Digital transformation (DX) is not a new trend or a passing fad. Organizations have been adopting digital practices for years, overhauling internal and external operations to modernize their businesses and remain competitive. According to a Tech Pro Research Survey, 70% of businesses said that they either have a digital transformation strategy in place or they are currently working on one.
Empowering your workforce to buy into digital transformation is critical to success, as employee interaction with your internal operations and sales-facing strategies affects every aspect of your business. But employees are not always willing to comply, afraid of the changes ahead and fearing that their jobs will be harder to perform.
In the wake of the current challenges raised by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, employers and employees alike are having to rapidly adjust their attitude towards digital transformation.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons employees resist digital transformation so as to address these concerns with greater care and better equip them to deal with the challenges of remote work.
Why Employees Resist Digital Transformation
In many cases, digital transformation has been a very abstract concept for employees, an overhyped buzzword that’s too broad or doesn’t promise to make their jobs easier demonstrably enough to get them excited about its arrival.
Humans are emotional beings and your employees may not want to upend their decade-long familiar processes to champion a completely new work environment—even if it means higher efficiency and greater innovation.
Lack of Understanding
One of the main reasons for this resistance is that employees don’t really understand what digital transformation is and how it will affect the company and their daily jobs.
A survey of 500 businesses with 50 or more employees showed that 57% of employees either don’t know or misinterpret the meaning of digital transformation.
Employees often lack access to the ‘big picture’ information you have access to. They’re not overhearing your phone conversations; they’re not a fly on the wall at your brainstorming and strategy sessions. This lack of knowledge also leads to confusion and miscommunication which can turn into the spread of false rumors, if left unchecked.
The survey above also showed that 64% of employees say their employers only adopt new technology once it achieves mainstream adoption. Cross-departmental integration has also been identified as an issue among employees. Forty-two percent claim their businesses do not integrate data and processes across departments well.
Digital transformation is not an issue for the IT department or senior executives. The key to success is to make it a company-wide initiative that involves every employee.
This removes confusion and keeps communication open and transparent across the company, making challenges easier to overcome.
Getting your employees to accept and welcome digital transformation will require mass buy-in across your entire organization. If you’re skeptical about introducing or moving forward with digital transformation or you are experiencing issues with your current transition, here’s some tactical advice to get your employees on board.
How to Get Your Employees to Buy into Digital Transformation
Mindset and Communication
Communicating your message effectively will first require you to buy into what you are proposing. This may require a mindset shift. Even though you are on board, you may need to demystify the concept so you can fully embrace it.
Read tech articles and consume other media concerning digital transformation and how companies are adopting more technology. The more familiar you are with this trend, the easier it will be to communicate it to your employees and field common questions.
When and What to Communicate
Start early—before you implement any new processes. This will give employees time to prepare and make them feel valued during the process. Transparency is key throughout the entire transition.
Here are some ideas to communicate to your employees:
- Why you are transitioning to digital and how it will benefit them; leverage company and competitor data, create well-researched outlines and educated predictions to corroborate your messaging.
- You will be 100% transparent throughout and keep them updated with the progress, and any challenges or accomplishments.
- Obstacles are part of the journey and will contribute to the success of the project.
- It’s okay to make mistakes. We can be quick to learn and improve.
- Input is always welcomed (your employees’ opinions should help shape the process).
- Employees will be rewarded for progress and completion along the way.
Tailor Your Message
Digital initiatives will affect each department differently. To eliminate confusion and foster collaboration, tailor your message according to the changes and goals of each individual department. This may require more preparation time at the onset but it will mitigate unnecessary issues down the road and make employees feel valued.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
Open door policies are a must. Even if you are proactive with your messaging, your employees will have ongoing questions. It’s better for employees to get answers from you rather than from external unreliable sources. Consider scheduling regular meetings and posting suggestion boxes so employees know you are concerned about their needs and questions.
Be Quick to Respond
As questions come in, be quick to respond so inaccurate assumptions don’t have time to fester. From the beginning of the digital transition all the way to completion and then months after, your employees will have concerns. Keep your inbox closely monitored.
Be Flexible with Experimentation
Have faith in your employees’ abilities and let them experiment (without fear of making mistakes). They may come up with improved processes and better systems, resulting in a feeling of ownership and partnership with your company.
Provide Ongoing Training and Tools
Providing initial training will help employees adapt to the new technology quickly and incorporate it into their workflows. But, technology also moves quickly, so adopting digital transformation may necessitate a company culture shift to a focus on ongoing training. Make learning easily accessible so employees will feel empowered to do their best job going forward.
Consider offering microlearning tools—content that is broken down into bite-sized chunks to target specific topics. For example, if your accounting department is implementing an automated financial tool, instead of offering basic overview training, break the instruction down into smaller topics (P/L spreadsheets, approval workflow automation) so employees can focus and gain small wins quickly.
Provide employees with flexible training approaches, whether online instruction, group training, hands-on or individual mentoring. Enable software solutions that allow employees to train wherever they are, whether in-house or remotely.
Start Small to End Big
If you push DX concepts too fast, it could backfire since employees may view the initiatives as high risk. To ease employees’ concerns and foster a more successful DX campaign, start by digitizing a few organizational processes. Automate specific use cases that have been a burden for employees. This will show employees how digital practices make their job easier so buy-in for more comprehensive projects in the future will be much more probable.
The key is to give employees a taste of the rewards they can experience when undergoing digital transformation, without overwhelming them.
How to Automate Your Business Processes
Eliminate manual processes and workflows, paper trails, unnecessary email threads, chasing down forms and signatures, and wasted time by digitizing your business processes. Use an enterprise tool (all-in-one) so implementation is quick and easy.
frevvo’s simple workflow software offers a simple-to-use, drag-and-drop platform that requires no coding to set up and use. Employees can easily create digital forms, automatically route forms for approval, and integrate with their existing systems. With frevvo, you can automate the following processes to get your employees quickly acclimated to the ease (and rewards) of a digital environment, while saving time and money in the process.
- Employee onboarding
- Purchase orders/requests
- Travel requests
- Vacation requests
- Invoice approval
- Expense approval
- Sales Orders
- And more…
At the end of the day, employees should feel empowered and excited about the opportunities digital transformation can bring to the company. Start slow and effectively communicate the benefits. Stay transparent throughout the entire process. A slow, methodical, well-planned approach to digital transformation will guarantee a successful outcome for your forward-thinking organization.
Want to get started? Here are 5 approval workflows you can get your employees started on today using frevvo.