The war for digital talent: the game is on

There is a lot of talk on how organizations need to attract younger generations like GenY and The Millennials to prepare for the future. HR people are heavily focusing on age groups in the war for talent, but to me that’s just one piece of the puzzle. I think we are grossly underestimating the urgency to recruit high end digital talents, no matter their age.

Although it’s important to play upon the demands and potential of younger age groups, the real challenge for organizations is to find digital talent on all levels to drive the digital transformation. Age is secondary in this debate, I know 50 year olds who give 25 year olds a run for their money when it comes to digital expertise.

Let’s be realistic though: recruiting these digital talents won’t be easy. Most of them have plenty of choice, either by starting their own initiatives or by joining fast growing startups. Your company won’t be top of mind, unless you are able to attract them with your vision and digital transformation journey. If you are perceived as a lagging, old-fashioned company, it will never happen.

So instead of focusing the debate on all sorts of generations, you need to find and recruit digital talent across all ages and levels:

1/ This should be your top HR priority for 2016. In the coming months many companies will be starting digital transformation projects and they will eventually start looking for the right people. To find and attract the best ones, you will have to move fast.

2/ You need both visionaries and executors. Digital is not just about being good at social media or programming, you need digital talents in strategic and executive roles. Start hiring for both and make sure you have the right mentors to guide them.

3/ Start measuring digital expertise in every new job interview you organize, whatever the vacancy is about. Ask people for their vision on digital, the tools they use, the networks they visit, the apps they download. This might seem far fetched, but I truly think it’s crucial to start filtering out conservative people who have no feeling for digital. They will slow you down eventually.

We are facing the biggest change in business since the industrial revolution. As the stakes are getting higher, organizations really need to go all-in on building their digital capabilities to prepare for the future. Remember: the most important asset in your digital transformation is not technology, it’s people.

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At Duval Union Consulting we help companies with Digital Transformation. Contact me if you are looking for help.

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