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Getting Your Employees to Embrace a Digital Transformation: What You Need to Know

by John Lane - Feb 2, 2018

From a certain perspective, a general resistance to change is natural — particularly when it comes to the technology infrastructure that acts as the foundation of your business. To your employees, the topic of digital transformation will immediately draw “why” questions. After all, many may believe they already have the tools they need to do their jobs on a daily basis. How could the potential rewards of a digital transformation possibly justify the level of disruption your organisation is about to go through? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

 

Well, not necessarily.

 

In truth, digital transformation is critical to not only the ongoing health of your organisation, but the innovation you need to maintain a competitive advantage. It isn’t about change for the sake of it at all — it’s about letting your employees work smarter, not harder, all while realigning your core business processes with the needs of the people you’re trying to serve.

 

Many managers in particular experience strong employee resistance to change whenever the topic comes up, which will likely always be the case. The key to easing these fears and minimising any employee resistance is by keeping a few key things in mind.

 

Everyone Needs to Buy In, From the Top Down

 

One of the biggest ways to help your employees embrace digital transformation involves making sure that everyone understands what is about to happen in the first place and why this is necessary. If organisational leaders themselves appear skeptical, or if they lack focus or can’t agree on a particular strategy to help make the change management process as efficient as possible, how can you ever expect employees to get on board? Because of this, everyone needs to buy into digital transformation and why this is essential to your organisations long-term success and this needs to start from the top.

 

Digital road maps must be built that are not only embraced by all key stakeholders, but acted upon in a way that everyone agrees with. Leaders must show enthusiasm and be committed to the process, because the end result is more than worth it.

 

If you can accomplish this, it will give employees something to rally behind — which itself is a great place to start.

 

The Art of Employee Experience Design

 

Another way to get your employees to embrace digital transformation involves looking at it from your employee’s perspective and first answering “what’s in it for them?” Again, digital transformation is not about change for the sake of it — the tangible benefits are more than worth the effort. But saying that is one thing. Showing it is something else entirely.

 

That’s where employee experience design comes into play, which is a concept that will allow you to execute your digital transformation in a way that directly impacts your employees every day.

 

To accomplish this, you need a better understanding of your employee’s motivations. Remember that many of their roles are constantly evolving and everyone has different expectations. Leaders need to be using journey maps, persona development, user research and more to keep the employee experience firmly in focus along every major milestone during the transformation.

 

Essentially, employees will have an easier time buying into all of this if they feel like you actually care about what they think and experience along the way.

 

Recognise How One Change Affects the Larger Whole

 

If you had to strip digital transformation down to its bare essentials, there are two major goals that need to be accomplished. Yes, you’re trying to better align your technology with your long-term business strategies. But to do that, you’re also breaking down silos that exist across your organisation, allowing disparate groups to come together and form something much more powerful than they could be on their own.

 

Because of that, it is of paramount importance that you understand how disruption in one area impacts others in the context of your larger business. When you make a change to one process, procedure or team, consider the impact that it will have everywhere else.

 

When you hit a milestone, think about its ripple effect across wider business practices. Does it make things easier? Why or why not?

 

These are the type of questions you need to be asking yourself across all stages of digital transformation. Doing so again shows that you understand change and the impact it brings with it, which will go a long way towards minimising fear and the larger resistance to change that you may be experiencing.

 

It’s All About Dialogue

 

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, getting your employees to embrace digital transformation requires that you communicate with them more efficiently. Employees tend to be resistant to the idea of change when it is forced upon them. So how do you avoid this? Simply give them a voice in the matter.

 

Create a dialogue with your employees immediately and encourage open, honest, and raw feedback. Let them know that you care about what they have to say and prove that by taking things into consideration before implementing these changes.

 

At the end of the day, never forget that you’re all part of the same team and for a digital transformation to be successful, it’s going to take the combined efforts of every last one of you.

 

Powernet: Your Success is Our Priority

 

At Powernet, we understand that change management is a process that will naturally have its ups and downs. Some days will be terrific and others will be less so, but the journey itself is more than worth it when you consider the end result. The sheer value that you’re able to provide to your own audience when your technological foundation is properly aligned with both their needs and your own objectives is something you just can’t put a price on.

 

If you’d like to find out more information about getting your employees to embrace a digital transformation, or if you’d just like to sit down and speak to someone about your own situation in a little more detail, contact Powernet today.

 

TAGS: employee engagement, digital transformation