News Highlights: How can technology leaders take people on their journey to digital transformation?
Roland Emmans, Head of Technology Sector at HSBC UK Commercial Banking, explains how technology leaders are driving people on their digital transformation
Tech leaders must demonstrate a vision to include everyone in their digital transformation.
People don’t like change, that’s how we are often led to believe. With the technological revolution of the past ten months, how can companies ensure that their people are engaged and join them on their journey to digital transformation? More than two-thirds of all digital transformation fails1 and in most cases this is because organizations are forcing their people to change rather than involve them in the process and develop new systems around the feedback they receive.
In the end, people are very simple and respond to three things:
- What is their advantage
- What interests them
- What is she hurting?
It is essential for technology leaders to understand that digital change can very often be seen as a threat and that it can be difficult for people, especially if it happens all the time. Whether it’s an automated process replacing something that has been manually completed for a long time, or something technical that employees might be concerned about adjusting their skills. From the conversations we have with customers, we know that there has been a massive technological change in recent months, with many companies accelerating four or five years of digital transformation in one go.
From ways of working to evolving software and new working methods, we have all seen tremendous changes during the pandemic over a long period of time. It is said that it takes six weeks to form a habit and we are well past this stage, so as technology change becomes permanent rather than temporary, it is critical to keep people focused on the future and not to look back to the past. To some extent, the great amount of change over the past year has increased people’s tolerance, but many companies are still in the midst of this digital transformation. They are increasingly focused on their ‘new normal’, delivering a permanent transformation of the technology strategy for the future to deliver long-term sustainability and success. There are several things to consider in order to implement these strategies effectively.
Defining the vision, strategy and direction – the role of the CTO
According to Luis Weir, Oracle DU CTO in Capgemini UK, CTOs should have a holistic aerial view of their organization. Read here
Show a vision
I think the most important thing is to sell a vision to people. Leaders must make it personal for their employees, make it clear that the introduction of this new digital tool will make their lives easier and their productivity more efficient. Leaders can try to do this by winning hearts and minds through demonstrations and simple, clear communication. For example, if a company introduces a new collaboration tool, it should make it clear how
that benefits the employees. Will email traffic decrease? Make direct communication more effective? Or make more time to focus on other priorities? Demonstrating these benefits will put people in the right mindset from the start.
It’s also important to ask for immediate feedback on transformational change programs. Ensuring that people are involved from the start fosters engagement throughout the process and helps leaders understand how their employees feel about the change and impact within their teams. Identify Proponents AND Proponents Digital change champions are nothing new, but they are critical to supporting the rollout of digital transformation at the forefront of a business. These people can answer frequently asked questions, provide an additional means of communication to leaders and encourage employees to make the most of the new tools that are available to them. It is also essential that senior figureheads become champions of change and adopt the new tools quickly.
Demonstrating understanding of new tools from the top will impact broader behavioral change and encourage employees to participate in the transformation. In addition, leaders must look to the advocates of digital change within their teams. These people would not be ‘hired’, so to speak, but are the most engaged employees who are eager to learn and can quickly apply the changes to their own advantage. By identifying and interacting with these individuals, leaders can find success stories and good examples to promote more to those less convinced of the changes. To be flexible
We are seeing more and more iterative changes in technology, and software in particular, and we are getting more used to it. For example, when Apple updates their mobile devices to a new iOS, it is often quickly followed by further updates that fix bugs and kinks in the software. People are getting more used to this approach and understand that new endeavors can run into teething troubles.
It is important to be transparent about this, to communicate well and not to make too much promises about resolutions while solving problems as quickly as possible. A more iterative approach also lends itself to two-way communication and keeps employees engaged. Think of it as the tide coming in slowly instead of a tidal wave of change all at once – it’s much easier for many people to adapt to it. We are also seeing an increase in tools that companies can use to measure engagement. Whether that’s through pop-up widgets that conduct quick surveys daily or weekly, or monitor apps that provide collections of sentiment about how employees feel.
In summary, I would say that tech leaders need to ensure that transformational change is something their people are involved in, not something done to them. They should remember that digital transformation programs rarely run smoothly, but the ability to adapt and interact with people gives them the best chance for success and makes a significant difference to the long-term future of their business .
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