With a rapidly growing digital economy (on track to hit US$240 billion by 2025, according to the 2018 e-Conomy Report), digital skills are more sought after than ever in Southeast Asia. The IAB SEA+India Commerce committee curated a 2 hour deep dive into this exciting topic 4th of July to learn what it takes to make it in the realm of e-commerce from experts on sourcing talent and running successful e-commerce teams. Read on for top takeaways from the session.

MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR

  • When looking for talent to add to e-commerce teams, you have to set the right expectations and know what your team is lacking. Some people’s talents lie more on the side of emotional thinking, whereas some work more on the side of rational thinking – making them better suited to certain skills.
  • A successful team has to include the right balance of rational and emotional thinking through all stages of sales – but a recruiting company needs to understand where their gaps are and fill them appropriately. It’s not a simple question of balancing them 50/50.
  • There are many different skills that are needed for success in e-commerce (see below), so it’s crucial to look for talent that is able to pick up multiple aspects.

THE ‘HUSTLE’ IS PART OF E-COMMERCE CULTURE 

  • Being agile is a must in e-commerce; adaptability, willingness to learn, and a persistent attitude are all aspects of the ‘hustle’.
  • When hiring for e-commerce teams this is as essential as hard skills. To go far in e-commerce, you have to show you can hustle!
  • As a result some hiring managers are more interested in the personality profile than the CV – looking for resilient types normally found in different industries like consulting.

A COMPETITIVE MARKET MEANS THAT YOU HAVE ‘TALENT ON LOAN’

  • The market reality is that talent moves will move- it can help to consider your talented employees as talent you have on loan for a set period, and to get the best out of them by treating them well.
  • When an employee moves on to another company it should be seen as a success, as they’ve successfully grown as a result of the support you gave them – it does sting when it’s to a competitor, though.

MONEY ISN’T EVERYTHING – A GOOD WORKING CULTURE WILL ATTRACT THE RIGHT TALENT

  • Not everyone looks for a big payout – having a unique mission or being a start-up can also bring in the right talent. 
  • Rewarding failure can also set the right attitude in a fast-moving environment like e-commerce; it’s better to have people who like to move fast and break things than to be left behind because of indecision.

WANT A GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE? LOOK AT CHINA

  • Developments in e-commerce are moving at a rapid pace, and nowhere is this more true than in China. There’s a lot that can be learned about where e-commerce is and where it’s likely to go by observing developments there. Think 9-9-6 as well as rapid e-commerce development.