Digital transformation starts with your employees

Clare Hopping

Friday 28 July 2017

A digital transformation strategy can transform your company. However, you must ensure buy-in from employees before investing in the tools and services required.

Organisational culture is vital to a company’s digital transformation success, and it’s important to remember that your employees are central to that culture. If employees aren’t satisfied with the way their company works, they are unlikely to support big changes like digital transformation.

Only once you have support from your staff to push forward will your organisation have the drive to make a success of any planned changes. Here’s how to onboard your employees to support your digital transformation vision and ensure your business has everything it needs to grow.

What do your employees want?

Before you even begin looking at solutions to make your business more digitally savvy, you need to start at the very bottom and find out which tasks are cumbersome for employees. Are there processes that take more time than they should or causing headaches on a day-to-day basis?

Getting this feedback will ensure you are concentrating on digitising the right parts of your business, and it could help solve problems your employees regularly experience – meaning job satisfaction levels will rise.

Once you embark on the planning process in the lead-up to enacting digital transformation, it’s paramount you keep the lines of communication open, inviting everyone in the organisation to make suggestions and identify tools that could streamline working practices.

Also strive for a two-way conversation when engaging solution providers. Decision-makers should thoroughly research all recommendations and invite providers to demonstrate their proposals to representatives from every department – ask for honest feedback during the entire process.

Take it slow and provide training

Don’t rush the digitisation process just because other businesses are moving faster than you. A well-implemented digital transformation strategy is more important than being fast. If you push staff too hard, they will become overloaded – especially those who are less familiar with current technology. Organise your implementation plan to include clear stages, and allow time for employees to get used to each stage before moving on to the next.

In addition to purchasing software licences that will make your organisation work more productively, you may need to invest in the infrastructure itself to boost efficiency – whether that’s in the cloud, on-premises or with hybrid systems.

The most important question you should ask is: what happens if no one uses the technology because they don’t know how or don’t understand how it will improve their work life? The answer: the whole endeavour becomes a waste of time and money.

That is why employee buy-in is essential from the very beginning.

Training may initially increase your investment costs, but in the long run it will benefit your bottom line – especially as employee productivity rises.