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How Australian Companies can set themselves up for Digital Success Australian businesses need to invest in people, not perks, as retaining high performers is critical to digital success and will pay off in spades

By Richenda Vermuelen

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The digital industry is growing at lightning speed, but it is no secret that Australia is on the backfoot when it comes to digital talent. A reported 200,000 tech workers are needed within the next four years, if we plan to be a world leading digital economy.

Not only do we need more digital talent, but companies of all sectors and sizes must continually be learning and re-learning digital transformation best practice, from attracting, growing and retaining talent, to establishing a robust digital strategy that is communicated and understood at every level of the business.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to setting your company up for digital success, there are commonalities among the businesses doing it effectively, as well as invaluable incentive to move digital strategy to the top of your priority pile; with recent research from ntegrity revealing there is a clear correlation between digital success and year-on-year revenue growth.

As Australian businesses set out on their unique quest for digital transformation, or continue along their current digital transformation journey, here are two key areas to think about:

1 Centralise Strategy and Communicate Insights

It cannot be emphasised enough that digital strategy should be at the centre of everything you do as a company.

ntegrity's 2018 research revealed that higher-performing companies are more likely to have a documented vision and strategy in place, while this year's report findings indicate that healthy communication and ongoing, real-time feedback between senior and junior staff strongly correlates with digital success. Without strategy effectively moving down through the company and insights moving back up, a business is not running at its full capability and important learnings will fall to the wayside.

An important thing to remember when assessing investment into new digital platforms and technologies, is to continually come back to your well-defined, long-term strategy and evaluate if your next move is nicely aligned or pulling you in the wrong direction.

Ensure there are clear processes to support communication, and that all employees feel empowered to use them. Host a regular meeting that invites all seniority levels together to brainstorm ideas, and ask junior staff to lead sessions to facilitate feedback loops through open forums and discussion.

This keeps strategy effective, relevant and front-of-mind.

#2 Retain Talent through Training & Development

ntegrity's latest data shows that the single biggest issue facing Australian companies is attracting digital talent from the onset - in other words, once you find them, you have to hold onto them. The highest-performing companies do not just rely on perks, flexibility and a positive culture to keep talent around, but they invest in training.

This does not mean having staff complete superficial online training courses, but encouraging them to attend key conferences, facilitating customised team training and importantly, providing quality, one-to-one development opportunities.

Effective one-to-one coaching can set you apart more than any other kind of development and this can be delivered by a line manager or a subject matter expert, in-house or external. Megan Wayman, marketing manager of one of Australia-based not-for-profit organisations, Compassion Australia, says: "Individual coaching provides the accountability I need to constantly adapt to the changing landscape, and take risks and make decisions I normally would not consider. For someone to support me in all areas - technical skills, leadership and personal growth - means I am constantly seeing improvement. It keeps me engaged, accountable and prevents me from looking elsewhere for career opportunities."

If training is not genuinely encouraged and supported, your team will feel overwhelmed as they try to keep up with the pace of change in the digital sector, and this can often lead to digital talent moving into non-digital positions at other companies. Put simply, when you invest in training for your digital employees, you extend their career aspirations at your company.

In short, Australian businesses need to invest in people, not perks, as retaining high performers is critical to digital success and will pay off in spades. Industry is moving faster than formal training, so the smartest way to retain digital talent is to nurture your own.

Richenda Vermuelen

Founder & CEO, ntegrity

Richenda Vermeulen is the founder & CEO of ntegrity, a digital strategy agency in Melbourne, Australia. Prior to launching ntegrity in 2013, she was a social worker-turned social media manager at the world’s largest humanitarian organisation, World Vision. Richenda is listed by Probono Australia as one of the 25 most influential people in the not-for-profit sector, and was awarded a ‘Industry Leader of the Year’ at Mumbrella’s 2017 Awards. When she’s not disrupting the business landscape, she’s most likely spending quality time with her husband Kyle, and daughter.


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