What CFOs Need To Know As The Workforce Adjusts To The Digital Age: Part 2

Christopher Mazzei and Michael Bertolino

Part 2 in the “CFOs and the Digital Workplace” series

In the first blog in this series, we explored the rapidly changing workplace, with four different generations working side by side. Here we’ll look at how finance teams can better understand how to support their organizations in different styles of working.

Millennials, for example, expect to have their social and customer experiences replicated in the workplace: on their phones, on the go, responsive, and agile. If this doesn’t happen, the probability is high that they will move on. Companies that are “best in class” at helping their teams through this continually changing workplace will unlock employee insights, enhance employee engagement, and ultimately them lead to enhanced growth.

Additionally, to make changes stick, the old ways, focused solely on key performance indicators (KPIs), no longer work. Tomorrow’s workforce prioritizes a sense of “capital P Purpose.” A recent EY survey found that 73% of business leaders think that having the right Purpose will help their company navigate disruption. In the past, millions of dollars were wasted because leaders failed to get their employee engagement teams to embrace the “why.” Companies that are planning to implement a large-scale transformation should strongly consider bringing their larger employee base, not just leadership, into the beginning stages of the journey. This will give the larger employee base input into the “why” the transformation effort is necessary (the Purpose), not just the “what” and the “how.” This will help ensure that the transformational changes needed will actually take effect and be executed against the long term.

Once Purpose has been inculcated into the workforce, successful change management depends upon the capability of employees and related incentives. Capabilities will have to continuously evolve. This means not just bringing in new talent, but retraining the existing workforce as well. Concurrently, companies need to make sure that the actions they want individuals to take and how they use the new technology are aligned in terms of rewards.

What skills will employees need to succeed?

The timeframe for updating skills has dramatically collapsed; digital has made it necessary for workers to continuously learn as the digital environment is shifting at such a rapid pace.

Key skills required in today’s workplace include complex problem-solving and critical thinking to interpret and act on analytics. Other skills that make us human — adaptability, creativity, and emotional intelligence — are also more important than ever. Cyber skills continue to be very influential, as is the ability to manage a workforce made up of humans and robotic workers.

EY has just launched its own program, EY Badges, which helps our people to invest in their careers by earning digital credentials in skills that will differentiate them in today’s and tomorrow’s rapidly changing market, such as data analytics, AI, data transformation, and information strategy.

Part 3 of this series will examine which industries, and which jobs, are most likely to be affected by adoption of technological advances.

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This is an excerpt from “Making the future of work, work,” originally published as part of the “Innovation Matters: insights on the latest disruptive technologies” series .

The views reflected in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the global EY organization or its member firms.


Christopher Mazzei

About Christopher Mazzei

Chris Mazzei is global innovation technologies leader and global chief analytics officer at EY. Chris is responsible for exploring a portfolio of emerging technologies, including blockchain, AI, and robotic process automation. His focus is on determining how these technologies create opportunities for EY to incorporate into its own business operations, as well as considering the implications for EY’s clients. Chris leads the EY Global Analytics Center of Excellence, which aims to incorporate data and analytics into EY’s offerings across all business lines to help clients grow, optimize, and protect value.

Michael Bertolino

About Michael Bertolino

Michael Bertolino, the global leader for EY People Advisory Services, leads a global force of some 10,400 practitioners who work with clients every day to help them harness their people agenda — getting the right people, with the right capabilities, in the right place, for the right cost, doing the right things. EY People Advisory Services works with clients on a range of assignments from helping them to transform their HR function to addressing their organizations’ most complex talent challenges in a global and highly regulated setting. In all cases, the teams connect the people strategy to the needs of the business, helping clients realize sustainable results from strategy to execution. It’s how we build a better working world.