Why it’s more important than ever to be a digital leader in the UK to attract the right talent

Written by Robin Knowles, Founder and CEO of Digital Leaders

With the UK preparing to begin its exit from the European Union, it is going to become even more critical for businesses to find a way to appeal to and nurture homegrown talent. We may not know what the next few years will look like, or how negotiations will develop, but what we do know is that the UK government is putting backing and policy in place to support apprenticeships schemes across the country. For businesses, large or small, appealing to the younger generation with an exciting apprenticeship scheme or graduate programme will be critical in a time when access to overseas talent could become restricted. Being a digital leader will become even more important in order to attract the next generation of employees.

There are four key things that young digital talent look for, and two you may think they consider when deciding whether to work for you.

Firstly, they want to learn and keep on learning. Digital Talent wants to be stretched, to learn new skills and by inference to work for someone who they feel will share their experience. To be given flexibility to get involved on work that excites them. When they stop learning they leave. Create an environment where you share your skills and provide continual learning to retain your younger workforce.

They will want to see that the role has a growth path – this can challenge larger organisations whose organisational structure and hierarchy can get in the way of merit-based progression and rapid restructures to meet need. This could explain why startups and SMEs are hoovering up most of the Digital Talent coming through, but larger organisation need to find a way to show this potential career path from the beginning.

You need to share a vision and an inspiring strategy – It would seem that the days of attracting talent simply by hiring a leading digital talent are behind us and that young talent is now more focused on their employers vision and sense of direction.

Lastly, they want an inspiring job title – One of the joys of a startup or SME is the ability to make up or hand out exciting job titles, but even for a larger organisation a job title is worth a thousand words. It says where you are with your own digital transformation and where HR is at.

However, what they are not focused on is just as interesting, because firstly it’s not salary and perhaps most surprisingly it’s not the workplace environment.
If you get the first four requirements right then the salary is seen as a rather blunt tool from a rather old fashioned motivation toolkit. The second, a trendy work environment is perhaps your manager’s secret desire to have bean bags or ping pong in the office, or worse still it’s to tick a box called “innovation” for your board. Worry less about the aesthetics and more on the substance, and you’ll attract the right digital talent needed to join your business.

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