“Digital Transformation is less about technology and more about talent”. This is the conclusion from a May 2020 article of the same title in the Harvard Business Review. It makes a clear and compelling argument that ‘when leaders think about investing in technology, they should first think about investing in the people who can make that technology useful’. The concept seems fairly straightforward.
However, there is a complex interplay between technology and talent that has to be properly understood to foster an effective work environment that will deliver results to all stakeholders. By its nature, digital transformation is driven by the tension between old ways of working and new ways of working. This is because there is no clear definition of the new way of working and so the focus is on figuring out how to get things done. This is something Archima spends quite a bit of time thinking about in our practice. And part of our message to clients is that our Digital Transformation role is about creating an ecosystem that achieves strong organizational alignment, enables fast, flexible decision making, and the ability to work as a team.
Pulling this off can be challenging. New capabilities present new challenges. People need to do new things and learn new skills. It takes time for people in your organization to shift their thinking —about where they are, what they do, and how they are going to succeed. The truth is, Digital Transformation demands that organizations take the necessary steps in understanding their talent gaps, and as such, we advise our clients to see talent acquisition as a strategic imperative.
Having a properly trained and qualified talent pool to back a business change agenda in the early stages of digital transformation is critical. Here, strategic talent acquisition becomes the center of your growth and needs to be your backbone, not just an optional extra.
‘There are five different ways in which strategic talent acquisition contributes to your digital transformation objectives: 1. It helps to build a culture of innovation to deliver growth and long term value creation. 2. It signals how specific forms of human capital can flourish within your unique organizational setup. 3. It creates an ecosystem of strategic partners that allows you to build new capabilities, better business models, and gain a competitive edge. 4. It allows you to anticipate technological disruptions and identify talent that can help you navigate through such disruptions. 5. Strategic talent acquisition is cognizant of business cycles of expansion and contraction, and helps you to manage your resources accordingly.’
How to Use Strategic Talent Acquisition To Your Advantage.
Traditionally, hiring new people for specific change initiatives within your business has been slow and deliberate. The result is that sometimes you end up with people who come in and don’t fit. A strategic staffing approach to finding the right talent for your digital transformation is a powerful way to get a quick return on investment because if you find people who know and like what they do, you’re off to a really good start. That said, the type of digital talent you are looking for often varies.
Digital talent is different from traditional talent: it needs a faster pace and endless opportunities to try new things. This requires a growth mindset — and a certain risk-taking attribute. You want people willing to push boundaries, and who understand the value of evolving. You’re also looking for people who know their role but can also jump in, learn and start working on smaller project teams. You want those with strong people skills and a willingness to share and transfer knowledge. You need people with a contagious enthusiasm for your business and for the future. You need people who are passionate about technology, and who can measure how they are helping the business. You want people who understand how you work, who fit with your culture, and who have both the technical skills and intellectual curiosity to solve problems when they arise. But maybe the most important intangible variable when recruiting talent for digital transformation, is trust. Trust is simply the confidence that someone you’re letting into your organization is someone you can count on. Understanding these nuances gives you a key advantage in your transformation efforts, and should be central to your thinking on the issues.
How Archima Can Help
Archima strives to understand the businesses we serve and we add value through our strategic talent acquisition services. Our view is that your digital transformation should be truly transformational and not just a technology project. In our thinking and doing, Archima strives to help clients understand what their talent investments should be, and what skills their digital transformation success is going to require.
We invest in every possible resource necessary to ensure the best team is assembled when a client needs us and our existing relationships are alive and well and in good standing. We reach out and nurture the potential “next recruits” to ensure that our existing client relationships can grow and evolve. And since each company has its unique DNA, our strategic staffing solutions are custom-tailored to your unique business case so you can achieve scale, and grow in the way you envision. Contact us here to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.