Talents on Board Agenda & insights by Chair Pia Gideon

Talents on Board Agenda & insights by Chair Pia Gideon

We are entering some of the most disruptive times for businesses, and we are becoming increasingly aware of the automation transformation and competitiveness for critical talents and the impact of human skills on the strategy and the development of our businesses.

This blogpost shares insights by the highly-experienced Chair, Non-executive Board Member, Chairman teacher and coach Pia Gideon and from a recent sold out board event arranged by Swedish Academy of Board Directors on the topic of talent on the board agenda.

Starting with Chair Pia Gideon, she believes that corporate governance needs to be aligned to the company s challenge and ownership structure and that the focus setting and facilitating role of the chairman is crucial for the boards success.

Pia shares valuable experiences from her board positions. She points out the necessity of transparency between the CEO and management and the board to create trust and ensure best contribution from all.

Pia discusses the profound effect that digital has on company’s talents as well as business models. She also points to the importance of creation of a good strategy with alternatives and allowing for innovation, and ensuring the engagement of the broader organization.

Pia concludes with a great advice about an important responsibility for boards in complex and uncertain times:

Dear to be positive

You can listen to the full podcast episode with Chair Pia Gideon in our podcast “Exploring Leaders” here, or anywhere where you normally find your podcasts.

Exploring Leaders: Learn about board work from Chair Pia Gideon

Episode 19. Board Chair Pia Gideon believes that corporate governance needs to be aligned to the company’s challenge and ownership structure and that the focus setting and facilitating role of the chairman is crucial for the boards success. Pia shares valuable experiences from her board positions.





Board Event: Talent on the Board Agenda

We will also learn from a recent event, moderated for Swedish Academy of Board Directors, on the topic of “Talent at the Board Agenda”, where we explored the potential shift that is now happening in businesses and what that means for boards, leaders and the HR community.

We started out with a quote:

“There is only one condition in which we can imagine managers not needing subordinates, and masters not needing slaves. This condition would be that each instrument could do its own work, at the word of command or by intelligent anticipation….. as if a shuttle should weave of itself, and a plectrum should do its own harp playing.” – Aristotle 322 BC

We reminded ourselves that the world of work still needs to be furthered developed for many to use more of their human value adding unique skills.

Henrik Bystrom, Leader of The New Workplace Offerings, and Helena Sjoberg, Swedish  HR Leader, both from Microsoft, shared their insights on how they had been in steep transition at Microsoft over the last couple of years into what they call “The New Workplace”.

They shared insights from their experiences, and also from a research Microsoft has done on the topic named Work ReWorked.

From the research, they found that 92% of business leaders surveyed said their organisations had experienced major transformational change in the last few years, including 40% tech change, 37 % leadership change, 37% new structure and 29 % new business strategy.  However the process to adopt still moves at human pace..

They found that the more successful companies

  • are better at minimizing the effect of silos and building bridges,
  • ensure better empowerment to facilitate innovation, and to
  • minimise the distractions in the workplace.

They also found that leaders need to:

  • be given more time to think about transformation – 42% of leaders in less innovative cultures have the time they need, compared to 82% of leaders in highly innovative companies.
  • empower people with the right technology – 48% of leaders in less innovative cultures believe they have the right technology to help drive change, compared to 86% of leaders in highly innovative companies.
  • be supported to develop their own appropriate skills – 61% of leaders in less innovative cultures believe they have the right training to help drive change, compared to 87% of leaders in highly innovative companies.


Microsofts great insights were complemented with the moderator Digoshen Founder Liselotte Engstams perspectives;

In a recent McKinsey Global Survey on future workforce needs, they found that nearly nine in ten managers say their organizations either face skill gaps already or expect gaps to develop within the next five years. And the way companies have handled that before in Europe, is with hiring 67%, 61 5 building skills, 50% contracting, 39% redeployment and 27 % releasing. I posed the question if there are other ways to increase the engagement and output of the organisation?

Insights gained from Zalaris, where the moderator work as a board member, and which supports customers in employee services and talent transition, found some clients experience very fast skill transformation. As a bank where 10% of their workforce had tech skills and tech jobs, and in three years time went to 30% of the workforce that had tech skills and tech jobs.

