. High-potential employees require more challenging work to remain engaged. A job architecture designed for internal mobility can help them move and grow within the company.

Foster Leadership’s Digital Readiness

You can’t develop an agile, digitally ready workforce without the right leadership in place. In our Digital Readiness Model, we define drive to lead, championing collaboration, humility and empowerment as digital leadership competencies. These skills are particularly important in cross-functional teams.

To support job mobility, managers must be willing to help employees identify their best-fitting role within the company. But historically, managers have practiced talent hoarding by keeping high-potential employees, even if they’re a better fit elsewhere.
Leaders displaying digital leadership competencies are much more likely to see beyond their individual teams. They have a better sense of how to support the organization as a whole. Because they’re able to see the big picture, digitally ready leaders are more likely to recommend transfers of their employees. Leaders can help employees identify roles where they’ll be more engaged. Reward company leaders for helping top digital talent find their best-fitting role within the company.

Upskill and develop digital skills and competencies among your leaders. Implement programs for mentoring and developing company leaders.

Leaders need to be aware of their shortcomings and their strengths. A sense of humility will help leaders conduct an honest self-assessment of their skills. They can identify gaps in their own digital readiness skills.

Fostering a sense of empowerment among leaders is important, too. Help them understand how they drive their teams forward by removing roadblocks and supporting mobility.

Empower Employees To Take Ownership of Their Careers

The steps you take to foster digital readiness also enable employees to drive their own career journeys. A comprehensive reskilling program for understanding the digital competencies prepares your employees for new challenges. Improved internal mobility gives them opportunities to master new tasks.

Channels for career ownership are essential for driving a digitally ready workforce.

The digital competencies are by their nature dynamic. If you foster these traits in employees without providing options for growth, employees will feel like they’re being held back. They’ll move on to new opportunities outside your company.
To retain digitally ready employees, they must be able to drive their own opportunities for professional growth.

Assessments like the ADEPT-15® are helpful in supporting workforce career ownership. They help your employees get to know their own strengths, skills and abilities. Assessments help employees understand both their greatest strengths and where they have room for growth. This empowers employees to make informed decisions about directing their own skills development and internal mobility.

Focus on cultivating digital readiness and empowering employees to find their place within the company. Preparing for digital readiness enables your workforce to thrive in the face of overwhelming change.

Aon | Assessment Solutions

Aon's assessment solutions provides clients with powerful tools and insights to help them make better talent decisions at every stage of the employee lifecycle. This includes pre-hire assessments, identifying future leaders, screening for digital skills and agility, and AI-enabled solutions.

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