2020 Vision expert insight

Tech and talent: is your business connected?


From accessible technology to the shifting priorities of a 2020 workforce, there are game-changing forces in play as we move towards 2020, says LinkedIn’s Josh Graff – and businesses have to be prepared to embrace the change.

Josh Graff is UK Country Manager & Head of EMEA Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn, and is responsible for driving member growth and engagement, as well as helping marketers to identify, target and engage with influential professionals worldwide.

Josh Graff

 2020 Vision Graff At a Glance

The path to 2020 will be shaped by connectivity. The increased accessibility of online tools is going to be game-changing for small and midsize businesses. These tools are increasing in prominence and decreasing in price, and will connect businesses to better opportunities, whether it's finding top talent, marketing their brand or selling their products. Businesses should embrace the change – those who do will see profitability across the spectrum.

The other key technological change will be the continuing rise of networks in this connected society. It supports a sharing economy, where capital flows more freely across communities, borders, and continents.

Data-driven decision

Smart use of predictive analytics will become the norm and companies of all sizes will start to take more data-driven decisions. We'll have the ability to extract meaningful and relevant insights from larger maps of data and be able to make real-time business decisions based on what consumers want in the moment and how they're engaging with products and services. Data will also help companies better understand the skills needed to power their business and hire accordingly. That will drive efficiency and is permeating companies beyond the tech sphere.

Integrating data-driven insight into business decision-making is the most material opportunity for businesses over the next five years.

Building a 2020 workforce

So what do businesses need to focus on to make the most of these opportunities? Simple: team and talent. And you can't be complacent.

Companies must quickly address the aspirations of today's workforce, which can look incredibly different to those of even 10 years ago. The 2020 workforce wants the option to work remotely, in virtual teams, from their own devices, within hours that are convenient for them. They are, in many respects, purpose driven, and may have multiple roles versus being loyal solely to one company. Crucially, they want their needs to be considered as of equal importance to the needs of the employer before they will commit.

The level of transparency required from both sides will drive greater efficiency and lead to more productive relationships on both sides. It is very different to what people experience today, so businesses need to focus on leading and managing their workforce through that change to ensure they are ahead of the game and able to recruit the workforce they need.

On LinkedIn, we're already seeing a change from active recruitment, where candidates apply for a role, to a more passive model where businesses can survey more than 400 million professionals and students around the globe, seek out the best fit and make an approach. If your organisation isn't open to casting a global net, you risk losing out in the talent stakes.

Finding your 'true north'

“Integrating data-driven insight into business decision-making is the most material opportunity for businesses over the next five years.”

What has to remain the 'true north' of any business, is its culture and the values that are the foundation of its vision. For us at LinkedIn that vision is creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce, and the culture and values support that vision. You have to be clear about these objectives because that's what you are striving for every day, it's what you should measure success against, and ultimately it's what's going to drive your business forward in the long-term.

Business hacks:

  • Consider the role online tools and networks can play in helping you hire top talent, market your products and services and sell to the right contacts. There could be an opportunity for efficiency gains across your business.
  • Consider the role of data-driven insight in your business. What can you capture, and how could it be better applied? Do you have the right team and talent to deliver change if required?
  • Embrace diversity. Are you building a team that reflects the diversity of the markets it serves, and are you encouraging the free sharing of ideas to make the most of that asset?
  • Apply the insight diversity affords. For example, if you have an international presence, draw on the knowledge of those with an understanding of local customs and etiquette to help shape marketing strategies in that region. If you don’t have local knowledge in-house it could be time to review your talent pipeline.

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