6 Ways to Help Employees with Digital Transformation

By Dawn Bowman

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The world is responding positively to the constant evolution of technology. This is seen by the consistent increase in spending on digital transformation.

Research shows that global spending on digital transformation is expected to increase to 3.4 trillion by 2026, a big rise from 0.96 trillion in 2017.

Image via Statista

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic gave businesses an extra hard push to adopt digital transformation as shown by a survey from Statista.

Image via Statista

However, hopping on the bandwagon without thinking of how to help your employees with the digital transformation can do more harm than good.

Your employees are the people who’ll be using this new technology. And as much as they’d enjoy the efficiency that new technology brings, having to stray from the traditional way of performing their role will be uncomfortable.

Forcing this big change on them can be met by great resistance. It could also decrease employee engagement and negatively impact their performance.

That’s why I have prepared this list of 6 tips that you can use to help your employees with digital transformation.

6 Ways to Help Employees with Digital Transformation

Cultivating a pro-digital mindset in your employees is easy if you implement the right approach.

1. Start with the Management

It’ll be hard to help employees with digital transformation if the management doesn’t embrace it first. It’s one of the management mistakes that can hinder a successful transition.

Get the management to master the technology your company is implementing and understand the benefits the digital transformation will have.

This way, they can answer any question that employees ask.

It’ll be easier for these managers to help out any employee who is facing difficulty using the technology.

Accepting digital transformation isn’t enough. The management needs to use the software, applications, and other digital tools the company is using.

Take for instance a situation where your company has adopted a collaboration tool like Slack or any of the Slack alternatives listed by Attrock, but the managers keep making communications through traditional methods like Skype.

Such an action underplays the importance and urgency of adopting the software.

The employees will not feel the need to learn and regularly use the new collaboration tool.

Managers need to model the behaviors that are expected of their team members, such as the willingness to experiment with new technology.

2. Open Communication Lines Involving Digital Transformation

You can’t help employees with digital transformation if you don’t communicate with them. Show them that their ideas and opinions count.

Here’s how to go about it:

Create a Dialogue with Every Level of Employee

Make your employees feel involved in the process, it’ll make them more likely to become active participants.

Here are some ideas:

  • Ask them about the digital improvements that they’d like to see in the company.
  • Take their suggestions in making the digital transformation more efficient.
  • Enquire about any concerns they may have about digital transformation and address them.

Let Them Understand the ‘Why’ Behind the Digital Transformation

If you show employees why a digital transformation is necessary, they’ll be more receptive. Communicate the benefits of digital transformation to your employees and clearly explain how they’ll benefit from it.

Digital changes that help simplify labor-intensive tasks that take up your employees’ time, for instance, will be a welcome change.

The business outcome you’re aiming for with the digital transformation should also be known to every level of employee, not just top management.

You can help employees with digital transformation if you find ways to show them how the process will:

  • Facilitate a better customer experience
  • Reduce operating costs
  • Give the business a competitive advantage
  • Optimize business processes and operations
  • Improve team collaboration

Being aware of these benefits will make your employees more motivated to learn and use them.

3. Adopt Technology That Enhances Employee Experience

Most employees will embrace digital transformation with the expectation that it’ll make them more productive and help them deliver better results.

But if the digital technologies you adopt are not user-friendly or relevant to your business operations, you’re sure to face some resistance.

With poor user experience, employees are likely to lose interest in the tech and go back to the old system of doing things.

You need to adopt technology that enhances the employee experience by making their work easier and quicker, not more complex.

One of the ways to ensure you’re adopting the right technology is to have someone in charge of the company-wide digital transformation.

You can create a team of executive members to steer the changes. Or if your company can appoint a digital transformation manager or chief digital officer, go ahead.

The purpose of these digital transformation leaders will be to ensure the changes you make align with your workplace culture and demands. They’ll help:

  • Create the right digital transformation roadmap for your company
  • Ensure you’re implementing the right IT infrastructure
  • Create and implement strategies that will help employees adopt the IT infrastructure
  • Develop a digital transformation plan based on the employee agility in your company

4. Train Your Employees Properly

Intense training is one of the effective ways to equip your employees with the knowledge and help them with digital transformation.

Equipping your employees with relevant skills gives them confidence around unfamiliar technology. It makes them more open to accepting it.

Training also reduces frustrations when using new software and systems.

It also offers a great opportunity to highlight, practically, the efficiency the new technology will bring to the company.

But don’t just focus on training employees on how to use the digital hardware and software, equip them with other relevant digital skills like search engine optimization and digital analytics.

Here are some ideas to deliver effective training.

Use a Variety of Delivery Methods

Learning delivery refers to the methods or means you use to deliver knowledge to your employees.

Using a variety of delivery methods to deliver your training makes it more effective and caters to the different learning preferences of your employees. For instance:

  • Use videos to make complicated content easier to digest. You can even add subtitles to the video to make the content even easier to understand
  • Have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) available for those who prefer learning through text. An SOP contains written instructions on how to perform certain functions.
  • Include a practical training class where learners get hands-on with the software.
  • Instructor-led training. This is especially important when you want learners to work out scenarios and problems as a group

Employ Gamification

Make the training fun by adding gamification elements. It’ll make the employees more likely to attend the training.

Add game mechanics like setting goals, where employees get points and badges for each goal completed. You can also set up friendly competitions and reward winners with discounts and coupons.

Rewards and employee recognition add excitement to the training. They make employees motivated to learn and implement.

Use Microlearning

Split the training into small bite-sized lessons that are under 10 minutes long. Each lesson focuses on a specific item, such as a feature of the software.

Microlearning keeps learners engaged. Besides, these bite-sized lessons are easier to revisit, which can help employees retain the information and beat the forgetting curve (shown in the image below). 

Image via Wikipedia

According to the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve, information slips out of our minds gradually if no efforts are made to retain it.

That’s why it’s important to conduct regular training sessions, even after a new technology is deployed.

5. Make Room for Mistakes

Each employee has a different learning style, while some employees will understand the intricacies of the tech during the training period, others will learn best on their own.

So, it’s important to find ways to allow your employees to experiment with the tech without fear of the consequences of making a mistake.

For instance, you can have a dummy software, that’s separate from the main software. Employees can try out different functions without worrying about messing up the entire system or software.

Besides, creating room for employees to master the tech tools you adopt enables them to find new, faster, and more effective ways to get results from the tech.

6. Collect Employee Feedback

Don’t just implement the digital transformation and leave it at that, find out how the digital transformation process is running and areas you can improve to help employees adopt it.

One of the ways to achieve this is to constantly seek employee feedback on their experience with the new tech.

For instance, let’s say you’ve recently shifted to a new CRM system. Ask them about the challenges of the customer relationship management software you’ve adopted. Ask for their suggestions on areas of improvement and find ways to implement them.

For employees who’ve found more creative ways to use your software and systems, have them teach the rest of the staff and integrate it into your training.

Over to You

There you have it—6 effective ways to help employees with digital transformation. Use these tips to create a change management strategy that’s tailored to your business.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Start with your top management and ensure they’re setting the right example.
  • Tell your employees the reason for digital transformation.
  • Ensure the technology you adopt is user-friendly.
  • Provide proper and adequate training with the scope to make mistakes.
  • Get feedback on ways to improve the transformation.

Implement these tips to help employees with digital transformation and make the transition easier and smoother. All the best!

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