winning chess piece with crown in the digital talent war

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How businesses can win the digital talent war

August 22, 2018

Innovation Factory

A few years after it was announced that the war for digital talent had begun, this reality represents one of the biggest challenges facing companies today. The only way businesses can win this war is by understanding their digital needs and taking a different approach to their talent strategy.

Before all else, organisations must have a clear vision for how digital capabilities will improve their operational efficiency and customer value. While the needs will vary depending on market and geography, companies are generally more dependent on the collective skills of a multidisciplinary team, which also means that good teamwork is almost as important as strong technical skills.

Experience designers and engineers, scrum masters and agility coaches, product owners, full-stack architects and, increasingly, next-gen machine-learning engineers and “DevOps” engineers (the integration of development and operations) should be part of any company’s tech-talent list.

While retaining, training and uncovering existing talent should be part of a good talent strategy, companies need to acquire talent to meet these growing digital needs. McKinsey lists six ways to successfully build a digital talent pool:

  1. Build a compelling vision by presenting an inspiring mission.
  2. Make targeted ‘anchor hires’, who are leaders in a particular discipline to attract further talent.
  3. Reimagine recruiting using non-traditional platforms and drafting top-performers within the organisation to recruit their peers.
  4. Create a network of digital-labour platforms, where employees share job satisfaction, company culture and lifestyle information.
  5. Build an ecosystem of vendor partners, which includes traditional vendors, new partners, alliances, and crowd-sourcing.
  6. “Acqui-hiring” talent by acquiring a start-up with specific needed capabilities.

Business leaders are already recognising that technology-related talent is crucial to achieving their digital transformation goals. However, in order to win the digital talent war, they must therefore change their approach to attracting and retaining employees whose capabilities are increasingly scarce.

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