When it comes to leadership competencies, these are the five common to successful digital leaders, according to Randstad US’s report on the post-digital workplace.

1. Inspiring others.

“Uniting the entire organization with a bold, clear vision and path is critical to achieving your digital transformation goals.”

According to the survey, just 36 percent of employees think their employer has communicated the company’s overall digital vision.

2. Leveraging technology.

“Beyond a general willingness to embrace new technologies, that means understanding and appreciating the effects of technology on the broader business environment.”

A quarter of employees (27 percent) believe employers’ digital technology is 3-5 years behind the curve.

3. Encouraging collaboration.

“As digital disruption continues to alter how businesses are structured and the way that they operate, more leaders are moving away from traditional, hierarchical organizational structures to a more teamcentric, knowledge-sharing model.”

A whopping 81 percent of employees believe the traditional workplace hierarchy will be replaced with a networked model.

4. Driving innovation.

“Leaders who can stimulate creativity and persuade others to experiment will help organizations find cutting-edge alternatives to outdated programs and legacy systems.”

This quality is one of the most difficult to cultivate, and just 37 percent of employees would describe their employer as a leader in digital innovation.


5. Managing risk.

“Leaders who aim to protect their current practices, or are hesitant to consider new ideas that may threaten their expertise, will likely fall short of becoming a digital leader.”

Innovative leaders score 25 percent higher than their peers in risk management competency.

As if it’s not challenging enough to negotiate a changing workplace in which regulatory requirements, tough recruiting and new technology demand almost constant adjustment—not to mention the demands of customers and a shifting marketplace—not even executives are exempt from the need to change.

So says the Workplace 2025: The Post-Digital Frontier report from Randstad US, which used both its own and XBInsight assessment data on 5,000 leaders to identify several personal traits, as well as five leadership competencies, that it says are necessary in the post-digital age.

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Those findings are no surprise companies–95 percent recognize that new and different types of leadership will be necessary to tackle organizational structure and operating model changes due to digitalization.

What will companies be looking for in their future leaders? According to 76 percent of worker respondents, not only must these leaders exhibit the ability to keep people connected and engaged, but 77 percent say they also must be more agile and digitally savvy; 76 percent say they must be able to drive a culture of innovation, learning and continuous improvement and 60 percent say they’ll have to be adept at taking risks.

But 63 percent of all companies surveyed said they don’t believe they have a strong digital leader in place at present. And that, says the report, puts them at risk in some very specific areas.

Not only will they face a lower likelihood that digital initiatives will meet their full potential in driving business success, they’ll be taking “an ineffective approach to digitalization that is largely tactical in nature without a cohesive, company-wide strategy or focus.”

In addition, they’ll have a tough time attracting and keeping top talent, since they won’t be able to provide today’s workers with the digital innovation and tools most of them look for in a prospective or existing employer.

“Thanks to technology, organizational structures and operations are changing far more rapidly than they did in the past,” Jim Link, chief human resources officer, Randstad North America. Link adds, “If organizations don’t have leaders in place with the digital prowess required to navigate this new reality, they’ll struggle. The best investment that companies can make in their future is to identify and cultivate individuals with strong digital skills and sharp instincts for what’s coming next, as they’ll drive innovation and keep their companies competitive.”

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