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People-focused digital transformation: What benefit does it have for your employees?

(Image credit: Image Credit: Chombosan / Shutterstock)

When it comes to successful digital transformation, a company requires support from everyone; from each member of the senior leadership team down to every contributor.

However, there’s no disputing that the buck has to start with the leadership team - their support is critical. If their influence, enthusiasm, and proactivity aren’t present, employees will become apprehensive towards change and a transformation into a digital-first culture. If a leadership team is excited and making way for the business to update manual processes to digital ones, employees will be keen to follow suit.

A vital element of a leadership team’s responsibility when undergoing a digital transformation is to keep employees’ interests at the forefront of the change. If employees are engaged and motivated, they can carry this message to other key stakeholders, such as prospective customers and employees. A positive knock-on effect in hiring, employee advocacy and organizational culture will then follow suit.

Below, we’ll explore the benefits of digital transformation on the people at the core of your company, and how this can improve your business.

The impact of a digitally savvy workplace on current & prospective employees

“Digitally mature” companies, where leadership teams are proactively jumping on and implementing digital trends, are increasingly becoming a must-have for job-seekers.

From attracting to retaining talent, organizations that are pioneering a digital strategy for their processes, efficiently using technology and adapting in line with digital, will undoubtedly see more success than organizations that don’t.

The focus is no longer just on what an employee can bring to a company but also on what the company can deliver to the employee to develop their skill sets in preparation for the next step of their career. And, with research revealing that the benefits of a digital-first company include improved operational efficiencies as well as having a faster time to market, it’s clear why a prospective employee would opt for a digitally transformed company over one that still runs with mostly manual processes.

Factors such as remote working, the use of technology to improve productivity and developing skills away from an office-based environment can lead to people enjoying their jobs more. In a pre-digitally transformed world, things such as having a company-given laptop to work from home was viewed as a ‘benefit’ or ‘perk’ to a company - but shouldn’t this just be the norm? Especially if we’re seeing employee productivity rates spike as a result.

Undergoing a digital transformation is undoubtedly going to result in a season of change for all employees - whether it’s been in the planning stages for a while, or as an urgent change resulting from a pandemic such as Covid-19. In either situation, a change management strategy is a necessity. We’ll explore employee personas in further detail in the next section, however, it’s essential to acknowledge all types of employees within your brand; those that have been accustomed to manual processes for years and years whilst working at the organization, and younger generations who view change as exciting and fresh.

For leaders to manage employees through this period of digital change, it’s critical to create conditions in which employees can recognize their potential and feel excited about the prospect of actioning this potential once the digital transformation has taken place.

How can the use of data take a digitally-led workplace to the next level?

Once an organization has undergone a digital transformation, there will be multiple opportunities to continually improve employee experience,

From joining a company, through to the training, development and performance reviews an employee receives, employee experience should follow a similar process to the type of journey you’d have for customers and clients. For many organizations, digital offerings for staff would look very different if they provided the same standard of experiences to customer-focused offerings.

By gathering data to further develop your digital transformation, you’ll secure a brand new perspective on what your employees need to enhance their performance and enjoy their time at work a lot more.

Start with creating employee personas. Just as you would with a customer persona, you should have more than one employee persona - for example, a recent graduate who has just joined your marketing team, and a member of your finance team who has been there for over ten years, would have two very different personas. This means that what a positive employee experience looks like for each of those personas will differ greatly.

From there, start to gather data through regular feedback surveys and focus group discussions on different elements of the employee journey. Remember to cross-reference results between persona groups too, so you can be sure to tailor your employee experience journey to each individual. With this data, you can then take action and create strategic changes to the digital processes you have in place. Be sure to measure and evaluate these changes against your business KPIs and goals - such as how often team members are utilizing platforms such as Slack or task management services - to ensure that these actions are making positive contributions to your employee experience.

How can a digital-first culture enhance your employee advocacy strategy?

To put it simply, when your employees feel empowered at work, employee advocacy has a higher chance of occurring naturally. The likelihood that almost all of your employees will be on at least one social media platform is high due to the digital world that we live in. Creating a company culture that staff are proud and passionate about will only further encourage them to be advocates for your brand.

In a digital world, consumers are inundated with targeted ads and social media posts that they can become neutral to them - and it’s harder to single out the legitimate businesses, who have strong messages and morals, from the rest. That’s why brands need credible and reliable advocates to represent their services and values within their own networks and beyond.

Employees are your most loyal stakeholder, but they require resources in order to be empowered. For example, whilst many employee advocacy strategies may incorporate the creation of shareable content, consider just how easy it is for employees to share the content with their direct network. Continually seek opportunities for employees to be advocates for your business without adding any additional pressure or time-consuming requirements.

Ultimately, when undergoing a digital transformation, it’s gratifying to keep employees at the core of your strategy and approach. Suppose you don’t keep up with the digital changes that every industry is going through. In that case, you’ll fall behind - and, at the same time, if you don’t manage this change in a way that will ensure your employees are your biggest advocates, it will result in the loss of credibility and loyalty amongst your workforce.

Daniel Ku, Director of Marketing, PostBeyond