Digital transformation has become a priority for businesses everywhere. CEOs have realised how urgently they need to take advantage of the benefits provided by new technologies and trends in order to stay ahead of competitors. As a result, digital transformation is now one of the biggest factors taken into consideration when creating a business strategy.
However, the vast majority of digital transformation projects end in disappointment. In a recent survey by Couchbase, a massive 81% of respondents reported that their project had either failed, suffered a significant delay, or had been scaled back in the last 12 months. Such worryingly low success rates can be largely attributed to poor planning and underestimating the scale of change, but another more common hurdle to digital transformation is getting your employees to embrace it.
By 2020, nearly a third of the world’s largest public companies are predicted to spend at least 10% of their revenue on digital strategies, according to IDC. But transformation is about more than just investing in new technology. Don’t forget that it will impact your entire business, and you will therefore need to adopt a completely new culture in order to stand any chance of succeeding. It’s essential to get your employees onboard from the start, to keep them engaged, motivated and productive. But how?
Create a digital culture
As with all collaborative projects, communication is key to success. Businesses should encourage open dialogue between employees at all levels before and during the process of transformation.
It is important to ensure that your employees feel involved, so you could set up communication channels for them to give feedback or share concerns. Building a strong community will help your employees to learn from each other, allowing them to share individual insights, successes and failures, so that the entire company can benefit from their experience.
Your employees will also appreciate being kept in the loop. Primarily, this means explaining the reasons for digital transformation, but also your objectives and why you need everybody’s collaboration. According to McKinsey, businesses that communicate a change story in this way are more than three times as likely to succeed on their transformation journey.
Provide training and support
If your employees are unable to use their new digital tools effectively, you can expect satisfaction, motivation and productivity to all suffer as a result.
Many of your employees are likely to hit the ground running, but you can’t expect all of them to. Some might have trouble adapting to new working styles, so training should be offered to everyone. Internal questionnaires or interviews can help you identify what kind of training each individual needs. You could also seize the opportunity to ask your employees which tasks they would like to digitise; businesses that follow this approach are 1.4 times more likely to succeed, according to McKinsey.
Try not to forget that the best learning often happens when we make mistakes. Experimentation should be encouraged, and failure should not be punished. Create an environment of trust that empowers your employees to learn without fear.
In order to really win over your employees, show them how implementing digital technologies will make their jobs easier and more fulfilling.
The move to digital will revolutionise your data management strategy, enabling your employees to locate the information they need instantly so they can perform their tasks more efficiently. Your whole company will benefit from giving your employees the best tools and teaching them how to use them properly. Satisfaction and motivation levels will soar, with the bonus knock-on effect of increased productivity and business success.
Aligning company objectives with your employees’ personal goals is another way of improving engagement. Some companies present awards to individuals or departments for outstanding performance, which serves the double purpose of making the transformation a success and recognising the important contribution made by employees.
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Without your employees onboard, the most likely outcome for your digital transformation is failure. It’s therefore imperative to involve them from the beginning.
Simply investing in innovative technology is not enough, instead you need to develop a brand-new company culture that is suited for the digital era. This starts with communication, which entails informing your employees about the reasons for transformation and explaining how you intend to do so. Not all of them will be enthusiastic, but effective communication and training will help to resolve any concerns they might have. Once they understand the new technology and its benefits, your employees will become the driving force that will ensure success on your digital transformation journey.