Zalaris looked into the major transformation needed by HR organisations to adjust the critical Employee Experience to the new era, and found that HR needs to adapt the Employee Experience to become more agile and just in time adjusted. Read more in the report Compelling Employee Experiences for the Future Workforce

Another example is PWC. They announced in October 2019 that they will invest 3B USD in the retraining during the next 3-4 years, that is approx. 30k USD per employee.  Also other companies had made similar claims as Amazon and Accenture.

To highlight and make all aware of the fast speed of change I pointed to the world premiere that had just happened in the announcement of a market place for digital employees Digitalworkfoce.ai. Where they offer digital employees at different skill levels which can be interviewed and hired, within HR coordination, IT services, Patients engagement support and Bank Account Management, and the company claims they can be supporting customers and off load customer’s teams within a month of on boarding.

And finally the moderator shared some outcome from her academic board research, regarding what boards talk about and what they want to talk more about in the boardrooms, and as can be seen, talent and culture are high on the agenda of what needs to increase.


Panel Insights

We also got to learn more from the participating board members on the panel;

   Jan Sinclair, Chair at SBAB, NED/Board Member at FCG Group and STS Alpresor.




   Lena Hofsberger, Chair Ambea, Leos Lekland, Pharmarelations and NED/Board Member in MAX Hamburgers and




   Jason Hoffman, HR and Communications Director at Trygghetsrådet and advisor to boards.




How transparent and predictable is the size of the reskilling over next 3-5 years?

The panel concluded that it was not that transparent on what the skills needed would be or full amount of impact.

Who is responsible business or society?

The panel agreed that this would have to be a joint responsibility both due to size and societal impact.

How do you follow engagement, competence and culture in the boards today?

Here there was of course many ways to follow the progress in terms of employee engagement and similar but also a full agreement that this area need more and new KPIs.

What do you want more or better insight on from management and HR as a board?

Here the board members wanted more and faster transparency and better data to be able to make better more timely decisions.

Advice to boards was given from the panel and presenters;

Advices focused the area of talent management, learn more yourself as a leader or board member, follow the employee engagement to get quicker results, encourage learning and innovation, ensure and follow diversity in leadership and employee groups.


How to become more insightful and #digitallyInvolved

There are many sources to find more insights on the topic of talent management, learning and reskilling and future of work, we share some more relevant insights below;

Are offices obsolete? Lousy jobs and Lovely jobs and the sagging middle both via INSEAD Knowledge

Read INSEAD Professor Jennifer Petriglieris book Couples that Work and INSEAD Professor Erin Meyers upcoming book No Rules Rules, Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention

Read about new business models impacting how we work via Singularity University

Learn about the Reskilling Revolution , Jobs of tomorrow and Who should pay  Closing the Skills Gap Accelerators via World Economic Forum.

Learn from the team of Corporate Rebels exploring future of work and leading organisations and read their latest book Corporate Rebels, making work more fun.

Find ongoing data about your organisation engagement status at Glassdoor and read about their findings on what workplace factors that drive Workplace satisfaction.

Learn from Gallup what High Performance Workplaces Do Differently

Listen to the Digoshen curated list of podasts on Employee engagements and Future of work

And if you like to continue to grow leadership insights on this important topic, we invite you to join the upcoming event on March 16 in Stockholm on the topic “Couples that Work and Organizations that Facilitate them”  with INSEAD Professor Jennifer Petriglieri and a Top Business Leader Panel with Apotea & Doberman Chair Eva Swartz Grimaldi, CEO Sonder Magnus Öhman and MD Google Cloud Nordics Eva Fors. Read more and register here



We believe it is important to share insights from inspiring #digital1st thought leaders, if you are one of them or know someone we should talk to, please send us a hint via https://digoshen.com/contact/ or via twitter @digoshen .

These interviews are shared both on the blog of Digoshen www.digoshen.com and on the blog at www.liselotteengstam.com

At Digoshen we believe that Companies, Boards and Business Leadership Teams need to understand more of the digital world to fully leverage the potential when bringing their business into the digital age.

We provide inspiration and support to help transition business leaders into more insightful digital positions for themselves and their companies.

Follow us on twitter: @digoshen  and our founder @liseeng