October 2021
How to attract and retain disruptive and digital profiles that help transform companies

Disruptive and digital talents are looking for companies where they can be themselves.

Nowadays, having disruptive, technological, and digital talent in companies is one of the best ways for organizations to move towards transformation and evolution. Companies are starting to realize the differential value that this entails. Nonetheless, they are faced with a series of obstacles. Evidently, attracting and retaining such particular profiles is not an easy task.

The incorporation of disruptive talent is becoming a pressing necessity, especially when faced with this new reality in which digital prevails. Under this premise, new creative, innovative, and risky solutions; different to everything that has been previously done are needed. Even though many organizations have been working towards this digital transformation, the sanitary crisis accelerated the process, turning it into an imminent change. However, a key aspect in this process, and which makes all the difference, are disruptive profiles (people who think and act differently).

What makes them unique?

There is no doubt that they have differentiating characteristics. They are fascinated by transformation and change, they are not afraid to explore different perspectives, they are always looking for new ways to find innovative solutions, and constant learning is part of their mindset.

Flexibility and freedom are both very valuable to them, which is why they avoid rigid cultures or more traditionalist companies. Additionally, as good leaders, they are agents of change since they possess the ability to promote change and evolution, including those of areas that could seem strange to them. However, not everything turns out to be perfect, the main issue is that they are difficult to find. There is an excess demand for digital profiles, which has become more and more acute with COVID-19 and, unfortunately, there is a very limited offer. In Mexico, this has favored directive positions in digital areas to be filled with international talent, leaders that come to our country as expatriates.

In relation to this, and based on our experience as talent acquisition leaders, here at INAC Mexico, it is possible to distinguish two scenarios within an organizational action. On one hand, there are companies that are convinced that the time has come for disruptive talent to be considered as the missing piece of the puzzle, necessary for the future global work environment, opting for a safe, mature, and fast transformation, searching for profiles outside their organizations. On the other hand, there are other companies that look for talent inhouse, practice that I consider has become more of a trial and error. Considering the speed in which things are changing, it inevitably shortens the time that companies have to act on it. Before, it was easier to develop the skills of local talent, in order to be at the same level of external talents. Now, there is a high demand for a formed and matured talent.

How to attract and retain this type of talent?

Disruptive and digital talents are looking for companies where they can be themselves; organizations that have a similar way of living to theirs: diverse, open and culturally attractive. Having this in mind, companies need to know that, in order to attract them, it is necessary to change. Things cannot remain the same, there are relevant aspects that need to change, such as culture. Being a traditional company and viewing the digital transformation as just one more project and not as the heart of the business, is likely to fail.

The first step to attract this type of talent is to be consistent and aware that the digital transformation goes beyond including qualified talent and state of the art technology. It is vital that change goes beyond an organizational speech and, most of all, that it is not motivated by a trend and that instead, it is viewed as an element to place the client in the center, as a driving factor.

Once disruptive profiles have been found and convinced, the next step, and from my point of view the most challenging one, is retention. Nowadays, this type of employee is extremely critical as to where to place their track when it comes to their professional career. There are certain business characteristics that are non-negotiables; most of them have to do with the new way to make business, that to connect with clients and consumers, is through digital. Having said this, and from my own experience by interviewing plenty of profiles, I will list a series of aspects that will help businesses retain these digital profiles.

  • Create a high impact, challenging project. This type of talent usually disengages quite easily, they lose interest when the challenge is not moving. They feel demotivated when a project is not perceived as being a strategic drive for the company.
  • Have an inclusive leadership. Make them feel they are heard, and their opinions are of great value. Being in contact with the CEO and the board of directors is key; they want to make sure that the company is embracing and supporting the evolution.
  • Let them be and do. Provide them the confidence of being able to make mistakes and allow their roles to be immersed in decision making processes; having an autonomous capacity is fundamental.
  • Promote diverse teams. Create skillful work cells; multidisciplinary teams will always enrich the organization.
  • Give them visibility and exposure. Allow them to give their opinions without restriction, encourage their interaction with other areas of the company, where the importance of this technological evolution is emphasized.

There are many aspects involved in the digital transformation process of organizations. However, it is important to highlight that to move towards evolution, one has to have in mind a basic principle: technology must be seen as a mean not as a goal or a strategy. Changing the mentality of managers and collaborators is one of the main challenges, as well as establishing new working methods to maximize benefits.

Finally, like it or not, the world has changed. In this regard, my recommendation is that we should not wait around for it to be something urgent: “we change or they change us” is latent. The only key to success is through disruptive profiles that can underpin this evolution and promote business acceleration.

By Ángeles Madrigal – INAC Mexico

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