People power digital transformation

Allan Boyle explains why the employee experience you offer is key to digital transformation.

For years, we’ve been hearing how digital transformation is a people strategy. And not a technology strategy,

A wise piece of advice. 

But one, judging from data released by McKinsey, not often paid heed to. According to a 2019 article published by McKinsey, 70% of digital transformations fail

“Enabling technology is now at the core of every aspect of business. It’s no longer the exclusive domain of interacting with customers”

Unexpectedly, the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns may just have been the thing to help us really centre people in the digital transformation project.

And we need to begin with your staff/team members.

EX is now remote too

Although digital transformation has never been about location per se, there is no denying that having all of your team under one roof made for an easier management experience. With staff working remotely, you’re now needing to move teams in one direction from all over. 

With IBM Smarter Workforce Institute and Workhuman defining Employee Experience (EX) as “a set of perceptions that employees have about their experience at work in response to their interactions with the organization”, it’s essential to pick out the keywords: perception and experience.

One could even draw conclusions that EX is merging ever closer with CX…

Transformation has always been about new ways of working/doing things, and serving your clients more effectively and efficiently. The digital prefix was always about the enabler to do that.

Here’s where one of the, perhaps better, outcomes of the 2020 & 2021 Black Swan, becomes apparent.

Of course technology solutions and tools were available and widely used before the pandemic hit. But there is no doubt that mass adoption of digital transformation strategies that really shifted how organisations operate happened “overnight” as we found ourselves in lockdowns.

Another way of saying this is that enabling technology is now at the core of every aspect of business. It’s no longer the exclusive domain of interacting with customers.

EX impacts the bottom line – a lot

Going back to the point that employees are remote now, and knowing perception and experience are key, think about your:

  • Interview process
  • Onboarding process
  • Contact centre interfaces for support staff 
  • Ordering systems for sales staff
  • Team communication tools and processes 

There are so many different touch points at which your employees are experiencing your business. 

And if those aren’t positive, you’re in trouble. I’d even go so far as to say that without a positive EX, you don’t stand much hope of offering a positive CX.

Accenture released data in 2017 which found that “companies with great EX outperform Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 by 122%.” 

The report also found that the organisations that enjoyed this 122% dividend were actively investing in EX. This included piloting technologies, supporting employees with training, coaching and upskilling opportunities, implementing clear processes and using AI-powered tools to enhance efficiency. 

EX metrics to track

Another Accenture report, this one published in 2019, the last year of the Before Time, says, “Today’s workers are equipped and empowered by technology, incorporating it to perform existing roles in new ways and to adapt for new roles that did not exist in the pre-digital era. With every company making major investments in technology, a renewed focus on the workforce will decide the winners from the losers in the post-digital age: across industries, it’s the workforce that will bring the promise of those investments to life.”

Therefore, tracking EX metrics is needed. However, it’s worthwhile that as we’re speaking about an experience, understanding that some of the metrics will be subjective makes sense. 

Metrics to consider include:

  • Time off – Are employees using their vacation days? Are employees taking sick leave when they’re not ill? Likewise, are they Not taking sick leave when they are ill? Either way this is important data that will flag up problems.
  • Happiness –  This may look like one of the subjective metrics. But measuring it is still worthwhile as a University of Oxford study found that employees who are happy with their workplace are 13% more productive.
  • Employee safety – Gallup’s 2020 study draws a correlation between organisations with good safety practices and engaged employees.
  • Promotion – Do you show evidence of opportunities to grow and develop to your staff?

Also, don’t discount perusals through employee rating sites, such as Glassdoor. Employee satisfaction surveys are a good idea too.

Act on the data

Collecting the data is one thing. 

Acting on it is another. This is where the magic happens.

As we shortly head into the second half of 2022, organisations of all sizes, small, medium and large, need to strongly brainstorm what EX means to them. (No, we’re not talking about pizza Fridays any longer.) Then, it’s time to seriously identify how to incorporate EX into your business strategy and align it with business KPIs. 

Because two things are for sure:

  • The world of work has changed utterly and your employees are aware of the shifting plates.
  • Digital transformation is a people strategy. And not a technology strategy.
Allan Boyle
Allan Boyle is a Business Transformation Specialist and the founder of Saltwater Consulting. He has over 22 years experience in Information Technology and has cultivated a breadth of capabilities across finance, telecommunications and Internet sectors. He helps companies scale well.