Hiring talent in the digital age
In the past, recruiting for financial roles has been a clearer-cut process, with positions on offer being much narrower in scope and skill requirement. Finance leaders would brief job advertisements across multiple locations or hire from graduate or talent programmes, typically selecting candidates with strong financial backgrounds and demonstratable business acumen. Hires would frequently come from within the finance world, with little focus on inter-departmental transferable skills or indeed, transferable skills from industries such as IT, technology or cybersecurity.
In today’s business environment, however, it’s imperative that finance recruits those with the wider skills necessary to supporting, developing and delivering a digital transformation strategy. This is highly relevant to finance executives, who are largely if not solely responsible for growing and stabilising business and ensuring that all threats to competitive advantage are warded off. Having teams that can harness the power of digital means a stronger bottom line for you.
Yet, 65% of finance directors report that it’s difficult to recruit the perfect candidate for today and tomorrow’s finance role. Factoring in contribution to everything from efficiency to technology adoption and innovation, it’s understandable that industry is struggling to pin down hires.
The potential risks
Without diverse and digitally astute employees, your competitiveness will gradually be impacted as rivals speed ahead, fuelled by technology skills. Service delivery, efficiency, insights and performance will all be hit, thus placing a chokehold on growth and financial stability. Depending on your business size, it may not be realistic to hire a wave of employees with advanced IT skills, not develop your current team to a competitive standard. As such, many finance executives and choosing to supplement their teams with outsourced expertise as a means of getting the very most from digital opportunities without reinventing the wheel.
2. Attractiveness to talent
Although recruits of any age can be and indeed, are, digital experts, Millennials and Gen-Z-ers are commonly considered to be the most technologically savvy generations and therefore present the largest “out of the box” value to businesses undergoing digital transformation. Without evidencing your own tech credentials through creating and advertising finance roles with clear digital applications and verticals, you risk making a proposition that simply put, doesn’t appeal to your biggest target – 62% of senior finance executives say hiring Millennials is difficult.
3. Costly personnel investments
You may know that your department needs revitalising or futureproofing with digital skills. But, are you certain of what to ask for? Nobody expects a finance executive to be master of tomorrow’s technology, but you’ll soon feel the burn if your promising new hire materialises into nothing more than a great first impression. Ensure that your personnel investment brings the competitiveness and efficiency benefits you intend by working with a specialist to fine-tune your job descriptions. Otherwise, you’re vulnerable to knee-jerk bills to consultants or temporary workers, which racks up even more cash. Before you know it, profits and forecasts will potentially tumble.
How to minimise risk
1. Invest in your current staff
Getting your existing colleagues prepared for future ways of working and developing anticipated skills earlier on, will ensure that when it comes to hiring new faces, you won’t be trying to fit a square peg into a circular hole. No matter how skilled your fresh recruits are, if the don’t enter a structure and culture that allows them to thrive, it’s unlikely you’ll reap business benefits from the talent. We recommend working with a specialist to deliver digital skills training, especially when it comes to new technologies such as blockchain, or high-risk vectors such as cybersecurity best practice. This will help to plug skills gaps for the interim, smooth over your digital skills landscape and cultivate an environment where specialised recruits can perform best.
Regular training will also keep all colleagues abreast of trends and opportunities and ensure that finance retains a “digital first” ethos. Why not share our Phishing Training Presentation as a great starting point?
2. Review your recruitment strategy
There have historically been a few established and defined routes for entering or advancing in the finance profession. Breaking the mould – albeit not entirely to ensure those key finance boxes are ticked – will help finance executives to minimise hiring gaps and build teams that can offer tangible contributions to growth and business strategies. We recommend leveraging referrals and potentially looking beyond your industry, with a closer focus on transferable skills. We also advise that you’re very specific when listing desired skills and technological capabilities.
With competition heating up to hire digital-savvy Millennials and Gen-Z-ers (who of course, require less training and are therefore a safer hire in some respects), it’s also important to consider your brand position. Appealing to younger, highly skilled workers is about far more than salary of commute duration. Talented younger professionals want to align with your brand – its ambitions, ethics and values. Make sure that your recruitment strategy takes note and gives enough airtime to the “softer” sides of your operation.
3. Effectively harness new recruitment technologies
Younger millennials and older Gen-Z-ers have entered a working world whereby job applications are entirely online, and often routed through hosted software and apps. So, it makes sense to do more than posting an opportunity on your website and waiting for the emails to roll in.
But, using new recruitment technologies goes beyond catering to the talent that they’re likely to appeal to. If your adverts aren’t set up to capture the right data or you’re not maximising clever ways to use software, apps or portals, you’ll immediately reduce the selection pool. During our time in the industry, we can certainly recall examples of businesses missing applications or setting up targeting criteria incorrectly, and therefore spending time and money for zero gain.
For information about how K3 can help you leverage the latest technology click here. For more great free cybersecurity resources, visit our Security Surgery. Or to chat with one of our advisors, contact us via email or call us on 0844 579 0800