Change agents could be critical to the success of organisations under pressure to transform their businesses in line with technological advancements. Jacky Carter, Hays group digital engagement director explains that digital transformation is the transformation of a business’s strategy, model and activities through the adoption of digital technologies, while taking advantage of the opportunities they present. A survey by consultancy firm, McKinsey, found transformations are three times more likely to fail than to succeed – so business leaders must ensure they are best prepared before embarking on their company’s own digital transformation journey.
Jacky has successfully evaluated and implemented many technologies during her career with Hays, and recently offered her advice to business leaders looking to use digital tools to transform their business.
People are what determines the success of your digital efforts
In order for a digital change project to succeed, business leaders and their immediate teams need to invest considerable amounts of time building a framework for delivery, such as focusing on making the right technology choices and budgets considerations. However, Jacky says that the human side of digital transformation can often be lost.
She explains, “If the people who will be using this new technology are not engaged and bought in, right from conceptualisation, you may as well have not have implemented it in the first place. Essentially, your digitalisation project will only be successful if people adopt it.”
For a digital transformation project to be truly successful, it is vital the whole company has bought-in to the idea. Jacky says it needs to be incorporated into both the narrative of the company and the day-to-day.
Jacky advises, “Through identifying and using digital change agents a leadership team can communicate and foster buy-in across a workforce of hundreds or even thousands. Essentially, these are the people who will communicate with and engage your wider workforce in the change.”
Jacky says to identify digital change agents you must discover those who are naturally passionate about technology, and how it can transform the way we work and the services we provide as a business. “When I’m looking at introducing a new technology to the business, I will often use this pool of people to help disseminate information and educate the wider business,” she comments. “They are a key part of how we successfully implement change in our business.”
Employees don’t have be working in tech orientated roles or a senior member of staff to be a digital change agent. Your employees will be the ones using the technology, so it is essential they are listened to. It is also important that business leaders don’t avoid employees who may challenge them.
Jacky explains, “Try seeking out a balance of those who are key influencers and positive about change, along with some of those who are resistant to change – encourage them to discuss their concerns openly with you. You may be surprised at how valuable this feedback is. And, once on board, you’ll often find that these people will be your greatest champions of change.”
Business leaders must establish a clear line of communication with their digital change agents and ensure that they are briefed on any recent developments or changes. Change agents can act as a business’s eyes and ears during the process so their feedback is critical to the overall process.
Jacky says “It’s not enough to simply have fleeting, one-off meetings and interactions with your digital change agents. This is a relationship, and like any other relationship, you need to nurture it.
I’ve always found the greatest value when I’ve sought buy-in early into a digitalisation project. Your change agents need to feel that they are part of the change story. If they feel more connected to it, their impact will be greater, as their message and commitment will be stronger.”
Jacky closes by saying, “Digital change agents, or ‘change champions’, have been the most useful weapon in our digitalisation armoury. People are powerful, so I strongly urge you to call on your colleagues to be a part of driving forward the digital change your organisation needs to survive. They are the key to success!”