Companies are racing to hire top talent that can lead digital overhauls. In many cases, that means pulling from industries that seemingly have nothing in common with one another. For Moda Operandi CEO Ganesh Srivats, that diversity is key to a successful tech transformation. As the head of the luxury fashion startup, he’s brought on execs from Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Walmart, Grubhub, and others.One way Srivats is successful in building such an eclectic coalition is by personally getting involved in the hiring process, including scouring LinkedIn for candidates.Click here for more BI Prime stories.Companies are beefing up their top digital talent as they seek to harness artificial intelligence and other advanced tech. And, in many cases, they’re pulling those people from a slew of competing industries.Hospitals and drug companies, for example, are tapping former officials from IBM, Microsoft, and other tech behemoths to lead their digital-overhaul efforts. But it’s not just the large corporations; startups are also getting in on the action.At Moda Operandi, Ganesh Srivats — the former vice president at Tesla and senior vice president at Burberry — is creating a diverse coalition of senior leaders from organizations like Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Walmart, and Grubhub to help lead the luxury fashion upstart as it seeks to employ big data and technology to disrupt the industry.”It’s kind of challenging to say that all good talent can only come from one industry,” Srivats told Business Insider. “There’s a real opportunity here to see how consumers can experience what we do in fashion in very new and innovative ways. And sometimes, those answers don’t necessarily only come from people in fashion.”The strategy is his way of tackling what is an increasingly common problem throughout corporate America: how to create a culture under which a digital overhaul can succeed. And in Moda’s case, that means figuring out the best way to connect customers to high-fashion clothes shown on runways directly, as opposed to the historic paradigm of waiting for department stores to decide what to feature on their floors.Srivats doesn’t pinpoint which companies he is hoping to hire from. The process, he said, is more organic and fluid than that, focusing on finding the right talent for the specific role. Srivats outlined how he created a culture to accommodate such diversity and why he sometimes involves himself so closely in the hiring process.’It takes a lot of hard work’It’s one thing to hire people from diverse industry backgrounds — it’s another to ensure those experiences can meld together to achieve a goal of disrupting a sector.Srivats knew the challenge that he faced and worked quickly upon arriving at Moda in 2018.At a meeting with senior executives during his first week, Srivats outlined 10 core principles for the company to rally around. Among them is avoiding group think, as well as promoting iteration and experimentation.It got immediate buy-in, but the struggle then became making it a reality. That’s when Srivats knew he had to become involved.”It takes a lot of hard work,” he said. “You can’t delegate this problem to your head of HR, or your head of recruiting, or to other executives.”And it wasn’t just getting the people on board. That, according to Srivats, is when the real challenge began — and it’s something Moda is still learning how to do.One way team building is encouraged is by a more dynamic organizational structure within the office. Cross-functional teams from sales, IT, and other business units are all grouped together to encourage collaboration, a strategy other top organizations have also pursued.Scouring LinkedIn as the CEOA key way Srivats pushed his new inclusion policy was by involving himself heavily in hiring.”Right from day one, I’ve been extraordinarily involved in the recruitment process. I don’t put it above myself to be involved in recruiting in all levels of the organization,” he said.Srivats would even go so far as to get on LinkedIn and personally reach out to candidates he thought look qualified for roles at Moda.He said it gave him a chance to tell “them why I came here and why I left Tesla, why I am really excited about it, and what kind of environment that I’m choosing to create to give them the confidence to take that leap, to take that risk with me,” he said.When the company needed to hire product managers to oversee its e-commerce overhaul, for example, Srivats began personally scouring the job platform for people with similar experience at other companies — as well as people who previously interned at Moda.While building that diverse coalition was tough at first, it became easier as the numbers grew. Prospective employees would come in and meet with an eclectic group of people that supported the vision outlined by Ganesh in his initial outreach.Ultimately for Ganesh, it’s about continually educating himself by following the companies that he believes are succeeding, and by going on LinkedIn to figure out who they are hiring. “It’s just constantly being a student and observing and trying to incorporate what makes sense,” Ganesh said.
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