As your company builds and executes a digital transformation plan, strategy often begins at the top, with your company’s C-level team, then filtered down through your organization. Many times, these strategies are unaccompanied by the goals and mile markers that would ensure success as you hire staff to support the transformation. It’s clear that positive outcomes (and the increased profitability derived from these efforts) depend on the clear communication of and alignment around goals.
This is especially true in the creation and execution of a UI/UX hiring strategy—while guidance around the team’s eventual projects and goals may come from above, UI/UX hiring managers are responsible not only for defining the talent needed, but ensuring that talent understands the connection between the work they’re doing and the business’s overall digital transformation strategy. The bottom line? Profitable digital transformation isn’t built on top-down strategy alone. It depends heavily on the view from a UI/UX hiring manager’s vantage point.
Digital Maturity Translates to Financial Growth
A recent “digital readiness” survey of 1,000 companies by Bain & Company found that a company’s digital maturity level was directly linked to profitability.
It’s clear from these results that early investment in a strong digital transformation strategy is key. However, what’s less clear is the role that a talent/hiring strategy plays in this success. A staggering 32 percent of organizations have reported recruiting employees with the appropriate digital skills is their biggest challenge in terms of digital transformation. Staffing up a team in the digital space can prove challenging, if not paralyzing. The first step is to remove the confusion around digital transformation itself, defining the stages creates clarity. Once you know where you are, you can deploy hiring best practices that will result in a UI/UX team with the skills to take you to the next level of your digital transformation.
Digital Transformation, Stage by Stage
Before the building of a UI/UX team can begin, it is critical to define your current digital stage. By familiarizing yourself with the goals and experiences that define each stage, you’ll be more prepared to take next steps and build your long-term hiring plan for moving through subsequent stages.
At this stage
Teams just embarking on their digital destiny need to ensure that they have the digital marketing technology expertise to make critical, foundational decisions regarding their customer journey and how to beat or mirror their competition to provide a best-in-class experience.
The decisions being made within the digital team are related to architecture, UX and design vision, timeline to deliver certain milestones, and project prioritization.
Building a team that balances the right mix of internal and external resources is a challenge—success begins with understanding your current team’s capabilities and complementing those capabilities with external resources. Ensuring an internal resource plan for continuity of digital asset implementation at this stage is key—concerns around knowledge ownership and transfer are typically higher at this stage, as key decisions and projects delivered by external resources need to be transferred to internal teams.
At this stage
Teams have some digital foundation and are tasked with innovating a key digital asset or process.
High-priority projects with significant C-suite scrutiny typify this stage. Transformational projects that provide immediate revenue improvement or cost reduction top the list. Leveraging Internet of Things (IoT), mobility solutions, and machine learning are progressive technology initiatives that often require different skillsets than those of the existing digital team.
Challenges can arise when it comes to finding talent that represents the cutting-edge skill necessary to introduce new technologies and processes. New team members must also demonstrate an ability to balance internal business experience with the collaborative behaviors required to bring these initiatives to reality and results realization.
At this stage
As digital assets mature to include business process, merging or integrating takes precedence. Integrating legacy systems with new platforms, the merging of disparate data sources, and creating alignment across business functions are key.
At this stage, maneuvering around strict technical limitations and abilities for systems that house critical data and complying with data sovereignty rules make architecting and developing integrated solutions more difficult. Precious time is spent in creating alignment around common solutions, requiring collaboration among traditional IT teams, functional or divisional business leaders, and the digital team. Savvy designers and front-end developers are required to build seamless experiences across platforms.
Finding the right blend of skill sets to build a results-driven production team becomes a common pain point at this stage. As requirements ramp up, resources (money, time, and effort) may be under-budgeted based on unknowns that may only be uncovered after the work begins. Under-budgeting can segue into challenges with internal approvals; requests may get tied up in bureaucratic processes, delaying success, results, and other projects in queue.
4. Inheriting and maintaining
At this stage
Many companies outsource the building of new platforms and systems to digital and technology consulting agencies, or they stand up special teams that roll away after delivering a new solution. It’s often more cost efficient for businesses to operate and maintain these new platforms internally.
Solutions developed may be MVP (minimum viable products) or “first drafts,” requiring talented UI/UX to provide the additional effort that will result in complete design and implementation.
Critical challenges can simply be in knowledge transfer (architecture, coding standards, design decisions/limitations, etc.) between the originating team and the inheriting team. If the inherited solution is built with a language (or languages) that are niche or new to the internal team, finding short- or long-term talent can be a challenge, increasing the true TCO (total cost of ownership) of that solution.
Best practices for digital resource staffing
Once you’ve identified your current stage of digital transformation, it’s important to build a hiring strategy based in best practices. These eight staffing insights apply at any stage of the digital transformation, allowing you to go forward confidently and build a team that will drive success—and help you move to the next stage.
What are some lessons have you learned in hiring UI/UX? Share in the comments below.