Words often take on more than their original meaning, and 'digital' in business now stands for something much more than technology.

Yes, that is a bit bizarre and it annoys many who already had beef with business-speak anyway.

But it's true (and is already the butt of satire), and HR needs to grab this lexical bar of soap if it is to attract and retain the best staff.

Watch our new video on Top Tips for Digital Transformation.

A definition from the Co-Op

Below is Mike Bracken's definition of 'digital' at the Co-Op.

Note that technology is only one of the features of the internet era that defines 'digital'.

co-op definition

Skills and culture are two sides of the same coin

There was a report out recently from Grovo called Why Millenials Leave Companies.

Whether you like the term or not, as the first internet-native generation, millenials provide a good yardstick for whether a company is 'digital'.

If a company can attract and retain talented millenials, chances are it has 'applied the culture, practices, processes and technologies of the internet era'. 

The report identified the following factors as important to millenials.

  • Development - training and career advancement.
  • Meaning - doing work that matters.
  • Autonomy - working on their own terms.
  • Efficiency - finding better, faster and easier ways to work.
  • Transparency - being kept in-the-know on the job.

These values are ones that can be applied to culture, process and technology across a business.

Culture and skills are increasingly two sides of the same coin. If the culture isn't right, skilled employees are the first to get snapped up.

Complaining about your job is no longer a rite of passage.

Consumers get it

Once the consumer has experienced great product and service from one brand, they naturally expect it from another.

'Digital' to them means speed, transparency and, crucially, control.

Sectors that continue to struggle are those in which customers feel unheeded - whether it be a utilities company unable to provide information on billing or a publisher intent on demeaning UX with crappy display ads.

'Think like the customer' is still the best advice there is - if that's not realistic within your organisation, then there's still work to be done.

For more on 'how to be digital'....

Ben Davis

Published 24 June, 2016 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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