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Consultancy Blog

Getting (and keeping) digital talent

1st November 2016

There is ever-increasing evidence about the massive challenges which businesses and organisations face in the coming years because they don’t have the digital skills needed to push forward on business plans, strategy and transformation models.

This issue has been recognised in various reports in recent months including the Government’s own report in January and the House of Lords report in June – Digital Skills Crisis which we reported on in our earlier blog.

Now, the big bosses in major companies and industries are joining the call for action. A new urgency around the skills deficit could exist in the post-Brexit UK economy – particularly when we consider how vital digital skills are for businesses seeking to improve their marketing, productivity and international trade.

Just days ago the boss of Barclays UK published this article on the subject of CEOs needing to take this issue upon themselves.

A lot of businesses however really don’t know where to start. Because of this, we’ve put together a short action plan to help with those important first-stages in developing and implementing an effective plan.

  1. Business Strategy: Do you know where you are headed, and is the vision clear and defined in terms which staff and clients understand. Do you have the leaders you need working on the strategy, and do they possess the necessary digital knowledge and interest to determine where digital technologies will provide increased productivity, competitive advantage, customer experience.
  2. Skills Audit: You need a process which can identify the existing skills and capabilities across your team. Look closely at the match of the digital skills with what your business needs in its current and future operations. Invite your team to comment on skills and capabilities which they have but are not currently utilised in their roles. And don’t just include staff – senior executives and board member too.
  3. Compare strategy and skills: Where are the gaps?  What capabilities can you see you will need in the coming years, but clearly are not yet developed in the business. Where are the overlaps and collaborations? Where can you achieve some peer learning and internal development based on the skills across the wider team?
  4. Develop or recruit: The next step is to decide whether your business benefit more from investment in existing staff or recruitment of new talent into the business.  The answer will depend on many factors of course, but try and develop a process which will provide opportunities for clear assessment and a decisive plan.
  5. Have your internal digital skills plan ready and keep it fresh: The businesses which have best competitive advantage in the years ahead will be those which are learning and evolving rapidly – in products and services, in communications and marketing and in customer experience. All of these can be developed and enhanced using digital and so make sure your business has investment in digital skills as a priority.


Cosmic are offering the first South West based Digital Leadership Programme, join us for our inspiring and motivating sessions run by our joint CEO’s Julie Hawker and Kate Doodson which will help you to gain a wider understanding of digital leadership and give you the chance to network with others within the group.

For more information and to book: