Beyond technology, successfully transitioning your company for the digital age heavily relies on one key element: People. But finding, hiring, and retaining talents with the right digital skills to help your luxury business grow is proving increasingly challenging.
As digital technologies disrupt the workplace, competition to hire the right talents capable of driving a digital transformation — no matter what sector you are in — intensifies. In fact, a severe shortfall in digital talent is expected around the world.
The Singapore Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), for example, estimates that 30,000 digital talents were lacking in 2017 across all industries in fields such as data analytics and application development. As Singapore embarks on its Smart Nation drive, it is indeed set to face a severe shortage of information and communications technology professionals.
Top talents choose your business just as much as you choose them.
Yamada Yasuharu, CEO of Unicorn Partners
So how can your luxury company successfully acquire the necessary talents to grow? According to Yamada Yasuharu, CEO of Unicorn Partners, an executive search and specialist recruitment firm, “top talents choose your business just as much as you choose them. To gain skilled talents, companies must rethink old recruitment models and understand who these talents are, and how they can be attracted and retained.”
Traditional companies, in particular, are facing a bigger challenge in appealing to the digitally savvy workforce that is critical to a successful digital transformation. A recent article from the Financial Times illustrates how tech companies such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have arrived in force on University campuses, and attract top talents from most leading business schools.
Non-tech companies can “still hire people but they have to up their game,” Bill Boulding, Dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, says. “If you are going to attract the current generation of students you have to give them something that has meaning and purpose, not just the opportunity to make a lot of money.”
For a luxury company to be able to attract the right talents to drive a digital transformation, Unicorn Partners typically recommends focusing first on building a strong long-term digital strategy and defining a clear organisational structure to achieve long-term growth. Once the foundations are in place, business leaders need to identify and prioritise the roles that will help drive the necessary changes and clearly define their scopes before attempting to hire digital-savvy talents to fulfill them.
Only when these foundational steps are in place can a high-end company successfully approach senior candidates with an appealing proposition. “Partnering with a talent sourcing company that specialises in your industry”, Yamada Yasuharu continues, “will provide you with exclusive access to senior candidates and vastly speed up your hiring process.” A recruitment agency will help you identify the right talents for your roles and make sure that only the most relevant candidates are brought forward for interviews.
Based on his experience hiring for senior leadership positions, Yamada Yasuharu advises companies to openly discuss candidates’ long-term career goals and help talents understand how those goals can be met within their company. A stronger emphasis on quality of life in particular, but also the values and culture of a company are increasingly critical decision factors for senior talents when choosing which company to work for.
An analysis of more than 100 recruiting methods and interviews with more than 50 top recruiters by the Boston Consulting Group supports this approach. The research has identified several best practices to support hiring companies acquire the right digital resources. The most important of these is understanding how digital employees think. Even though candidates had broadly different backgrounds and skill sets, most digital talents seemed to share the same appetite for data-driven decision making and a work environment that supports innovation and entrepreneurship.
Successful digital talents are also more open than traditional employees to unconventional forms of compensation, including stock options and shares in intellectual property. Most candidates are looking for a role that can have a meaningful and positive impact on the world, and most would like to be able to define their own work-life balance.
Hiring digital talents requires new ways of attracting and selecting the right candidates. Thinking more broadly about your needs, and searching for talents beyond your own industry can prove very beneficial. Any company that is embracing this mindset shift is also taking a significant step toward a larger organisational transformation, as the new working models can go well beyond the field of digital.
Cover photography by Yun Heng Lin.