The Postdigital Divide: Why Businesses Should Support the Empowered Employee in the Network Economy

The Postdigital Divide: Why Businesses Should Support the Empowered Employee in the Network EconomyPosted by John Hagel, Suketu Gandhi and Giovanni Rodriguez on February 17, 2012

Deloitte article in Forbes instigates debate in the Human Capital community

At a time when most of the world is struggling to keep people employed, a small but growing number of leaders in the private and public sector are providing employees with new rules and tools for getting ahead. The reason: Savvy leaders are beginning to see that these new rules and tools — the “postdigital” technologies and best practices that are equipping employees to outperform their peers — allow businesses to see employees not as costs to be managed, but as assets that help grow the top and bottom line.

But while these leaders leap ahead with groundbreaking experiments in human resources, marketing/sales and product innovation, a great number of market incumbents are lagging, leaving them vulnerable to massive disruption.

As we discuss in the Forbes article, “There’s a gap in preparation for the disruption wrought by the empowerment of people. We call this the postdigital divide to emphasize the point that in the new world, technology may be required but it is not enough. Like the first big breach — the digital divide — there will be winners and there will losers. But this time around the divide will not simply separate the tech haves from the tech have-nots. It will likely favor those who know what’s required in the new age of performance and it will sideline those who do not.”

In “The empowered employee is coming; Is the world ready?” we take the reader on the journey that leaders have made to prepare themselves for the disruption wrought by social analytics, mobility, social technology and the cloud. At the center of the story is the 21st century employee, who employers are beginning to understand must be engaged, nurtured and supported like their best customers.

Which side of the postdigital divide will you land on? The choice — and the challenge — is yours.


John Hagel John Hagel serves as co-chairman of the Silicon Valley-based Deloitte Center for the Edge, which conducts original research and develops substantive points of view for new corporate growth.
Suketu Gandhi Suketu Gandhi, prinicipal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, leads the IT Strategy & Management service line in the Global Technology Advisory practice. His background includes extensive experience in IT strategy.
Giovanni Rodriguez Giovanni Rodriguez, speacialist leader, is a noted innovator, author and public speaker on organizational leadership and marketing. He is a senior member of the social-technology team at Deloitte Consulting LLP.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

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