A true digital transformation will impact every single person in an organization. This new, digitally-minded future is making organizations rethink how they operate. Even though the path to becoming a truly digital company is not clearly defined, one thing is certain: people are the driving force. Equipping your workforce with next-gen tools is important but improving communication and cultivating a modern mindset is crucial to leading your organization to the digital finish line.
“60% of employees cannot articulate their organization’s digital strategy” – The State of Digital in Houston 2018, Enaxis Consulting
Getting the right people on board
Initially, established companies may struggle when shifting their organization to a more dynamic, agile mindset. Often, they are held back by hierarchies and processes instituted more than a decade ago. Setting up new models and communications strategies can allow an organization to create a culture in which employees mobilize a grassroots transformation. Having people embrace the strategy and run with it by recommending or running projects and pilots makes it much easier to drive a successful digital transformation. This culture shift starts with visible and vocal leadership.
Building the right team of change partners is essential to foster an environment for change. The role of leaders should be refocused to initiate and lead the culture transformation. Leaders should openly describe the culture they envision and encourage employees to have a disruptors’ mindset, while providing an easily accessible feedback loop. Transparency is key; when employees have a clear understanding of what’s going on, they are more likely to be more involved and innovative during the digital journey.
Tailoring your communications
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to communicating what can be complex digital strategies and topics. There are however, several ways to effectively reach people in all levels of the organization. The key is to deliver the right messages in the appropriate channels that everyone can understand. It doesn’t mean that companies need to communicate more, rather, they need to communicate more effectively. Here are just a few ways to meaningfully communicate during a digital transformation:
- Utilize existing communications platforms that people use most to publish information about digital successes
- Encourage dialogue with pulse surveys and two-way communication channels
- Continually communicate digital transformation updates and celebrate project milestones with “progress parties”
- Host a company-wide digital showcase event where your most valuable pilots and projects are demonstrated, and employees can physically see and “test drive” the next-gen tools you’ve implemented so far
- Launch an internal blog with updates that shares insight into how the digital transformation is adding value to the organization
However you decide to interact with your employees, keep in mind that many people may not understand tech-related language or have the appetite to read lengthy messages. Break it down for them into bite-sized pieces—simplify and translate complex technical topics using everyday business language. Even creating an infographic that depicts innovative technologies, such as cloud computing or IoT, is useful in helping employees understand the benefits of digitalization.
Marketing your journey
To make these impending changes more attractive to stakeholders, be sure to “sell” the benefits. For example, you can feature a success story for a digital project that reduced time spent on laborious tasks, allowing employees to spend their time on more valuable tasks. Keep in mind that people usually just take in information that affects them, so make sure to advertise how these changes make their lives better.
Of course, let’s not forget the tried-and-true method of using face-to-face communication to engage employees. Face-to-face interactions are decidedly more impactful in building credibility and establishing trust, while building a more collaborative environment that inspires and energizes employees to be more involved during the transformation. To foster this level of collaboration, continue to leverage the current in-person engagement activities that work, whether that be town halls, road shows, focus groups, or one-on-one stakeholder interviews. By being transparent and open about the organization’s efforts and motives, you are enabling your people to grasp new tools and adopt a digital mindset more easily.