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Quite often I’m asked my view on the pros and cons of Digital in-house (permanent staff responsibility) vs out of house (interim / consultancy) – I honestly believe this depends on the organisation asking the question. But why spend weeks, months (or years) spinning on the same spot, when the answer is probably staring you in the face.
Whether you’re reading this as a business leader, the in-house individual responsible for digital (change / growth) or an agency / consultant hoping to target the right business and win that next digital contract, then my thoughts conveyed herein could help you to:
- Weigh up the challenges of in-house vs out of house benefits (The analysis)
- Conclude your next move (The decision)
- Put the wheels in motion and follow through (The action)
So, you want to deliver ground breaking digital change, right? Awesome – first things first, we need to get back to basics and be honest with ourselves. No doubt there’s pressure from all directions to just ‘make it happen’. For some it’s as good as being seen to be taking advances in technology and digital thought leadership seriously – but you’re still left pondering whether or not the resource actually exists in-house to draft an always on plan, win support and execute effectively.
You’ve looked at the structure, made some changes and months down the line progress is slow – you’ve sat again with HR, there’s options to consider, including a new permanent hire? But does this resolve the issue(s) in the short-medium term, perhaps even the long-term? This usually takes some time and the business is getting ever frustrated with the lack of progress, even whispers that some members of staff are exploring other opportunities – your digital plan rests in the abyss. Is it time to explore outsourced resource options? In my view, if any of the above sounds familiar to you then the short answer is, yes. The last thing you need right now is another attempt at restructuring, seeking to fill a void, when an experienced result orientated breath of fresh air is what your business needs right now.
One scenario, is to explore an interim lead, bringing with them vast experience cross sector, from varying size businesses and is effective at managing expectations throughout the business. The difference with interim individuals is that they’ve probably witnessed a lot of this before, likely to be on an ever-changing basis and are willing to take the necessary leap of faith – remember, what you need now is results.
Could this scenario really work for my business? Well, as part of the analysis you have to be willing to look beyond the fact that progress with Digital change has been slow up to now – is it really just a resource issue? Could it be a lack of support for change, perhaps? Legacy technologies or even a break in the customer experience? Either way, you need a fresh set of eyes in the mix and as quickly as possible.
The interim lead scenario can be a win-win, in that you can swiftly hire resource to get to work, allowing time for a permanent search to get underway, this quite often helps shape the final job description – which may be unclear at the early stage. An interim hire can also be a sufficient way to swiftly identify and execute a plan; motivating existing resource and gathering momentum helps deliver results and boost overall company morale. For some, the first-thought permanent hire may not even be required, I would however keep this stance under review.
Is looking outside of the business a failure of leadership or perhaps hiring of late? Not at all, to keep on top of growing consumer habits, as well as staying ahead of the competition, you must be equipped to deliver an optimum digital and customer experience to ensure your company results reflect their potential. There’s absolutely no need to waste energy on a back and forth internally determining what’s required. Ever increasingly, we’ve all seen how this plays out across industries, in recent times.
In a post I penned a few weeks back, Digital Transformation vs Digital Deadlock, I made reference to the fact that without all members of the board / executive leadership team on the same page then you’ll certainly find a Digital First approach challenging, perhaps even a non-starter. This usually results in wasted effort for those involved.
Your digital opportunity is likely to be a critical, yet thrilling journey, a vast realm that for many remains untapped and this is relevant to businesses of all sizes. Perhaps it’s time to consider whether bringing a Digital Interim on-board is the solutions focused component required to get your company’s digital wheels in motion?
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