What is the most important but often forgotten asset in a digital transformation? (Hint: you’re paying them)

Maroquine Aziz - February 9, 2022 -

So your organization is embarking on a digital transformation journey, and you’re in charge of making it all happen. You have buy-in from senior leaders; you’ve articulated the North Star, defined clear objectives, identified the metrics for success, created processes and built frameworks to make it all happen. Additionally, you’ve already started assessing both the new technology and how it would impact your digital and customer experience. Budget in hand, off you go delivering on your plan. But is there something missing?

Rarely do you see mention of “people,” the most valuable asset to any organization and the main reason behind the success of any digital transformation if you ask me. Digital transformation journeys are not an easy undertaking due to the arduous impact it has on teams. More common challenges include:

Communication breakdowns

Organizations have a tendency to keep communication at a high level and shy away from providing details, leaving out pertinent information that employees value the most. Often employees want to know how the transformation will impact them directly and their day to day. It’s important for them to understand the vision as well as the path to get there.

Steep learning curve

Undertaking digital transformation gives an organization a competitive edge, accompanied by the implementation of state-of-the-art technologies. At the same time, the adoption of modern technologies also requires a modern mindset. The more changes occur, the more people will have to learn in order to be successful using the new technologies. For employees to level up their skills and adapt to the changes, they need a rigorous training plan to ensure they have time capabilities to adapt to upcoming changes.

Change is hard

Empathy goes a long way and it’s important to remember that change is hard on everyone. Each individual on the team will have their own unique journey so each will require personalized support of varying levels. Some will see the upcoming change as positive and champion it while others will need time to process and accept it. Establishing a continuous learning culture enables your company to provide the necessary support for each employee and their individual journeys.

Smoothing the digital transformation for employees

Ensure you have the following tools in your toolbox when embarking on your digital journey so that you can support your people through to success:

Have regular check-ins

A huge part of gaining buy-in is addressing any resistance or fear for the next phase of the journey. Having regular check-ins will help you create a safe space for anyone to share what’s on their mind. This key feedback will help you fine tune the current action plan or even make larger pivots if needed.

Change management

Having a dedicated change management resource (or even more than one) is absolutely essential. They enable you to communicate your vision to various stakeholders and audiences within the organization and gain buy-in. They also help in various other ways: supporting your leadership, creating champions within the organization, and being that confidant who can meet with various layers and create a much-needed feedback loop.

Training

Training can help mitigate transformation challenges and comes with additional benefits to your teams, including:

  • Increase in employee engagement
  • Boost in employee motivation
  • Improvement in culture
  • Enhancement of the customer experience
  • Acceleration in productivity

Ensuring that the people in your organization are trained on new technologies is an essential part of the implementation of any successful digital transformation. According to Gartner, high-performing teams are 53% more productive with training. In the end, it comes down to making sure that while you transform your company, you’re also transforming your people, and you need to ensure that they have the support, organization, and training they need to be successful — and to make your initiative successful.

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