Stop searching for digital talent

In a constantly evolving workplace technological developments have created a business environment of huge potential to those able to harness such adaptation, but one which also presents a potential threat to those that fall behind the curve. Where household names such as Apple, Amazon and Facebook have thrived, others have fallen victim to the pace of change – just look at Blockbuster, Kodak and HMV, for example.

Looking at these case studies there is a clear lesson all organisations must learn to thrive in this era: simple adoption of technology is not enough. Instead, the ability to use technology to create an attractive and valuable customer experience is vital. And the key to achieving this is through sourcing and retaining the right people who will make it happen. But how do we define these ‘right people’ and where can they be found?

Unlike many other candidate pools, the members of this groups cannot be defined in a simplistic manner. They are, for example, not uniformly young. Nor are they all technicians or ‘geeks’. But then again, neither can they be described by that ever-flexible term, ‘cool’. Perhaps what the ‘right people’ does mean is a new generation of employees with agility, flexibility and, above all, diversity – a generation which will merge the technical with the commercial to make products and services comprehensible, appealing and essential.

In fact, Tete Soto, Online General Manager at Telefónica, explained at a recent Pinstripe & Ochre House event, that perhaps the struggle to define this talent is simply due to the fact that they do not exist.

With a varied career which saw her go from strategy consultancy across a number of industries, to a role as a strategy head within the eCommerce arena before joining Telefónica towards the beginning of 2013, Tete has experienced the digital arena from both a candidate and resourcing position.

While digital means different things to different people, Tete argued that, in essence, digital is not a skill, it’s an attitude and in fact we are all ‘digital’. When we look at how many people use emails, social media channels, have websites, read online newspapers, etc, it’s perhaps fair to say digital is the norm. Instead, when we discuss ‘digital talent’ it could be argued that we are in fact talking about those individuals who have a ‘Digital Attitude’ and are able to leverage opportunities in the new normal.

When we consider digital talent from this point of view, the challenges and opportunities in attraction and engagement strategies will be different. Rather than attracting those individuals with digital expertise, organisations should be seeking talent with the creative approach to the new ecosystem and ensuring ‘digital’ forms part of the wider skills remit. 

Tete’s argument then was simple; HR professionals must stop looking for digital talent and instead, include a digital element in every talent search.

What are your thoughts? Does ‘digital talent’ really exist or are we all digital?