Digital winner - Henley Business School Finland

Do you have what it takes to be a digital winner?

Tom Loeffert (SAP) - The Henley Partnership - Henley Business School Finland

As HR Director at SAP, a multinational software corporation, Tom Loeffert has an understandable obsession with discovering what kind of person achieves outstanding success in the digital world. Unlike most, however, his findings are based on some significant research.

Our senior HR people attended Henleyโ€™s Advanced HR Business Partners programme, and subsequently the company joined The Henley Partnership, and itโ€™s been very useful to share the research findings with our fellow members.

โ€˜The future is already here,โ€™ says Tom. โ€˜We are surrounded with drones, AI, virtual reality, machine learning and so on, and every company is a technology company. And yet only 1 in 5 businesses are really thriving in the digital economy. So we wanted to know what kind of leadership is now required, and we soon realised that a very different approach is needed.โ€™

We were able to use the SAP research โ€“ covering 2,050 employees and 2,050 executives, across 21 countries โ€“ to show that company executives believe that there is a significant gap in the capability of their leadership to:

  • effectively manage talent
  • inspire and empower employees
  • lead a global workforce
  • drive and manage change
  • lead a diverse workforce (and the higher you go, the less diverse it is)

On the other hand, it identified four key characteristics that digital winners need, namely:

  1. The ability to embrace digital technologies
  2. The ability to streamline decision-making
  3. The ability to flatten the organisational structure
  4. The ability to build a digital workforce.

It also showed that those people who could demonstrate these characteristics achieved more mature talent strategies and programmes, enabling them to hire and engage better talent, create a more diverse environment and implement more cohesive succession planning. In turn, this led to greater profit growth, more satisfied employees and higher employee retention levels.

โ€˜Inclusion and diversity are so important,โ€™ says Tom, โ€˜so we must encourage HR leaders to insist on looking beyond the traditional pool of candidates and avoid unconscious bias.โ€™

We also have to change our whole mode of operating and communicating, and be far more open to new ideas. If youโ€™re still sending offer letters to successful candidates, for them to sign, scan and return, itโ€™s a sure sign that you need to re-think the way you operate. HR leaders need to be thought leaders.

At SAP the organisational structure and design has itself changed to accommodate new ways of thinking and doing. Our bosses are agile, responsive and adaptable. Titles are less important than having the right people in place to engage with each customer. Hierarchies are being replaced by roles.

For companies to be sustainable in tomorrowโ€™s world, leaders have to understand digital strategies, and the gap between needs and capability has to close, and close fast.

Find out more about The Henley Partnership

Sabine Doms, Marketing Manager - Henley Business School Finland

Sabine Doms

Sabine is passionate about helping people to achieve their full potential and perform at their best. She has over 10 years experience in marketing and communications and is leading the marketing of Henley Business School in Finland since 2016.

Related content

Paula Kilpinen, Director, Custom solutions - Henley Business School Finland

Paula Kilpinen appointed as Director, Custom solutions

  • 15 Nov 2022
Paula Kilpinen has been appointed as Director, Custom solutions at Henley Business School Finland as of 14 November 2022. In this role she will lead the custom solutions business area, comprising of high-impact customised solutions for sustainable growth.

Sunakโ€™s path to PM: a tale of intersectionality

  • 28 Oct 2022
Another month, another Prime Minister. Dr Melissa Carr and Dr Miriam Marra โ€“ Directors of EDI at Henley โ€“ explore the significance of the UKโ€™s first South Asian and Hindu leader.

New campus in Helsinki

  • 10 Oct 2022
At the start of August 2022, we moved into our own new customised campus in the heart of Helsinki, with both administration and educational facilities finally under the same roof. Now that the world is moving back to appreciating face-to-face interactions with each other, the new Henley campus is ready to support your learning success.