“Applying critical thinking” is the skillset that most alumni look back on as the major EY-developed competence that equips them to meet their current challenges.
The importance placed on being a critical thinker reflects today’s disrupted and complex world. In today’s environment, the ability to question assumptions, manage ambiguity and embrace different perspectives has never been more important. Building critical thinking is not just about training people in a skill. It is also about creating a culture where discussion and debate are encouraged and where good (and bad) decisions are analyzed so that lessons can be learnt.
2. Equip your people for the world of digital and data ethics
A strong sense of ethics has always been critical in business as the foundation of professional relationships. It continues to be just as important in the digital age, but the nature of ethical judgements is changing. In a digital economy that is powered by data, organizations face new risks, new governance requirements and new ethical questions. Today, there is particular focus on organizations using personal data in a way that the individual did not want or expect. How consumers feel about data-sharing is changing fast.
If these risks are not managed, the cost – say in brand reputation damage – can be significant and lasting. It’s important that organizations put a priority on their people’s ability to make the right ethical judgements.
As a start point, organization leaders need to put a priority on ethics. Three-quarters of our alumni say that their time at EY instilled a strong sense of ethics and ‘doing the right thing’. And, the longer people spent at EY, the more ingrained this trait became.
Doing the right thing at EY74%
of people who were at EY for four to five years said that their time at the firm instilled a strong sense of ethics. For EY alumni who spent 15 years or more at the firm, this percentage increased to 90%.
But, in our data-driven age, debates around ethics will become more complex. How an organization’s people apply ethical judgements will mean asking different questions. Do consumers currently have enough choice and transparency about how their personal data is used? If a consumer makes the decision to not accept an organization’s data use terms and conditions, will they be excluded from a service or technology?
New regulatory frameworks are setting compliance standards for some of these areas, such as data privacy. However, because it’s likely that laws in many jurisdictions will remain a step behind data innovation, organizations should take the proactive step of assessing their ethical standpoint on how they use data. If employees have a strong understanding of the organization’s ethical standpoint on data, better decisions will be made about how they unlock value from data. This culture also needs to be reinforced with the right controls, frameworks and best practices.
Future-proofing your workforce
The sweeping changes of the digital revolution are upending everything we take for granted today about how work is done. If leaders do not embrace this change, they could find that their people are not the organization’s greatest asset, but one of its biggest risks.
Show article references#Hide article references
- “AT&T's $1 billion gambit: Retraining nearly half its workforce for jobs of the future”, CNBC, March 2018.
For the workforce of the future, organizations will need to upskill staff and place a priority on ethics.