It is not just you and your team that needs to understand the value of Digital and how the tools work. You need to bring the organisation with you and have training and workshops in place. The transformation is never better than the weakest link in the chain.
This can be linked to reverse mentoring. Along the lines of setting time aside when planning projects to give employees a chance to have ‘brown bag’ sessions, cross-team training and supported learning.
The importance of training
One of the biggest impediments to any kind of strategic change in your company is how people are informed to understand the value of said change. For example, when new tools or processes are put in place, it is natural for your staff to see this as another barrier, until proved otherwise. The easiest way of telling if the change will work is by getting buy-in from as many staff as you can. To achieve this you need to have the right support in place. The start of this support should be training.
If you are planning a transformation of any kind, but especially when evaluating your digital strategy, it’s imperative you have the right skills in place. The likelihood is that you may need to employ some people with these skills already in place, however, you probably have a wealth of employees who are extremely willing to learn these skills and have the capacity to do so, they just haven’t been given the chance. This should also include your leadership team, everyone needs to be onboard and understand what’s required of them to support any transformation. Understanding from the top will enable more support across the business.
But where do you start?
For any digital transformation, you will need champions. People within your organisation that have been part of the process in outlining the transformation strategy and what this will involve and enthusiastic people with the skills and knowledge to fire people up and get others onboard. These are the people you need to support in order for them to step up and start advocating what’s coming.
The first stage is getting your leadership team to buy in. Get them into workshops with your digital champions, take them through the changes planned with the objectives and metrics you’re looking to achieve and why they, the leadership team, are crucial to this process. From here, give them training plans for skill areas that will be vital for them to be of value in this new transformation and give them the knowledge to sell this transformation to any board or staff members that they talk to about it.
Then move forward in sharing the strategy with the rest of the organisation. Plan workshops, over a period of agreed time for members of staff. Keep it to no more than 16 people at each session to achieve focus and give individual attention where needed.
You may want an overall staff meeting to let people know what’s going on, but make sure you follow this up with workshops and conversations on individual training quickly, otherwise people will start thinking that change is bad, until they have more information to prove otherwise.
Empower your employees
The most powerful tool you have is the people you already have working for you. You may need to employ specialists in an area you currently lack knowledge in to come into your organisation, but they should help train these champions. The voice of change is always clearer and more respected when it comes from someone your staff knows and trust.
Once employees are informed continue supporting the change with ongoing training, workshops, mentoring and pairing. Also, think about creating videos for staff to access at any time when needed. Look at maximising your company intranet or wiki as a point of centralisation for information and help. Encourage staff to add content in areas they have specific knowledge, which can then be added to by others. Use incentives for adding content and keeping it up-to-date. Also encourage your management team to read these posts and comment on, vote for or like the best ones. Just knowing that leaders are taking an interest will increase respect for the leadership team.
Having a big bang announcement of change and then expecting change to just happen won’t work. Empower your people to push change and support them to do it.