How to Align Workplace Digital Transformation and Employee Experience

Paul Miller, the CEO and Founder of the Digital Workplace Group, describes the digital workplace as the "virtual, digital equivalent of the physical workplace". In a way, it is a natural evolution of the traditional office, whose walls have been taken down by today’s integrated, here-and-now, remote access environment.

The digital workplace is all about the employees’ ability to connect, communicate, and collaborate. The three actions lie at the heart of the concept and constitute a large part of employee experience. Breaking down the barriers that impede these interactions is the goal of any organization on the way to digital transformation. 

People, Process, Technology

The people, process, and technology (PPT) framework has been helping companies to assess and improve their operational efficiency since the early 1960s. It’s still a handy scheme to remember when embarking on the road to digital transformation.

Every day, people work using technology while processes (are supposed to) streamline interactions between the two. If you want to put employee experience in the center of your digital workplace strategy, start by clarifying how your employees prefer to work. Namely, which technologies and processes they rely upon, and which make them struggle. 

You may realize that there’s a thin line between employee empowerment and distraction. The abundance of apps and rules diverts employees from completing their tasks. The modern workforce, especially Millennials and Gen Zs, expect a seamless tech experience and run from overwhelming procedures. Anything less than plug-and-play technology and simple, straightforward processes is a direct road to disappointing workplace experience. 

Internal Communications

If there’s one thing we know about organizational change, it’s that people are predisposed to defy it. Digital transformation is not an exception. McKinsey reveals that small companies (<100 employees) are 2.7 times more successful in completing a digital transformation than large ones (>50.000 employees). 

The more people, the harder it is to gain their buy-in. Employees can resist change if they are not convinced it’s necessary, can’t understand it, or are afraid of it - which is why internal communications are critical to a successful digital transformation. Once your vision is aligned with each and everyone in the organization, innovating becomes much easier. 

Enable your workforce to understand the benefits and strengths of the new processes and technologies. Encourage stakeholder support: ask team leaders, managers, and other key individuals to promote digital transformation and highlight its benefits. Another way to deliver your message is to develop employee personas. Marketers use persona descriptions of their ideal customers to build targeted strategies. Similarly, you can draw outlines of different types of employees. This exercise can help generate creative ideas on how to build trust in digital change among different people. 

Learning and Talent Development

Smooth digital workplace change is more likely when organizations scale up learning and talent development, highlights the above mentioned McKinsey report. 29% of companies that report successful transformations offer programs to develop skills for coaching others in new ways of working (nearly twice the share of companies that do not). A similar tendency is seen at companies who provide multi-session learning programs to train employees on new behaviours and mindsets.

Digital transformation is not self-explanatory. New technologies can add a lot of stress to your employees’ daily life. You can alleviate it by training and reskilling. After all, most people pursue ambitions to develop their skills, broaden their responsibilities, and climb the career ladder within a company. Therefore, your efforts to align digital transformation and employee experience strategies might make a solid foundation for continuous learning culture. 

Successful digital transformation is not possible without a positive employee experience. Alignment between people, processes, and technology, open internal communication, and talent development initiatives can facilitate the creation of digital workplace values and sync them to the best employee experience practices. 

Topics: Workplace experience

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