How to Hire for Digital Transformation

Many times, digital transformations are not successful. In fact, an amazing 73 percent of digital transformations don’t give any value to the business. According to a study by the Everest Group, as many as 78 percent of companies failed to meet their objective for their business when they attempted a digital transformation.

That means that just about 20 percent got what they wanted from their digital transformation.

What Is Digital Transformation?

According to the Enterprise Project, “Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. “

Why Does Digital Transformation Fail?

There are two main reasons that digital transformations fail. These issues combine to make real problems for the company and the transformation process.

Firstly, the companies won’t commit to the entire process. Faze one or phase two is done sporadically– meaning that not all of the elements are in place.

Secondarily, in most cases, the digital transformation is being done by the wrong team to make it a whopping success. Finding the right team is the first order of business.

Staffing for a digital transformation is a huge challenge, but there are ways that you can make it happen.

The biggest reason that digital transformations fail is not lack of money, lack of knowledge or even lack of suitable technology.  The most common complaint from companies whose digital transformation has failed is the lack of talent and people with the necessary skills to undertake digital transformation.

While every company does some measure of outsourcing it’s a mistake to put the most valuable assets that you have, your digital assets in someone else’s hands. Moreover, a digital workspace needs more flexible methods and an onsite engagement that most outsourcing companies can manage.

That makes hiring with an eye toward digital transformation imperative if you do not have a team in place who can deal with the digital transformation comfortably and effectively.

Here’s How to Accomplish that Hire in Todays’ Climate.

Get Out Your Wallet.

Getting top notch digital talent to assist in your digital transformation is a major challenge. In fact, identifying the digital talent gap in your company may be a challenge for many companies.

The problem is that it’s not one that you can spend months or years trying to accomplish. The fastest way to accomplish your digital transformation effectively is by identifying a dream team and then doing whatever you have to do in order to engage them rapidly, get them in the door and on board. It’s important to get them in the door as quickly as possible once you have decided to get moving on a digital transformation.

You may well pay a good price for the rock stars that you’re looking for but if you get the right people you’re going to find that they pay for themselves in a very short time. Getting a core set of outstanding talent means that they will be the hub around which other people of their caliber gravitate. You will find that they attract other talent and it’s well worth it.

Good companies know that you don’t hire anything more than monkeys if you only pay peanuts. Companies which are succeeding in their digital transformation are spending about thirty percent of their M&A budgets to get the right digital talent, compared to just about twenty percent for other companies who are less successful.

The result may surprise you. One company that wanted to hire professionals paid a 100 percent premium to a team of five people they lured away from their employer. The team was so good and so many others wanted to work with them that they hired additional people for only twenty percent premiums. In less than nine months that team generated nearly a billion dollars in added revenue to the company.

Red Adair, renowned engineer who built a career capping oil-well blowouts, said it best when he commented, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.”

Reconstruct Your HR and Hiring Team.

The typical and traditional HR isn’t suited to the digital team that you need to build. In fact they are far more unsuitable. If they don’t move quickly they are not going to be able to handle the volume and they simply are not familiar with the roles that need to be hired.


Miguel Pena, the vice chairman of Naranja, an Argentinian bank, says that many digital recruits just won’t speak to HR because they don’t feel that they understand or have a clue about digital hires or digital culture.


Specifically you will need to build your recruitment strategy from the ground up. Making what is known as a war room is a good starting point. It should be sponsored by the organizational leaders so that it has the clout that it needs to be able to break a few rules to get people on board faster or more readily. It should work hand in hand with a dedicated recruiter or recruiting team that knows and is immersed in digital culture.

You should work closely with experts in the field to help you and your recruiters to understand what is necessary and involve them in the hiring process so that they in their expertise can help you to vet the people that you bring on board and sift through the chaff to find the gold in digital talent.


You may, as one company did, need to completely reinvent your hiring process, working with experts who have a lot more invested in the digital culture than you can afford to do. Paying recruiters and teams of experts to help them to identify talent is not a small investment but it is one that can pay off in a very short time.


A perfect example of this is the large US Ag company that completely overhauled and invented their hiring, along the way pushing candidates through the hiring process and on boarding them nearly immediately. Taking those great digital talent prospects they found, vetting them with digital experts they paid a consulting fee they were able to make a hiring decision in days rather than weeks or months. They walked them through meetings with leadership and teams, and staffed their entire dream team in less than six months. As a result they had a new product out the door and being sold less than three months later.

Create Value That Digital Employees Want


The bottom line is that if you want to get top digital talent you will need to give the prospects what they are most looking for. That isn’t always money although it does tend to be part of it. A recent RiseSmart study showed that more than 75 percent of employees would consider moving to a company that had a great reputation and a good working environment even if the salary bump wasn’t all that substantial. IF your data science team needs building then create a reputation for your company that speaks of what it has to offer employees. Allow them their freedom to invent and innovate and create. Give them a clear path toward career progression and help them to have a real impact on their industry.


Build Your Reputation Carefully.


If everyone knows about you and wants to be part of a team such as yours, it will cost you a lot less in the long run to hire people away from teams and companies who are offering less.

Make it a point to be the place where people want to be. Hiring an SEO team or a reputation management team to promote your company may well be a sound investment prior to hiring a new team.

Taking steps to be the company where everyone wants to work will help to generate more interest in your company than all of the hefty bonuses in the world and may well be the key to keeping costs lower and getting the talent that you need to make a successful digital transformation in record time.

Give your company the best chance of a successful digital transformation by having the right team moving you forward.

At, we can help you to meet the challenges that you’re facing in hiring for  digital transformation. Call today and explore your options.

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