Businesses need a different mindset to source the talent they need to successfully transform, argues Suzanne Steele, managing director for Adobe Australia and New Zealand.

Speaking yesterday during the opening keynote of Adobe Symposium in Sydney, Steele acknowledged the critical role of technology in digital transformation, but noted organisations are struggling with skills and culture which accompany transformation projects.

“What we constantly hear is the most important and yet the most challenging piece of all, is the people piece of the puzzle,” Steele said.

“Empathy, people and culture are undeniably powerful forces, especially at a time when none of us can say with absolute certainty where business or technology is headed.”

She urged delegates to be open minded about their talent strategies.

Suzanne_Steele - Managing Director, Adobe ANZ
Suzanne Steele, managing director, Adobe ANZ

“There is a war for talent in this market and thinking differently is king. We need to go out find and develop our talent. We need to find opportunities within untapped workforce segments and diversify our talent by looking in places that we haven’t looked before.”

Businesses should consider workers only open to part time work, job sharers or people who need reskilling for future roles, she said.

“We need to have an open mindset to be able to take on the people piece of the puzzle,” Steele said.

Steele also argued that in their current roles business leaders need to be adaptable.

“We all need to think about being that creative, passionate, iterative learner. That’s when leadership drives meaningful change. That’s when innovation and transformation happens.”

Encouraging Creativity & Empathy

Also speaking during the keynote session, Alex Amado, Vice President, Experience Marketing at Adobe highlighted the importance of diversity and creativity for organisations delivering experiences for customers.

Amado’s team is responsible for running Adobe’s media channel, including advertising, social media, and search campaigns using the the company’s media and measurement tools to optimise experiences.

“We have many programs in action to help us deliver, develop, recruit and retain employees that are as diverse as our customer base,” he said.

He argued there is a tangible benefit for experience businesses with a diverse workforce.

“Different people who have different backgrounds, they bring a point of view that expands the number of possible solutions to any problem that we’re trying to solve,” he said.

“Customer empathy is more easily achieved when you have an internal team that’s as diverse as your customer base.”

Amado also highlighted the importance of creativity, not just in design roles, but across the entire organisations.

“I’m talking about media planners, I’m talking about project managers, I’m talking about strategist and event producers. Creativity doesn’t mean art. It means problem solving in new ways. It means executing with unexpected speed and working around constraints to deliver great results.”

“You need to hire the most creative and innovative people you can you need to encourage experimentation inside your organisation.”

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