The right leadership, of course, plays an important role in all this change. And here may be one of the biggest changes companies face. “The traits that make for great digital leaders don’t look good on a resume,” Swift says.
She says, for instance, digital leaders have a “pioneer mentality,” meaning they show higher levels of curiosity, adaptability, and risk-taking than others in assessment tests. On a resume, those traits could look like job-hopping, positions lacking a linear narrative, and fewer “brand name” employers. In the past, 10 years of experience in the same role at one company may have signaled stability; now it could mean a lack of learning agility.
What’s more, contrary to the Silicon Valley archetype of what a digital leader looks like—i.e., a white male millennial with a “move fast and break things” mentality—Korn Ferry research shows such leaders are far more inclusive and rate higher on emotional intelligence than the norm.
Still, it isn’t easy for recruiters to decipher what traits are embedded in a one-page resume. Many organizations, therefore, are turning to artificial intelligence for help. Data and analytics company S&P Global, for instance, is using artificial intelligence to look for patterns in certain areas where it has both high attrition and engagement. S&P Global employs roughly 20,000 employees in Australia, China, India, the United States, and 27 other countries. “We’re using AI to recognize patterns within data sets to highlight trends and tie them together in a way that tells a story,” says Dimitra Manis, S&P Global’s executive vice president and chief people officer.
To be sure, a large part of S&P Global’s vision for “Powering the Markets of the Future” involves funding and training for new digital technology. The company plans to double the amount of technology investment devoted to what it calls “EssentialTECH.” S&P Global recruited Manis in part because of her extensive background in assessing the talent and culture of potential acquisition targets while at Thomson Reuters, AXA, and other companies.
Manis says a recent $550 million acquisition of the data analytics and machine intelligence company Kensho will help accelerate innovation and serve as a key pillar of S&P Global’s EssentialTECH training program, which aims to align the company’s entire workforce around data science, cloud computing, and other digital skills to meet the rapidly evolving needs of its customers. The scale of the effort alone, needed in this age of fast digital change, is impressive. Within EssentialTECH’s first nine months, more than 75% of the company’s global employee population have been trained in automation, AI, and other technology courses, and the program is on track to engage all 20,000 employees by year-end.
“Everyone needs to understand and use the same language around technology,” says Manis. “At S&P Global, we are putting people first by investing and building in these new capability areas.”