Why is technology not the most digitally sustainable industry?

Korn Ferry announced on 12 October 2017, findings from an in-depth global study that finds that the technology industry is not the most digitally sustainable of the industries included in the analysis.

The study, called “Korn Ferry Digital Sustainability Index,” is a measure of a business’s ability to adapt effectively and continuously to keep up with the constant state of flux in the digital economy.

“Being digitally mature today is not enough: the new economy demands companies that are built to change, forever iterating,” said Melissa Swift, Korn Ferry Hay Group Global Digital Solutions Leader. “Leaders must recognise that with new products, services and brands entering the market at lightning speed, transformation is needed not just once, but over and over again.”

As part of the study, researchers analysed 362 companies in 14 countries and across five industries. The ranking is based on five core leadership and organisational dimensions of digital sustainability: Agility, Connectivity, Discipline & Focus, Openness & Transparency and Empowerment & Alignment.

The Index shows a correlation to profitability. High performers in the Digital Sustainability Index see a 5.6 percentage point increase in profit margin (EBITDA) versus the low performers.

Industry rankings on the Korn Ferry Digital Sustainability Index

Researchers found that the Financial Services Industry ranked highest in the Digital Sustainability Index among the five industries in the study.

“Financial companies have, for some time, had the compelling commercial drive to shift culture, processes and practices – seeking to protect customer data and market share while meeting new customer and talent demands,” said Michael Franzino, President, Korn Ferry Global Financial Services Practice. “Increasing global investment in fintech and intense competition from fintech hybrids have also triggered definitive action.”

Surprisingly, the Technology industry did not make the top spot in the Korn Ferry Digital Sustainability Index, coming in at No. 2.

“The Technology sector is not only made up of the high-growth ‘unicorns’ and disruptors of the world, but also decades-old legacy tech giants in need of structural, cultural and work process reform,” said Werner Penk, President, Korn Ferry Global Technology Practice. “The more traditional firms – once pioneers of the industry – now need to overhaul their strategies and work processes to ensure future survival.”

Rounding out the industry rankings for the Index, in order, are: Life Sciences & Healthcare (No. 3), and Industrials (No.4). Consumer companies, including retail, came in last at No. 5.

“Consumer companies are at a crossroads. Many have one foot in the digital world and one foot in the traditional storefront,” said Craig Rowley, Korn Ferry Senior Partner, Consumer and Retail. “Companies have adapted to e-commerce and have reduced time to delivery, but many are still playing catch up rather than anticipating what customers will want next. Leaders need to look way beyond the now and move as quickly as the industry is evolving.”

Country rankings on the Korn Ferry Digital Sustainability Index

Based on the dimensions within the Index, researchers found that the United States ranked highest in Digital Sustainability.

However, experts warn that to keep its top spot, U.S. companies must look beyond pure-play technology to the human side of maintaining success. “U.S. organisations must focus on improving the people aspect of their business operations if they are to continue as digital sustainability leaders and gain the long-term financial advantages associated with it,” said Karin Lucas, President, North America Korn Ferry Hay Group.

The United Kingdom ranked second out of the 14 analysed nations for being digitally sustainable.

“The traditional dominance of the U.K. as a digital economy leader could be under threat from rising global players, unless steps are taken to invest strategically, build a skilled, specialised workforce, and develop enviable networks, at home and abroad,” said Matt Crosby, a Korn Ferry Senior Client Partner based in London. “Indeed, the government needs to consider increasing connections beyond its borders now more than ever to drive partnerships, strengthen trade and share ideas and innovation.”

The three countries that were at the bottom of the list on the Korn Ferry Digital Sustainability Index were Mexico (No. 12), Brazil (No. 13) and Turkey (No. 14).

“Clearly there are vast discrepancies in organisations’ capacity to continuously adapt to the digital economy across industries and regions,” said Swift. “But even for those companies that rank highly in the study, continuous improvement in this area is critical not only for success, but for survival.”


Korn Ferry’s Digital Sustainability Index (DSI) is based on economic modeling commissioned by Korn Ferry, designed by the Korn Ferry Institute and Oxford Analytica. This research redefines transformation in the context of significant and ongoing digital change, and establishes digital sustainability—an organisation’s ability to continuously adapt and thrive in the digital economy—as a critical driver of financial success now and in the future.

The study combines proprietary Korn Ferry and publicly available data to quantify digital sustainability. It benchmarks 362 companies across five industries and 14 countries on the five dimensions that drive digital sustainability. Each industry and country is ranked based on its DSI score out of 100—reflecting its digital sustainability and performance in each dimension.

Provided by Korn Ferry Hay Group.

For more information on the Digital Sustainability Index report, click here.

How to give constructive feedback to employees

No one likes receiving criticism. It can influence people’s feelings of self-worth, impact their confidence negatively and also have an effect on their future attitudes and the quality of their work.

As such, it’s a vital business skill to learn how to give feedback in a constructive way. 

Here are some things to think about before giving feedback:

1. Be specific

Sweeping statements help no one. Don’t say “that last report you did was of a really low quality”. Rather say exactly which parts about it bothered you, for example “including more graphics would have helped demonstrate concepts” or “including so much copy on each page made it difficult for me to read”. That way the person receiving the feedback won’t feel personally attacked for what they produced, and they’ll have an action plan oron how to improve their reports in future.

2. List their achievements or strengths

If you want to dish out some feedback that’s not that positive, always accompany it with a compliment. You may start out by saying how much you admired the way they handled a certain situation and then go on to say that there are learnings from that experience that could be applied to something they handled less well. There are many ways of describing this method such as the “Feedback Sandwich Method”, which is to accompany the negative feedback on either side with a piece of positive feedback.

3. Be direct

As much as you want to steer away from hurting someone’s feelings, it also doesn’t help if you beat around the bush and don’t actually get to the crux of the matter. Being straight forward and honest doesn’t mean being rude. Feedback can be delivered in a way that is sensitive and sincere, but still addresses the issues. After all, what is the point of giving feedback if it won’t achieve anything by altering behaviour or performance?

4. Do it face-to-face 

Too often in today’s digitally-led world, it’s easy to fire off an email berating someone or giving suggestions. But the written word can easily be misinterpreted, and often is. Rather make the time to sit down with the person face-to-face and privately (if applicable), so you can have a two-way conversation where everyone feels heard.

5. Lead by example

It’s all very well telling someone they need to deliver their work to deadline, or that they need to listen better to others in meetings, but if you as their manager isn’t doing it – your requests fall on deaf ears and they won’t respect you. Consider if the feedback you’re giving applies to you and if it does, walk the talk. You could also bring your own experience into the feedback conversation to make it more real to them, i.e “I struggle a bit with public speaking too, so I make sure I rehearse multiple times before presentations in order to get it right”.

Many of these tips can be used elsewhere, not just work, from parenting to friendship to marriage – so you may as well brush up on giving constructive feedback, as you’ll use these skills many times on your journey through life.

Provided by Fedhealth.


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