Modern upstarts and corporate giants share a common goal: Lead the digital evolution. Research from Gartner shows just how important this is, noting that 56 percent of the surveyed CEOs linked improved profit margins to digitalization. Yet knowing this fact and acting upon it are two very different things.
A huge barrier to implementing more tech is the inherent culture shock involved. Not everyone delights in a changing status quo; in fact, most people resist digital shake-ups. As a consequence, careful tactical planning is a must when transitioning to any new technologies, whether your company is large or small.
Turning to Tech Without Turning Off Employees
Even if your business desperately needs to take a quantum leap forward by moving to a cloud-based system, adding a robust CMS, or otherwise employing digitally enhanced processes, you can't move all at once. Getting every team member's buy-in involves serious consideration and a ton of forethought.
At the same time, you can't afford to overlook technology and keep putting upgrades and overhauls on the back burner. Otherwise, you'll risk getting too far behind your competition, as well as potentially losing market share or top talent eager to work more efficiently.
The key to balancing between these two realities is to move forward consistently but without your foot pressed too hard on the gas.
Here's how to map out a successful route to getting team members adjusted to a tech transformation.
1. Make the route visible.
No one should leave work on a Friday and come in on a Monday to totally new workflows he or she knew nothing about. That's a recipe for disaster and perhaps a corporate mutiny.
Your responsibility is to take control of the changes with a schedule that everyone can see and understand. Be ambitious, but at the same time, be reasonable about your timetables. Gather insights from individuals you can trust to gauge how best to make the changes. You may even want to check in with other business leaders for advice.
2. Be transparent.
Your workers need to know the "why" behind any changes you make. Just because you have a good handle on how a particular technology will benefit your corporation doesn't mean your employees will immediately see the big picture.
In order to succeed, every person on your payroll must realize how new technologies will foster better years (and profits) ahead. Michael Hadley, CEO of iCorps Technologies, a strategic IT consulting company, advises, "Explaining the business goals and desired outcomes of the migration-and the imminent payoff for employees-will help generate goodwill toward the process."
As a side note, some workers may be uncomfortable asking questions in front of their peers. Establish an open-door policy so they can make inquiries and you can build trust.
3. Designate a digital champion.
Although you may become a point person for your business's digital transformation, you shouldn't be its only cheerleader. Counterintuitively, neither should your chief technology officer or chief digital officer. The person best suited to communicate your messaging is none other than the chief marketing officer.
This makes perfect sense from a logical standpoint. Marketers are, by trade, effective communicators. They're accustomed to helping others see the value in services and products. Accordingly, you'll want to tap your marketing gurus and turn them into tech evangelists.
4. Tailor your team training.
Not all training applies to all personnel. Your IT staff is likely to have a shorter learning curve than your customer service personnel when it comes to navigating even the more intuitive software. Therefore, you have to strategize how to roll out digital changes in a way that's customized but doesn't take forever.
Be sure to adopt training methods that incorporate a variety of learning styles. For instance, some people do better with self-guided tutorials, and others prefer being able to ask an on-site instructor for help. In many cases, the providers you partner with will offer initial and ongoing support-and the latter is just as integral to your overall success as the former.
As long as technology progresses, you'll need to keep up with its pace. The closer you stay to the front of the pack, the easier it will be to remain competitive, disrupt stragglers, and attract tech-savvy job candidates.