Digital transformation: Hiring the right talent

For companies to attract top professionals, it means adopting new-age hiring strategies, engaging with talent communities through social media and turning employees into advocates

Updated: Feb 26, 2019 01:17:02 PM UTC

Shalini Nataraj is the Global HR head, Global Services Centre, at Maersk.

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

Having the right talent can be the greatest enablers of, or barriers to, a successful transformation. In today’s rapidly changing digital landscape, the quest for talent is determined by matching capabilities with evolving businesses needs.

While this is easier said than done, top digital businesses share some common traits: Keeping customers at the heart of decisions, working in agile environment, collaboration and organisation-wide efforts that fuel innovation. Only when this magic mix comes together does it enable a successful, highly focused outcome-oriented organisation. Strategy for investing in infrastructure and technology needs to be complemented with investment in the right talent to spur digital transformation and see meaningful returns.

So, how does one look for the talent that fast tracks their organisation’s digital transformation?

Challenging problems attract talented candidates
Gone are the days where candidates join a company for its brand or the money. While this is important, the most important offering for a digital talent is an array of challenging problems to solve. The more problems you put in front of them, the more engaged they would be. Start by creating a case study that talks about a real problem to solve during the interview. Make the interview a dialogue rather than a question and answer session. Engage their mind and not their résumé.

Go where they are
Traditional ways of hiring from job portals are a thing of the past. This talent likes to engage in discussion boards, attend meet ups and tech conferences and that’s where they will be found. Go where they are and engage with them to make a hire. Creative ways of using social media has proven very useful.

They start assessing you even before you assess them, so get your interview process right:

» Remodelling interview and assessment process using innovative practices:
Targeting talent and identifying sources of relevant talent pool, for example, using algorithms to assess proficiency and contributions through social network communities. In an industry where skill assessment is critical the hiring managers need no longer wait to hear from the candidate during an interview on the skill but a peer-reviewed code, size of followers is much stronger basis to assess skills.

» Use of special recruitment platforms:
The hunt for “out of the box” talent may call for the use of special tools and recruitment platforms that help organisations screen applicants and assess proficiency through coding and solving specific business cases.

» Turning employees into your brand advocates and partners in recruiting talent:
Referrals work a great deal in tech hiring and bringing the right experienced professionals join your team. Leveraging leaders' and existing top talent’s network is the best way to identify the right talent to best meet the opportunity. Since they’ve previously worked with them, they very well understand the role requirement vs talent capabilities they’re vouching for.

» Scouting for potential than just performance:
To be able to get the most out of each person’s potential, focus areas should be scouting for potential (than just performance), curiosity, learning agility, design thinking and enterprise learning.

Create a win-win value proposition
This talent needs a vision to follow. They need to know that their work is adding value to the end customer or to the business. Show them the vision and the value proposition as early as possible.

Invest in ongoing learning and development
They never stop studying and that is a good thing. Talent development, upskilling and building capabilities for the future will form the core of the digital transformation. Co-create learning opportunities and creating a culture of learning.

Most importantly, give them the space to fail fast and learn
Creating a culture of failing fast, providing a safe environment for them to experiment and to learn from it, is hugely important for the success of this talent.

The demand for top talent is proliferating and for companies to attract them, it means adopting new age hiring platforms, engaging with talent communities through social media and turning employees into advocates. Building teams with diverse backgrounds and skillsets having a digital DNA is therefore, essential for embedding a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, collaboration and customer orientation.

The author is Global HR head, Global Services Centre, at Maersk.

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