In today’s competitive marketplace, digital transformation is a requirement for almost every sector. In addition to the integration of new technologies, it involves updating the way a company operates, including its culture. Even if we don’t think about it at first glance, corporate culture is one of the pillars of digital transformation. It includes the interests of the human being, which we tend to set aside. Yet, the facts are there, according to a study by the Boston Consulting Group on 40 digital transformations: companies that focus on culture are 5 times more likely to perform well than companies that have neglected it.
The integration of new technological tools is essential today. However, to ensure their optimal use, employees must be ready and able to handle them. This is precisely where corporate culture comes into play. Although the role of digital transformation is to stimulate business growth, it must also improve the work processes of employees. In particular, in order to make their work easier and more efficient and allow them to be key players in this growth.
What is corporate culture?
Corporate culture refers to the beliefs and behaviors that determine how a company’s employees and management interact and handle outside business transactions. Often, corporate culture is implicit, not explicitly defined, and develops organically over time from the cumulative traits of the people the company hires. A company’s culture is reflected in its dress code, hours of operation, office layout, benefits, sales, hiring decisions, customer treatment, customer satisfaction, and other aspects of operations. (Investopedia)
According to the Harvard Business Review, the six components of a differentiated culture and a sustainable organization are as follows:
1. Vision: A great culture begins with a vision or mission statement.
2. Values: A company’s values are at the heart of its culture.
3. Practices: Of course, values are of little importance if they are not embedded in a company’s practices.
4. People: No company can build a coherent culture without people who share its core values or who are willing and able to adhere to them.
5. Narrative: Every organization has a unique story. And the ability to discover that story and turn it into a narrative is an essential part of cultural creation.
6. Place: Place shapes culture. For example, open architecture is more conducive to certain office behaviors, such as collaboration.
When a corporate culture already exists and needs to undergo a major change, it is necessary to :
- avoid losing all the work that has been done before,
- and that the people who helped shape it do not feel left out.
6 key steps
Given its continuous nature, digital transformation requires a culture that supports innovation. An article by McKinsey entitled Culture for a digital age explains that “functional and departmental silos, fear of taking risks, and the difficulty of training and acting according to a single vision of the client” are the three main cultural issues that prevent more companies from succeeding in the digital transformation.
Preparing teams for change
Like any change in life, human beings are not necessarily open to change in the workplace. Indeed, the first reaction of employees to a new practice is usually hermetic. It requires efforts to change habits and learn to use new tools or processes. This skepticism generally leads to a drop in productivity and frustration that puts the company in a state of embarrassment. It takes a lot of time to master new concepts, understand and memorize different procedures. So the one thing you should not do is to put your employees in front of a fait accompli. Management must take the time to prepare the troops for change. Several months in advance, it must clearly communicate to them the steps that will follow. This allows the different teams to get used to their new reality.
Implementation of a change management strategy
Let’s face it, a change in a company needs a team fully dedicated to its execution. First of all, this team must put in place a strategy to implement the new measures in a gradual manner. Then, a project manager must be appointed to ensure that employees are involved in the introduction of the new measures. He or she is also responsible for drawing up a concise plan to monitor each stage of the transformation. And finally, the team must develop an internal communication plan to regularly inform the entire company.
Involvement of all teams in the transformation
Today’s companies give a voice to the human being who gives of his heart to lead them to success. Employees increasingly express themselves on what they consider to be beneficial or not for the company they represent. It is therefore normal to ask them for their opinion when it is time to make a major change.
- use questionnaires, surveys, or group meetings to take their suggestions, ideas, opinions, etc;
- talk to them beforehand and involve them in the decisions so that they are not discouraged;
- offer them training so that they can learn how to best use the tools that will become part of their daily lives. Training is synonymous with saving time and financial resources.
Listening to the teams
Digital transformation is a process that can be very long and sometimes fraught with pitfalls. Management needs to have a strong enough shoulder to deal with employee concerns and frustrations. A digitized company cannot become digital without considerable effort on the part of all teams. Knowing that we are human and that we have our moments of doubt, it is essential that management take the time and resources to offer its employees tools and/or methodologies to accompany them when they feel the need. A lost and worried employee must not be left in the dark. On the contrary, they must be listened to and supported to adapt to the new reality.
Regular internal communication
To keep employees up to date, remember to send regular reports on progress. We can find in the report the :
- Success stories.
- The objectives.
- Upcoming training courses (if any).
- Unplanned changes (if any).
- Performance indicators (number of users, level of satisfaction, return on investment, turnaround time, etc.).
Remain constant over the long term
The transparency and attentiveness shown during the digital transformation process must not disappear once the implementation is done. The corporate culture must be constantly nurtured so that employees remain loyal and motivated. It should not be forgotten that they are an indispensable lever for the company’s sustainability and that without them, the transformation cannot take place.
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