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What do today’s corporate managers want? A digitally mature company, it would seem

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Elizabeth Crego/
Looking to up your company’s retention rates? In this digital age, you’d better be ready to keep up with the digital pace. According to a new study released Tuesday by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte Digital, a “significant number of employees and executives … are prepared to leave companies that are falling behind in their digital transformations.” Apparently, keeping employees happy in the 21st century is about more than ping pong tables and dog-friendly offices — it’s about developing digital acumen.

As per the results of the fifth annual Digital Business Study, entitled “Aligning the Organization for Its Digital Future,” around a third of those in corporate leadership positions (think VPs and director-level leaders) say that they’re likely to leave their company in less than a year if they do not have adequate access to resources and opportunities to develop and thrive in a digital environment.

“Evolving to compete in an increasingly digital world, as well as retaining top talent, is about more than implementing additional and better technologies,” said Deloitte Digital’s Doug Palmer, co-author of the report and principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP. Moreover, Palmer noted, “digitally maturing companies,” defined as “companies in which digital technology has transformed processes, talent engagement, and business models,” all shared a number of key characteristics, including “an expanded appetite for risk, rapid experimentation, heavy investment in talent and recruiting, and the development of leaders who excel at soft skills.”

The difference between digitally maturing companies and digitally early-stage companies appears to be a stark one — whereas 75 percent maturing organizations were found to provide their employees with resources and opportunities to develop their digital acumen, only 14 percent of early stage companies could say the same.

Furthermore, while 71 percent of digitally maturing companies surveyed said they could attract new talent based on their implementation of digital technologies, only 10 percent of their early-stage peers said the same.

“Many companies are responding to an increasingly digital market environment by adding roles with a digital focus, or changing traditional roles so that they have a digital orientation. The list of ‘digital’ business roles and functions is extensive and growing,” said David Kiron, executive editor at MIT Sloan Management Review. “What stands out, and what our research shows, is that nearly 90 percent of digitally maturing organizations are integrating their digital strategies with their companies’ overall strategies.”

So if you’re hoping to help your company stand out, standing up for a digitally daring strategy just may be the way to go.

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