These days, you can’t review a business website or open a business magazine without reading about how the Covid-19 pandemic is accelerating the digital transformation of companies. Where pre-Covid-19 pandemic it was just a “relevant” subject for companies to discuss and implement step by step, now it has become a critical part of their business model to ensure effective employee communication and collaboration, customer service demands are fulfilled, distribution and supply chains are reinvented, and talent continues to be acquired and developed; all while having to adhere to constantly evolving government regulations on health and safety. However, procuring and rolling-out new technology is only half the battle; you have to ensure that your talent is behind the company’s digital transformation, and not only supports, but drives this new way of conducting business. Ultimately, your company’s digital transformation is going to involve massive changes to the corporate culture, the reinvention of entire workflows in every function of the business, and task digitalisation and automation; which is going to demand the full “buy-in” and commitment of all employees if it is going to be a success.
Identify a Deeper Meaning
As per Charles Duhigg’s excellent book, “The Power of Habit”, humans are creatures of habit, often mindlessly executing routine task after routine task. In order to motivate your employees to embrace change, you need to provide them with reasons that go beyond general platitudes such as “having a competitive edge.” Identify a higher and more meaningful purpose for the company’s digital transformation that may be related to renewed corporate social responsibility practices such as the adoption of environmentally-sustainable business practices; the vision of internationally expanding the brand into new and exciting markets; or the mission of developing employees’ skill-sets and career paths with exposure to the latest technology applications.
Get Everyone Involved
While you may appoint a specific team or committee to oversee your company’s digital transformation, if you want the support of all employees, then you must get everyone involved in and excited about the process. At a macro level, you need to over-communicate the company’s overall vision for digital transformation, the purpose (deeper meaning) behind the change, and the benefits this initiative will have on all employees personally and how they conduct their business. At a micro level, ask all departments to identify opportunities to work more efficiently through the adoption of new technologies and present their recommended way of conducting business in the company’s new digital era. Many executives prefer to stick with what they know, unless you get them involved in and excited about the digital transformation process.
Share Your Progress
Identifying the deeper meaning and getting everyone involved is going to facilitate your digital transformation process, however you still may have some naysayers who interpret the changes as being a threat to their jobs and livelihoods. This is where it is essential to monitor your progress and constantly share achievements and milestones with all employees no matter how small. Ensure that all your employees have visibility on when new technologies and digitally-driven workflows are going live, and keep them constantly informed of the positive results and benefits of these changes. This will also help to manage employees’ expectations that the process of digital transformation is not a sprint, but a continuous journey of seeking incremental improvements as they are made aware of the before and after performance metrics.