Tech is nothing without the talent to drive it. Source: Shutterstock

Hiring well is ‘non-negotiable’ for successful digitization

Across the globe, economies are going increasingly digital. Just in Southeast Asia alone, the internet economy is worth US$100 billion and is set to triple to US$300 billion by 2025.

Business leaders are increasingly aware that digitization is no longer an option. Take Artificial Intelligence (AI), for example. A report by McKinsey noted that there is a near 25 percent year-over-year increase in AI adoption in standard business processes, and a majority of executives have reported an uptick in revenue.

A successful digital transformation must go beyond just integrating technology in daily business operations. An aspect of transformation that is equally if not more important, is the team behind the technology.

Talent is a company’s greatest asset, and must continuously be invested in. Building a competent team takes time, and it starts with hiring the right people, at the right time.

This is echoed by Jessica Li, the co-founder and COO of dahmakan, a tech-savvy, Kuala Lumpur-based food delivery app currently going through series B funding.

“Often you get really impressed by people who have been in the industry much longer than you, but they are not a good fit for the company culture. For us, hiring well is non-negotiable”.

For sustainable success, there must be a shift away from the traditional approach in hiring. Instead of prioritizing accolades and skillsets, companies ought to pay more attention to the ‘mindset’ of the potential hire. An open, teachable mindset would go a long way when it comes to adapting to a constantly changing digital landscape.

Adobe, for example, is focused on hiring for “attitudes rather than a specific skill set that checks the box.”

Indeed, it is important that companies add different skills and experiences to their workforce by hiring outside talent from different backgrounds. Current employees, however, must not be left out of the equation. Upskilling and training are key in preparing employees to respond to change, and also to develop new skills.

With all the above, what’s left for a successful digitization journey is the right workplace culture. Transformation is not a one-man effort, it involves everybody from C-suites executives to grassroots employees.

Cross-functional collaborations and knowledge sharing are essential in breaking down siloes. To foster this, interdepartmental workshops can be used as a platform for employees to discuss innovative ideas and voice their thoughts. Top management themselves ought to be open to employee feedback, taking them into consideration whilst refining their change management strategies.

The adage ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ holds true in the case of going digital. Companies need only hire the right people, upskill their workforce, and move forward as one, and half the battle would already be won.