If you’re looking to implement new technology in your business and do away with the old, ineffective systems, you’ll need to do more than simply slap a new software on your employees’ computers.
Real digital transformations begin with internal transformations among your workforce. The staff needs to be prepared before big changes take place, otherwise you face confusion, downtime, and ineffective transitions.
Let’s talk about why an employee transformation needs to occur — and how you can make it happen.
Employees need time to learn and prepare
Employees aren’t typically conditioned to adapt to new technology instantly. This is especially true if they’ve been working with the same technology for a long time — change is challenging, especially across dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of staff members.
By 2024, more than half of organizations plan to re-skill at least half of their workforce to contend with the changing business world. However, huge transitions like these won’t happen overnight, and neither will digital transformations within your own company.
Although you’ve likely planned to train your employees on the new tech, have you allotted time for them to adequately learn their way around the system and adjust?
There’s a key difference between employee training and employee learning. Direct information and knowledge is conveyed through a training session, but learning is the real process of absorbing the information to increase skills and abilities.
In an ideal situation, an effective digital transformation perfectly couples adequate digital learning experiences, as well as a fair period of adjustment and preparation in which employees can truly grasp the new concepts.
You want the digital transformation to reflect company culture
Installing new business technology shouldn’t be considered a one-and-done process. As your team works towards a digital transformation, let one of your goals be to reflect a company culture of change, improvement, and looking to the future.
In the words of William Craig in his Forbes article,
No company that hopes to exist in a globalized world with ever-higher pressures and competition can afford to ignore the opportunities that changing technology represents.
A digital transformation provides a perfect platform to highlight your company’s dedication to digital improvement in a modern world. Whether you’re using a new project management software, turning to eco-friendlier tactics, or even delivering your products via drones, it’s important that your company publicly works to adopt new forms of technology and the business implications it has.
Additionally, it can reveal your dedication to workforce engagement and efficiency.
If your organization can reach a point where six out of every ten employees strongly agree that they have the right provisions to do their work, you could experience an 11 percent increase in profitability. Unfortunately, it’s fairly common for employees to feel they don’t have access to the best (or newest) technology for their positions.
Don’t stop at the digital transformation — instead, take it a step further with a cultural transformation. You want low and high-level employees alike to understand that moving forward requires the adoption of ever-changing, ever-improving technology.
Transformations are only successful when everyone is on board
There’s no sugar-coating things: digital transformations are difficult.
In fact, roughly 30 percent (or fewer) of digital transformations succeed, according to McKinsey. The question is, what makes modern transformations — especially digital ones — so prone to failure?
The challenges are numerous during a digital transformation, but one of the biggest obstacles that any company faces is getting everyone on board. Interestingly, McKinsey found that organizations with fewer than 100 employees are more likely to report a successful digital transformation than those with 50,000.
It’s not too difficult to get 100 people on the same page, but 50,000? That’s a challenge. So, how do you get everyone on board to increase your chances of a successful transformation?
Here are some tips for making sure everyone is on the same page with a transformation:
Explain why the digital transformation is important
If people drive a transformation, then every employee needs to be just as invested in the change as the upper management members are. The only way that can happen is if each person understands why a transition is necessary, what the future benefits will be, and how the change will impact the company long-term.
Empower every member in the organization
Certain employees and company leaders might know what their specific roles are during the transition, but chances are, most employees won’t know exactly what their role is during the process – and why it’s important. The more you can detail each employee’s role in the change, the more engaged they will be during the digital transformation.
Express how the digital transformation will affect each department
In the same vein as empowering each employee, it’s also important to specifically detail expectations and obligations of each department. It also helps to discuss how the digital transformation will benefit each department so each section of the company can invest goals and ideas in the transition.
Execute a well-thought-out timeline available to everyone
As was mentioned earlier, it’s vital that employees have an adequate amount of time to adjust to a digital transformation. Ensure that everyone has a clear understanding of when changes will be enacted and how it will affect their day-to-day life, as well as time-sensitive goals of the transformation.
Although digital transformations are known to be challenging, they usually pay off. According to HubSpot, roughly 70 percent of businesses find that the digital shift is well worth it.
However, as anyone who has been involved in a digital transformation will tell you, it requires more than just a plan for change. The real transformation begins within the people who make the company what it is. It’s essential that you effectively prepare the employees, work to transition the company culture, and get everyone on board.
Get the people to transform with the technology and you stand a much higher chance of a successful, long-lasting transition to a better digital system for your company’s future.