How And Why To Engage Your Staff During Your Digital Transformation
Every tech leader today is thinking and talking about digital transformation. Whether it’s moving to the cloud from legacy systems, introducing companywide communication systems or identifying targeted opportunities for efficiency, technology is part of every function and process. However, as I’ve previously discussed, people, not technology, are the most important part of your digital strategy. One of the biggest challenges is getting broad support and buy-in. It’s not just about who will be using the technology. To get the most from new solutions, you need buy-in from everybody — from the C-suite to frontline staff.
What does companywide digital buy-in look like, and how do you, as the company’s tech champion, make it happen?
Why You Need Widespread Buy-In
Rob Ferris, director of document solutions at Canon UK, predicts 2018 is the year when more businesses will embrace a “digital-first mindset as they fight to survive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.” But what does this digital-first mindset look like without staff and leadership support? You can introduce as many new programs and solutions as you want, but if your teams aren’t on board, then you won’t get the most out of any technology. People won’t use it, will use it incorrectly or will feel disgruntled with the change. You need to create a web of support for digital transformation rather than just a core group of engaged people.
Involve Them In The Process
It’s impossible to involve everyone in a decision, but you can help give your teams a sense of ownership by asking for input on technology needs and opportunities. Survey your employees about their biggest challenges, and look for solutions to those problems. Create an internal committee or focus group for the company to get ideas and input on new processes. This will also give you a wide perspective on rollout, so you’re more likely to get the results you’re aiming for.
Perfect Your Pitch
In an ideal world, everyone would embrace new processes for the overall good of the company. But we all know that the “what’s in it for me?” factor matters. From a business case for company leaders to a features-and-benefits pitch for final users, you need to have the right messaging for each part of the company.
In my experience, a combination of practical and aspirational messaging can be most effective:
- Position the move as a strategic one, which shows how dedicated your company is to new ideas and approaches.
- Describe the benefits people will experience (i.e., faster results, easier access to information, better communication).
- Explain next steps and timelines to reduce uncertainty. Who will be trained and when? What processes will be affected? Clear expectations and communication are your best tools for keeping people on board and engaged.
Find Your Champions And Cheerleaders
Finding “digital change agents,” as my colleague Jacky Carter refers to them, is key.
You want people who are not only passionate but also trusted in the business. This could be local salespeople, team leads or corporate services such as trainers and marketing teams. Find a range of people from different levels and functions in the business so that you’re reaching as many people as possible.
Get Your Champions On The Same Page
Your “change agents” need to be prepped and given clear instructions on their roles and actions. One meeting and an email with directions isn’t enough to empower them in their role as champion and ambassador. Forbes author Michael Brito makes a number of good points in his article on encouraging digital adoption, but I want to focus on his second point: creating a narrative. What is the story behind this technology, and what does it mean for your company? Once you have everyone on the same page, you can disseminate the message via your champions.
Offer Enough Training And Resources
Training is critical for a successful launch, but too often, organizations take a “one and done” approach. Instead, offer ongoing support in a variety of ways to ensure no one slips through the cracks. Here are some of the tools I’ve used to support the rollout of a new system or process:
- Conference call
- FAQ document
- Intranet landing page
- Training modes
- Online training software
From initial introductions to a repository of resources, offering some or all of these tools means your teams know where to get the information they need if they miss a training session or need to remind themselves about the process.
If you can find the right combination of involvement, messaging, internal champions and resources, you’ll find that your teams are ready and able to adapt to any new system. This will make your company more agile and competitive, which is a huge advantage in today’s fast-changing world of business.