One of the biggest questions organizations face is whether to promote digital and e-commerce professionals from within or recruit talent externally. While P&G has taken the former approach, L’Oréal favors the latter.

P&G has maintained a promote-from-within culture, sourcing 80% of its digital talent from within the organization, according to L2’s Insight Report: The Digital Organization. In contrast, L’Oréal has hired almost 60% of digital talent from outside. Its employees come from both digital-native companies like Amazon and Google and Beauty industry peers: the brand’s number one source of digital talent is Estée Lauder Companies.

Percentage of Internal vs. External Digital HiresAmong the seven enterprises examined in L2’s study, there was an even divide between internal and external hiring. In the past decade, Department Stores have found success through fostering internal digital talent. For example, Nordstrom’s former Head of Direct and Stores swapped roles in May 2014. Similarly, Coach tapped its former VP of North American Retail to lead the brand’s digital and omnichannel transformation. However, the study also points to multiple Genius brands that have hired talent externally. Many individuals have drifted between similar organizations; sometimes, as in the case of several Ralph Lauren executives moving to Tory Burch, entire teams hop between enterprises.

This suggests that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. While some brands will be able to promote qualified professionals from within, others will be more successful searching elsewhere. Ultimately, the question may come down to corporate culture – an area that is likely to come under increased scrutiny as the war for talent intensifies.


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