How to attract Digital Natives

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Digital transformation will require new technology and people skills.

Digital transformation has dragged daily working life into a new era and along the way many of us have had to learn new digital skills. These are sometimes called Digital Immigrants.

However, there is a generation to whom digital technology comes as second nature – the Digital Natives. So much so that when conducting staff recruitment drives, it becomes clear that digital transformation has had a significant impact on skills and knowledge at a ‘people’ level.  Hiring new employees is typically a long and difficult task, but one that is important to get right. Because if you get it right you bring on board people who will be of benefit to the business.

How do you know what to look for?

Today finding the right people to recruit relies on a lot more than just the content of their résumé. A recent study predicted that by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. As such, businesses will need people with customer-facing DNA built into them. But it is no longer enough to have just customer-facing skills in person: today’s omnichannel communications means being able to deliver that great customer experience over email, instant messenger, chat apps, video calling and more. This need for an omnichannel approach to customer interaction tallies with Gartner’s forecast that 2017 will be the year companies are expected to compete mainly on the basis of customer experience.

As technology evolves, so too do the skills required by companies. For example, just as the real-time nature of software-defined networking (SDN) and Network functions virtualization (NFV) have changed networking and engineering skills, so the always-on, digitally-savvy consumer has changed the way we need to deliver customer service. The staff we recruit today need to be able to perform to a high level across numerous different communication channels and think customer experience first.

A continuing evolution.

Digital transformation is a journey. As new technologies emerge to make running a business simpler, workers more productive and processes more streamlined, our organizations need to adapt.

So when engaged in a recruitment project, it pays to concentrate on the skills you will require in the future. A candidate might have best qualifications and perform well in an interview, but if they are uncomfortable with unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) tools or social media, then perhaps they are not suitable for a given role.

Today’s graduate generation and twenty-somethings, the Millennials, are the next generation of business leaders and were all born into the mobile era. They have no memory of dial-up internet connections or fax machines like some of us do, and because they have grown up in a world of digital technology and connectivity, their expectations of the workplace are also different.

They prefer exciting projects to promotions. Research by the Intelligence Group found that 64 percent of Millennials say they would rather make $40,000 a year at a job they love rather than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring. They also value work/life balance very highly and expect flexible ways of working, with 45 percent of Millennials saying they would choose workplace flexibility over pay. Furthermore, because they simply do not know a world without social media tools and apps, they expect to work collaboratively with colleagues by default.

How to target them?

It is not easy attracting the top digital talents and skills. Their expectations are high and they are demanding. Some tips that can aid your recruiting in the digital era include:

1) Know and target the talents and skills you need: in addition to technical skills, focus on team skills and that all-important customer-facing proficiency. Identify these and tailor interview questions accordingly.

2) Update your traditional recruitment techniques: The digital talents you want to target think and operate differently, so consider using non-traditional platforms like social media groups and apps to find potential recruits. Over the past couple of years Orange has utilized LinkedIn for recruiting, and our teams have been really successful with it, saving the company money on agency fees and hiring great talent in a genuinely digital way. So use different techniques and also give Millennials roles in your HR department and leverage their talent-spotting skills.

3) Try to remove bureaucracy and hierarchy: digital talents thrive on innovative environments, so too much red tape can put them off. So again, engage your HR department in the process and try to make processes as flexible and non-limiting as you can.

Digital transformation has brought us all kinds of benefits that help us run our businesses better. But those digital tools, techniques and approaches need digital thinking and skills to get the most out of them. At Orange we are concentrating on showing our digital capabilities and philosophy to target recruits, but we also need to follow through on our promises. Offer your candidates more than just a job, make them part of the whole and you will reap the benefits of their digital skills.

To read more about recruiting successfully in the digital technology and what Millennial workers are motivated by, download our white paper: What role for HR 2020-2025?