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Bruce White - 03.15.2019

Five Ways to Encourage Employee Buy-In for Digital Transformation

The decision has been made. Your company will undertake digital transformation, a decision that may have extensive ramifications for those with hands-on duties at the mid and lower levels of the company.

But digital transformation isn’t just about updating systems and enhanced communication tools. So it’s no surprise that announcements about digital transformation may initially be met with weak smiles and polite golf applause as teams with hands-on responsibilities realize they will be operating within new, unfamiliar processes and administrative systems.  

Throughout the digital transformation process, these employees are your go-to, hands-on subject matter experts with the in-depth knowledge you need about current legacy systems. But where they have been masters of their domains in the past, these experts may be anxious living with changes they did not initiate and may quietly resent.

Little do they know they are about to be empowered for success with more data than ever before, with improved digital skill sets that can lead to higher incomes, and a workplace culture that thrives on collaboration. Here, then, are five ways to get employees to jump aboard when your digital transformation train is ready to leave the station.  

1. Encourage Open Communication

We’ve all experienced that disconcerting, out-of-the-loop feeling. So, keep in mind that that leadership and management may know their roles in the digital transformation process, but lower level employees may be in the dark and feeling threatened about their job duties or even job security. Be open about the process. Share successes, challenges and keep everyone up to speed with regular updates. Seek out and ask rank-and-file employees for their input and how they can contribute to the overall success of the project. There will be skeptics, so be sure to take feedback seriously and respond to every concern.

2. Customize DT Benefits to Fit Your Audiences

In many ways, digital transformation is about changing how teams work together. Every department will have a vested interest in your company’s digital transformation, so tailor the benefits that come with digital transformation to the interests of each department. For example, Sales and Marketing will gain access to actionable real-time analytics that improve the company’s responsiveness. Support staff will be freed from the tedium of triggering and managing time-consuming emails. Customer service can be more proactive as digital channels expand to feedback sources like social media.

3. Invest in Training

Things will be changing fast, so help employees gain the skills and confidence required to thrive in this new environment. Cut frustration off at the pass with immersive, hands-on training that demystifies new systems and helps employees become masters of their new, improved domains. In addition to acquiring new skills, training is a signal to employees that they matter and play an essential role in the success of your new business model.

4. Empower Experimentation

Many employees will find themselves out of their comfort zone. With new systems in place, encourage employees to increase their own efficiency and productivity by experimenting with new systems freely, without fearing the consequences of mistakes. Let them know that setbacks and obstacles are valuable contributions to overall success, ultimately refining processes into fine-tuned machines driven by real-world experiences.

5. Keep Buy-in Once Your Have It

You put a lot of effort into preparing and empowering employees for their contributions to your overall digital transformation success. Don’t let things fall off once digital transformation launches. Seek out employee feedback and address any concerns. Share successes along the way and recognize innovations. You’ll keep the end-user support you need for ongoing success.

In the long run, digital transformation is about more than technology. It’s about fostering informed, well-trained and empowered employees. Sagepath has been a sherpa for digital transformation for companies both large and small across many industries. If you think your company is ready to take the leap forward to streamlined processes, better sales and marketing alignment and greater revenue, we’re here and ready when you are.