Organizations are now more than ever focused on remaining relevant and having a competitive advantage in the continuously changing business landscape; this makes them work very hard on how to make their business processes highly efficient. New technologies are being integrated, changes are going on in their organizational structures, and there are concerted efforts at transforming organizational cultures.
A study conducted on 100 Fortune 500 brands reveals that a few years back, cybersecurity used to be prioritized above every other thing, but for the 2021 budget, 77.3% of their CIOs said they would give digital transformation the number one spot; if this is not a glaring indicator as to where the business world is focusing on, then nothing can be. Since the attention has been largely on cybersecurity before now, what has brought about the dramatic shift?
A business transformation program requires a lot of resources; you cannot, therefore, allow it to fail. The way businesses are run, especially after the COVID-19 outbreak, has deemed it necessary that you must leverage a lot of apps to effectively conduct your business transactions.
The physical workspace has virtually disappeared, and that is a form of business transformation. Can integrating new technologies and purchasing new apps be enough to bring about business transformation?
According to the Kotter change model, the success of any business transformation program depends on the ability, support, and cooperation of the employees. There is, therefore, the need to explore how employees can effectively accelerate your business transformation program.
Change to organizational culture
Your organization must have values, expectations, and practices that employees must imbibe during the process of onboarding, these generally guide and inform their actions while carrying out their routine tasks. A great organizational culture showcases positive traits and enhances good performance.
Unfortunately, employees can rigidly hold on to these values, practices, and expectations. Where this happens, a business transformation program will hit pockets of resistance unless employees are convinced of the need.
They may see your transformation program as disruptive and not in tandem with what the organization holds dear. Employees can also see it from the angle that they can lose their positions to automation and other new technologies you have to integrate.
It can also be from the point of view that, “we have been doing all these and getting results, why must we change our old ways?” This is why you need their buy-in, support, and understanding.
There is an urgent need to transform; this will make the organization more competitive; employees need to understand this and imbibe this sense of urgency. The competition wants to take over your market shares and that means they can lose their jobs; they must be made to understand the danger of not transforming the business to improve sustainability and meet changing customers’ expectations.
To ensure that your employees don’t resist further transformational programs, your organizational culture must harp on innovation. A culture of innovation ensures that employees are disposed to creative thinking; this goes a long way to ensure they support your ideas of business transformation.
The need for effective communication
Most likely, the CEO would have initiated your business transformation program with the support of the CIO and maybe the other C-suite members. The vision of the CEO must be effectively communicated across all departments.
If all employees do not key into the program, you will have difficulties in the execution. Business transformation programs can be holistic, and that means they will necessarily affect every department.
There must be channels to communicate what is happening as well as to get feedback from employees; this is more so in the situation where employees are not operating from a physical workspace. Employees must not work in isolation.
By communicating signs of progress and wins, employees across different departments get to know that their effort is yielding the necessary fruit and is not in vain. This will ginger them to put in better performance since they will realize that they are contributing to the wellbeing of the organization.
There is a very high need for collaboration among employees; tasks may need to be complementary, and it’s only through collaboration that employees can complete such tasks. Collaboration tools may be among the new technologies you need to deploy.
Even if employees work remotely, you can use collaboration tools for video conferencing to enhance virtual meetings where employees can get to share ideas and discuss both difficulties and successes. You can leverage collaboration platforms such as Zoom to provide virtual meetings for employees who work remotely if your organization cannot afford to acquire such facilities.
Collaboration is also necessary where you need to outsource some tasks. Employees must learn to accept external bits of help and expertise from professionals who are not members of the organization. Being antagonistic to professionals who are not direct employees will stall the progress of the program.
Apart from employees, there is also the need for collaboration among the C-suite. Employees will be pushed to put in a greater amount of effort when they see a high level of commitment from the C-suite; this can only be possible when there is a collaboration between the CEO and the other executives.
If executives put up a nonchalant attitude towards your business transformation program, employees can easily read their body language and that will affect the level of commitment they too put into it.
Create a select group of volunteers
Among your employees, there will definitely be some who genuinely believe in transformation; this set of employees don’t need coercion. They understand that change is the only thing that is constant and will readily give in to change or transformation.
You need them as volunteers to pass the message across to other employees who may want to put in some resistance. In most organizations, there is a code of understanding and trust among employees.
It’s easier for one employee to convince another than for a member of the executive to do so. While at this, you must also understand the need to celebrate wins as well as employees who perform exceedingly well.
Putting your house in order and implementing these tips will immensely and effectively accelerate your business transformation program.