What is Digital Transformation in business?
Digital transformation is the process of integrating technology into all areas of your business to achieve your strategic goals. It's not simply the adoption of one or two new pieces of software, but a larger, more robust and integrated approach to your tools and processes. It's about creating a connected workspace, where your systems streamline how you work - it's technology being used to enable collaboration, automation, communication, and business growth.
As with any significant change, digital transformation includes a cultural shift, moving into a technological landscape and being willing to embrace and adopt new technologies and step away from a traditional 'we've always done it this way' mindset.
While the technology element might seem like the most vital part of the transformation, its success is also heavily dependent on the people involved - focusing on the people element is critical to achieving your digital transformation goals.
If your teams aren't on board, any new technology will be limited in its use and application. People will either not use it, or use it incorrectly. You need everyone in your organisation to be engaged with the transformation.
So, how can you get your employees involved, engaged, and interested in digital transformation? We've talked before about increasing employee engagement through technology, but what about when you need them to engage with that new technology and widespread change?
Communication is a key part of any business, especially when we're talking about employee engagement. It's even more important when you're undertaking any kind of change or transformation. The quickest way to lose the goodwill of your staff is to keep them in the dark. Communicate early, and communicate often.
According to research conducted by McKinsey, businesses with senior leaders who communicate with employees at all levels of the organisation are 8 times more likely to achieve success with transformation. So, senior leaders need to be talking to everyone - not simply telling their direct reports and leaving it to them to cascade the message to everyone else.
You should communicate through actions as well as words. Modelling the behaviour you want to see from your employees is important - it's hard to get people on side with a change if they see senior leaders not following it. Lead from the front and show your staff that participation is expected from top to bottom.
Don't stop communicating after the initial launch of your transformation programme. Ongoing communication allows you to celebrate successes as the project progresses, which is another important tool in engaging employees. Showcasing achievements throughout the process lets your teams know that the project is important, and that their involvement is noticed and appreciated - and appreciation is a hugely significant element in employee engagement.
This ongoing communication also allows you to add more context to the story - rather than overwhelming people at the start, a consistent and regular comms plan will help build up the insights and excitement as you move through your transformation.