It is indeed a challenging time for digital business leaders: full employment and the “great resignation” in many geographies, digital talent gaps, high inflation, and post-pandemic burnout. Forrester’s Future of Work Survey data shows that 50% of workers feel worn out and tired after most workdays; only 51% of employees agree that their manager receives support and learning resources to improve their leadership skills, and 42% of employees are actively looking for new opportunities outside their organization. At the same time, digital business is still growing fast.
How do you, as a digital business leader, navigate these challenges and build a high-performing digital team? Few would question that putting a high-quality digital team in place is central to the success of your strategy; the digital team leads digital experience projects, maintains momentum, and improves the skills of business unit managers. The team also helps set and execute the digital direction for the organization and defines the framework and policies for the use of digital solutions. Key considerations to keep in mind when building your team are:
- Your digital strategy hinges on more than a website update or delivering digital functionality. To position your organization for future success, you need to build a team that can, yes, deliver digital products but can also maintain the momentum, bring other leaders onboard, and elevate the digital maturity of the organization. This means understanding what talent and skills you need — not which digital roles to fill. Executives often shift people from other parts of the organization to fill roles instead of seeking to fill skills gaps. For example, they move a project manager into a product manager role or a developer into a scrum team without proper preparation. Too many firms do this without ensuring that these team members have the skills to be able to perform these roles well. Our Digital Competency Map outlines the key skills you’ll need across these six areas: customer-centric design; agile development and operations; emerging technologies; data science; change management; and product management.
- There’s no one-size-fits-all solution — adapt your org structure to your evolving needs. The structure of the digital team matters little. What matters is the clear accountability across digital strategy, governance, and execution. Centralized structures support local execution but hinder growth. Distributed structures maximize local relevance but result in waste. Meanwhile, federated structures balance economies of scale with local focus and pace. The shape and structure of your digital team will depend, for instance, on the size of your organization, whether your organization uses a single brand or multiple brands, the number of subsidiaries, local legislation, go-to-market strategies, the sector[s] that your organization operates in, and the level of its digital maturity. It will also evolve with your digital maturity.
- You must stand out as an employer in a crowded place to acquire and retain digital talent. The drive for digital maturity means that you need to focus on recruiting and retaining your own digital talent. You can no longer rely on borrowing employees and engaging third-party service providers as you once did. Moreover, despite the increasingly challenging economic context, the roles are reversing: The best candidates are interviewing the organizations that they consider most attractive. They will then select those organizations that best match their expectations for employee experience, purpose, career prospects, diversity, renumeration, and exposure to interesting projects.
Forrester Decisions for Digital Business & Strategy empowers leaders with the vision and execution to design and deliver exceptional digital journeys, features, and self-service capabilities that will accelerate customer acquisition, revenue, and profit. Within this service, the research, tools, and frameworks in the Grow The Digital Team priority will help digital business leaders build a high-performing digital team. Read the various reports and reach out to us to tackle your digital team-building initiative with discipline and precision.