How to ensure employee adoption in digital transformation

Employee Adoption

Digital technology is reshaping industries and societies. Things like big data analytics, augmented reality, 3D-printing, robotics and cognitive computing create a technological shift that impacts practically any business. Some sooner than others, but it is important that the next few years all businesses prepare for the transformation it will cause. Whether it are small, medium or large enterprises. What does this mean for employee adoption, how can you impact their behaviour? How can you change the organisation’s dna into a digital proof version?

Passionate leadership for passionate people

Talented people need space to bloom. Dedication, passion and out of the box thinking requires a climate that allows people to fill in their work strategy the way they think it’s best. It doesn’t matter how it’s done, as long as the results speak for themselves, in a positive sense of course. People constantly need to learn and use new skills to progress. Purely relying on what you have or what you know is a bromide for creativity. I think this at the same time describes the difference between babyboomers and generation X and Y. Especially Millennials don’t blindly accept work floor circumstances. They grew up with the fast pace of digital technology and ride that wave like it’s in their nature.

Having different kind of people on your workforce might require a multi-functional approach. But there are three behaviours that matter to both groups of people, that will enable leaders to connect them: Be transparent, share and enable. Opportunities for continuous learning and development provide employees a chance to make a difference. This is key, because a thriving digital culture should be adapted to the variables that are influenced by digital technology: opportunities and threats, the disruption of markets, changing customer behaviour and ways of working.

A winning culture beats strategy

Sure, strategy is crucial. But without an empowering culture, your strategy will take you nowhere. You need employee adoption. Good leaders should drive a positive set of values forward. Therefore, to get on par with competitors in the market and beyond, organisations need to attract the best leaders and employees.

As a leader you have four building blocks to achieve this:

  • Create awareness. If people know what is possible through the desired behaviour, they are more willing to change.
  • Make sure people understand. Let people know what is expected from them and what behaviours enable them to live up to those expectations.
  • Recognise desired behaviour: positive feedback is the acknowledgement of behaviour, effort and accomplishments. It increases chances of keeping the right people at your company.
  • Stir up motivation. This compels employees to act through intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

This is what start-ups are mostly good at. Start-ups always struggle with budget challenges, so they rely less on the pay. The human approach helps them to attract and keep people. Awareness, understanding, recognition and motivation are the enablers that incentivise expected behaviours.

Passion = creativity= innovation

Digitisation is about a transformative shift in technology, that is impacting both the government and individuals. Earlier I wrote about the six drivers of change that will change the way we work and interact socially. It describes technological developments that are enabling efficiency and globalisation.  Also, digital transformation is crucial for the way businesses operate and how the customer adoption process will go.  Stimulate passion and creativity will originate from it: behold the best seed for innovation! The inside of an organisation reflects on the outside. If you treat your employees well, they will treat your customer well.

And although you can’t force culture on people, you can create an environment where the desired culture can emerge and flourish. Whether your organisation will succeed depends on how your people connect with your culture. To stimulate employee adoption you should hire cultural fit or mould people cultural fit. Pick your choice.

Arjen van Berkum is columnist, motivator, bon vivant, innovation fan and visiting lecturer at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). He is founder and Managing Director of Betula Services. At Betula Services they believe in co-creating the best possible value chain. They have the answer to complex issues surrounding Resource Management, driven by innovation, leadership, HR processes and performance management. By making you successful Betula Services gradually phases themselves out - the result of co-creation.