The Signal October 31, 2023

Digital Supply Chain Leaders Are 5x More Likely to Hire for Change Management Skills 

Building a digital-savvy team requires redefining roles, embracing AI for employee engagement, and prioritizing change agility. To succeed in today’s ever-evolving tech landscape, companies should look to integrate digital into their DNA by adding, attracting, and adopting digital skills to build the talent ecosystem of the future.

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Lauren Acoba Avatar
Lauren Acoba

Make or Break 

Over 85% of companies have a digital roadmap and 48% of CSCOs discuss retention of top talent once a week – yet only 17% believe they are ahead of the competition on hiring for tomorrow’s needs. Delivering profitable, sustainable growth is the aim of digital transformation…but the tech is a mere 20% of the equation.  

According to a recent Forbes article, it’s the “soft skills ninjas” that help organizations overcome a staggering 84% failure risk of digital transformation. The question on the minds of CEOs, COOs, CSCOs, and their teams is how to build a talent strategy for the 100% digital supply chain of 2030. At Zero100, we have found that talent leaders are also winning the digital race, with Skills 2030 leaders over 5x more likely to have fully deployed a current digital roadmap as compared to talent laggards.  

A Vision of Digital DNA 

In an ever-evolving technological landscape, there is no end in sight to the digitization journey. A complementary talent ecosystem is required to sustain ongoing transformation. The challenge for CSCOs is to move from digital as a “dress code,” where superficial and surface-level actions pull individual project deployments across the finish line, to digital as part of the DNA of an organization, where digital permeates the organization and is ingrained into mindsets and ways of working. What makes this hard is the cultural transformation and fundamental change required of every single person in the organization.  

To start, companies need to rapidly fill the digital skills gap, acquiring the capabilities required for transformation. The fastest path is to recruit the best talent. We isolated the terms “analytics” and “AI/ML” and looked at the percentage share of supply chain job posts that contain those skills across a subset of 100 B2C companies. The results show that for the top five digital skills leaders (those with the highest percentage of job postings featuring digital skills), there has been a significant increase in the hiring for AI/ML in the past 12 months. Top analytics organizations have been consistently hiring more than their peers, but AI/ML leaders have only increased hiring in 2023, yet now outpace their peers by 10x. The takeaway? AI/ML skills are the new table stakes for supply chain talent. 

Graph depicting the share of supply chain job posts containing AI/ML or analytics related skills mentioned over time, from August 2022 till July 2023. Source: Zero100 analysis of LinkedIn data.

For companies leading the way in integrating digital skills into their recruiting strategies, the process starts by looking outside the sandbox of traditional supply chain job descriptions. The role of Product Manager is prevalent in technology organizations and has applications in digital supply chains. These roles exist at the intersection of business, technology, and user experience (UX) design and require communication skills, strategic thinking, and technical skills to lead teams through the entire lifecycle of a product. Starting with a Product Manager job description (many can be found on LinkedIn from Amazon, Apple, or Google) and adding both digital skills and supply chain accountabilities is a best practice for companies looking to build digital into the DNA of their talent ecosystem. What might be seen as clunky job titles are picked up quickly by talent with digital skills.  

Digital leaders are also investing in the capability of change agility. In a review of over 325,000 job posts on LinkedIn between August 2022 and September 2023 across the same 100 B2C companies, we found that digital leaders are 5x more likely to hire for “change management” skills. With no end in sight to digital transformation, embedding change agility into the DNA of an organization is critical.  

Graph depicting the share of supply chain job posts mentioning "change management" skills, from August 2022 till July 2023.

A Recipe for Progress: Add – Attract – Adopt 

In addition to defining the 2030 supply chain skills profile of the future for leaders and their teams, our Zero100 Talent 2030 research dives deep into three key strategies for building a future-ready talent ecosystem:  

1. Add: Working with what you have has proven to be an advantageous strategy. It preserves and evolves company culture and retains top talent already engaged in solving supply chain problems. Wide-scale investment in upskilling has the potential to boost GDP by $6.5 trillion by 2030, according to the World Economic Forum.  

  • Some inspiration: Levis launched a Machine Learning Bootcamp in 2021 with an eight week paid training for employees to learn Python, coding, and analytics. Over 100 employees graduated in the first year and either returned to their “home team” or joined the analytics organization.  

2. Attract: Treat your job postings as an SEO exercise to ensure you are attracting the best talent with digital skills into the supply chain. Look outside your sandbox both functionally and geographically, leveraging AI to match those with digital skills to the work that needs to be done. 

  • Some inspiration: Schneider Electric did this internally by building Open Talent Market, a workforce agility platform that matches business needs with the skills and desired development opportunities of employees globally.  

3. Adopt: Implement strategies that make adoption a must-do to make digital transformation stick and, ultimately, deliver profitable, sustainable growth. Leverage AI to scan internal and external channels for dynamic and real-time sentiment analysis that can help drive engagement, focus development, and manage change.  

  • Some inspiration: CyberX went through a merger and acquisition, leveraging Officevibe to retain a regular pulse on employee sentiment, keeping NPS at an all-time high, and providing managers with digital tools and analytics to engage their teams.  

Demystify the Future to Win 

Building a team that embodies digital doesn’t happen overnight, but here are three things to build digital into the DNA of your organization. 

  • Conduct a skill gap analysis, then pick the 1-2 skills most needed for your digital roadmap and create a plan to upskill your team.  
  • Pick two roles and write a “2030 Profile” and job description for each in order to demystify the picture of the future. To take it one step further, partner with HR to systematically rebalance keywords and incorporate digital skills into job posts, treating them as an SEO opportunity.
  • Pilot the use of AI for employee engagement and development as part of your talent retention and change management strategy.  

Do you have ideas for how to build digital into the DNA of an organization or what the talent ecosystem of 2030 looks like? I would love to hear from you at lauren.acoba@zero100.com or on LinkedIn.