Digital Transformation

The most challenging aspect of digital transformation is getting people to embrace it.

According to a recent study by Gartner, a growing number of CEOs say that digital transformation is at the core of their strategies. But many wrestle with the “how” of digital transformation. While 87% of companies believe digital will disrupt their industry, only 44% are adequately prepared for projected disruption due to digital trends.

Businesses understand they need to embrace digital transformation, but don’t understand how to do it. What are the steps needed to make this happen?

Create a culture of Digital Transformation

For a transformation to work, businesses need a call-to-action for employees to get onboard. The good news, according to a study by MIT Sloan/Deloitte is that employees across all age groups want to work for businesses that are deeply committed to digital progress. How to get started?

1)  Communication is key

Without communication no transformation can be successful. Businesses must plan on having ongoing discussions with employees and invite them to share what they’d like to see in terms of digital improvements.

“An open dialogue should start from the top and involve every level of employee”, says Daniel Newman, CEO of Broadsuite Media Group and a thought leader in Digital Transformation. “Even after the transformation process is underway, c-suite executives must keep lines of communication open, constantly asking employees for feedback, all the while showing employees that they’re also committed to offering their own feedback and showing employees that they are also adapting to the implemented digital changes. In the initial stages of change, company-wide communication is of utmost importance.”

  2)  Training

New skills sets can be difficult for some team members to grasp, so it is important to offer training. Do an internal audit in your organization to determine what kind of training is needed. Some companies choose immersive programs—others opt for flexible online classes.

A more, “seasoned” workforce can benefit from trainings through partnerships and mentorships. “Match a millennial with a baby boomer and have the millennials walk the boomers through the learning process,” suggests Nick Candito, CEO of Progressly, “This will not only make the training affordable but help to break down the inter-generational silos that tend to form in today’s offices.”

  3)  Allow Experimentation

Encourage a culture in which people receive encouragement even when they make mistakes surrounding innovation. Digital transformation should create an atmosphere of experimentation, and you need to back up if you expect your employees to embrace it. Have defined processes and checklists in place to help your team get back on track when mistakes happen.

“A big part of creating a culture of experimentation is teaching your teams how to celebrate failure,” says Newman of Broadsuite. “Not every idea will play out as intended, and as long as it only affects a testing environment, that failure becomes teachable data.” Newman also recommends taking the time to develop a comprehensive testing environment to encourage risk-taking without the looming shadow of business-crushing failure.

4)  Focus on the benefits

Your employees want to learn about the changes digital transformation will bring to your organization. Show them how the new technologies will benefit them and the company. Give specific examples of how the process will improve the way they do their jobs — making their work easier, better, faster, or more fulfilling.

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a perfect example of a digital tool that makes an employees job easier. As a central repository for storing and managing data, a CRM can provide employees with a single point of reference that is easy to access and simple to navigate. Certain roles, such as customer service representatives, can benefit greatly from this functionality, as they are able to locate the information they need, immediately, to answer customer inquiries.

When employees have the needed tools and are trained on how to utilize them, everyone benefits — because when employees feel empowered, customers are provided with the highest level of service and this translates into recurring revenue for your business.

Karen Riordan, Vice President
Kriordan@ssiconsulting.com