For many, digital is unknown, and a lot of people are nervous about the impact on them. Of course, this needs to be managed with good comms plans, training etc. But be aware, as with any transformation, some people might disagree with the direction the company is taking. This is especially true for digital transformation. So expect some “noise”, but make sure your direction of travel is clear. If you try to please everyone you will never achieve transformation, so make this clear to the executives and stakeholders, so you get their buy-in and understanding.
Expect some resistance
Change is never easy. Even when people understand that something has to change – because if it doesn’t they’ll never move forward as a person, group, company, government etc, and doing nothing only amounts to repeating the same behaviour and stagnation – still most people are afraid of it.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw
Achieving something as radical as a digital transformation of your business is no easy task. To transform your company you need to look at every aspect of it, from HR to logistics, products to payroll. Nothing should be overlooked. So it’s perfectly natural that you will receive some resistance across areas of the organisation from people who have doubts whether decisions being made are the right ones for the company. Especially if something similar has been tried before and not succeeded, due to a lack of buy-in and follow through.
No one should be berated for questioning change, what is needed is a clear voice and direction of travel to convince stakeholders, executives, and your employees that the planned approach should at least be tried. You will never please everyone but if you get key people on board to champion the change, ‘own areas’ of the transformation and help guide others through it, once the changes start taking effect the majority will see the benefits and start supporting it. Once this happens, anyone still unsure of the changes will hopefully be convinced by their own team members.
You also need to implement a feedback loop that allows teams to raise what isn’t working, so adjustments can be made where necessary. Having some metrics in place as a guideline to what’s expected will help.
If anyone is truly unhappy, talk to them. Do the changes make them feel less skilled or threatened in any way? Do their new responsibilities not fit into the role they were employed for and they aren’t happy with this perceived change in role? Make sure you have training, workshops, peer-to-peer support or mentoring in place to help them overcome these anxieties. If nothing put forward alleviates their concerns or issues, then there’s nothing more you can do. They may decide to move on, this can’t be helped and you may lose some employees. However, it is more likely you’ve stopped more from leaving as well as attracting more talent, as employees are more likely to join and stay with a company committed to digital progress.
The ability to achieve a clear direction and a consistent, solid message across a company is gained by achieving buy-in from the top and any stakeholders. If everyone is singing from the same song sheet, and knows that change will never mean making everyone happy, but is for the overall protection of the future for the company, and they’re willing to stand together in support of this, the rest of the company will be more convinced.