Psychologist Robin Hogarth framed the term Kind Learning environment. This term simply means that in some tasks, patterns emerge repeatedly, and one can reach enormous consistency even in highly complex tasks. (For example, a surgeon working on a specific surgery repeatedly – even though it is a complex area of expertise, one can excel at it due to repeated learning). A digital environment is a bit different. As an employee, one has to innovate in what Hogarth would call a “Wicked environment.” It simply means that while the task complexity may eventually get lower, the path to reach that state may not be apparent or will require additional new learning. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the “Circuit Breaker” effect. For example, a Robotic Process Automation may perform an automation task with ease, but getting there requires learning a new skill and drawing experiences from multiple new areas.
Digital increasingly is expanding the boundaries of jobs it impacts. Every job role is going through this Circuit Breaker effect (new skills constantly interrupt the old way of thinking and improve performance). Take, for example, the role of a business analyst. In early 2000, it was sufficient if the analysts knew MS office products. Over time, SQL and platforms like Tableau got added to the requirement. But since 2015, something significant has happened. Many solutions like Tableau and even MS Excel migrated to the cloud. So it became vital to learn cloud fundamentals and how to access data and work on cloud infrastructure and instances. While learning this is a bit uncomfortable, it propelled the careers of a business analyst and increased the propensity to transition into roles like Data Engineer and even Data Scientists
This transition is a compelling phenomenon happening right in front of us. The skill you learn helps you do your job well and propels you to the next job. So in some ways, L&D is not an investment. It is a productivity-enhancing mechanism for the short term and talent pipeline for the future.
We have previously discussed the technology and IT functions well, so we are focused on other significant digital transformation areas in this newsletter. Based on our detailed research and interviews, we have identified companies that need to strengthen in these areas. (as discussed, Engineering and product management job families are not the focus of this newsletter)
Each job role has a Circuit Breaker skill or skills associated with them. An M&A strategist should go through agile training to accelerate the process and also have to be on top of Venture Capital funding databases. Digital Specialists is another interesting role where Technology Enthusiasts evaluate multiple processes and suggest solutions around Automation, Workflow optimizations, and various data management efforts.
From a Recruitment perspective, it is essential to target different types of companies for various job roles
- Target big consulting and IT services companies to get Digital Specialists.
- Target Environmental consulting companies for good Sustainability talent. Government agencies also have this talent
- Energy companies have the talent of working in Global geographies, valuable talent for Risk Mitigation and Management
As you can see, looking at non-obvious industry segments can tremendously help Recruiters not focus on the same patterns of data
I have always believed in the power of the tactical insights that a Recruiter brings to the table. Last week I heard a compelling recruiter story. A mid-size enterprise was struggling to hire Digital Inside Sales team members. The Recruiter, who had a good network with Contact center agents who worked part-time, reached out and checked if they would take the job. After some discussions with the hiring manager, they agreed to train the contact center agent for inside sales. There are many stories like this in the history books. In early 2000, several recruiters helped structure a Student Contest at Microsoft. Over the years, Microsoft expanded this idea which went on to become Imagine Cup – which is considered the Olympics for technology student contests. Approximately two Million students are registered in Imagine Cup, and it is an excellent hiring pipeline. The time is here to replicate such mechanisms outside coding jobs.