5 Reasons why large corporate business struggle in digital world

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5 Reasons why large corporate businesses struggle in the digital world

The digital world is a funny old place that attracts a funny old bunch who enjoy working in it (and I include myself in that). Those funny people I would argue love playing, testing, creating and…failing, only to get up, brush themselves off and do it all over again. For some crazy entrepreneurial reason we keep coming back for more. However, for various reasons the larger corporate businesses struggle to find and support these talented individuals.

So here are 5 Reasons why large corporate businesses struggle in the digital world, supported by some research already conducted by McKinsey & Co.

1. Rigid recruitment processes that are unsuitable for the digital mindset

Fluid and agile are two words that suit the Digital Master you seek. Unfortunately, fluid and agile are often not part of any corporate recruitment strategy when it comes to looking to substantially improve their digital footprint. In fact it’s quite the opposite.

The digital world is ever evolving, fast paced and constantly changing. The HR department in the large corporations rarely cater for this within their recruitment processes, as they tend to have a one size fits all recruitment policy.

McKinsey & Co produced a report in June 2014 called ‘The Digital Tipping Point’, which gives credence to the above issues surrounding recruitment of digital personnel.

5 Reasons why large corporate businesses struggle in the digital world

5 Reasons why large corporate businesses struggle in the digital world

2. No Entrepreneurial spirit

Digitally savvy people, in my view, are of a more entrepreneurial mindset and are unlikely to warm to rigid processes or too many approval stages. They need to be allowed to test, test and test again, and you will want them to test. Testing means finding what works.

They will have ideas, some a little off-the-wall, but this should only be encouraged. It garners creative thinking and problem solving. If there are too many people or processes to go through with their idea, or there’s not a suitable platform for them to express their ideas through, they will get bored, frustrated and leave.


3. Qualifications

Qualifications help considerably when applying structure, understanding and process to a business. Especially when it comes to giving focus. However, most digital wizards are largely self-taught. They’ve built websites by watching clips on YouTube, Google’d how to write HTML code or tested SEO through setting up dummy websites to see what works and test the boundaries. I would argue the corporate environment does not encourage this, it’s almost as if it’s too cavalier. Digital wizards can literally work magic and in ways you’re probably not that interested in…and I can almost guarantee they don’t succeed the first time they try.

There’s little substitute for experience yet too many corporate businesses insist on degrees and rigid recruitment processes. Don’t get me wrong, obtaining a degree will add significant value, but is it going to attract the right type of people and experience your business needs?

4. Culture & Legacy

Some Corporations fear social media and some embrace it. It is easy to tell between the two; those who fear it do not allow customer feedback, particularly not on social media. Surprisingly among them are the likes of Yahoo! and Sainsbury’s.

This is most likely a result of overwhelming negative feedback but difficult to ascertain. You can address this negative feedback and you can improve and turn it around, but it needs strategy and resource. The latter is often not allocated to social media and is largely seen as something of necessity rather then strategy.

Those who embrace it create a strategy and dedicate resources to it. Recruiting for social media offers its own challenges. It’s not typically a taught skill. I can only imagine few corporate businesses have a recruitment process for it (I did try to find research on this). An added level of complication is your typical Twitter user will differ significantly from a Facebook or Snapchat user.  Individuals are attracted to a certain type of social media and rarely specialize in the many on offer. Recruiting for various social media channels is not as simple as we would hope.

Many businesses confirm that digital engagement of customers is the priority, which is again confirmed in McKinsey & Co’s ‘The Digital Tipping Point’ survey below.

How corporates invest their digital spending

How corporates invest their digital spending

As an aside, it is surprising to see automation with such little anticipated investment. Automation often allows immediate scalability and therefore a significant uplift in the bottom line in terms of saving money on time and resource. It could be argued it is often overlooked if a less automated and more manual solution is already in place and maintaining or producing positive results.

5. Age & Salary

Digitally talented individuals are often self-taught and can start from a very young age. By the time they’re in their early-twenties they may know more about digital then older marketers who’ve been in the business for decades. This is the digital and entrepreneurial mindset mentioned earlier. They may not have gone to university, nor have many qualifications.

With this in mind corporations should not be too structured in the salary brackets, and should look to change their recruitment processes to incorporate specific elements or tests related specifically to the role. They should also spread their nets wide and not discount people who they have previously considered unqualified or too young for certain roles. Base decisions on how much value they’ll add to your business.

Summary of why large corporate businesses struggle in the digital world

Understanding the entrepreneurial spirit of digitally minded personalities is a deciding factor on whether a company, large or small, recruits successfully. Sometimes, these highly skilled individuals can appear to be: a little too maverick for the company’s current structure, it’s felt they may not ‘fit in’ or they may just outshine their line manager. Whatever the reason, many large corporate businesses need to revisit their recruitment process for skilled digital people.

What do you think? Do you need to address Digital recruitment in your Corporate Company? OR, Have you ever been turned down for the perfect role because they thought you were the Wild Card?

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