Digital technologies are having a profound effect on practically every business. Certain industries like communications, media, finance and insurance, and wholesale trade have been quick to adopt digitalization, making use of new tools and approaches in a short amount of time. The impact on other sectors, notably government, health care, construction, and agriculture has been comparably less. Some units within these areas are at the forefront of digital change while others are clearly lagging.
By now it is very clear to every business organization that its success and even its survival is dependent on its ability to get a grip on digital change management. But how can this be done and which are the areas that a firm should focus on?
Many companies make the mistake of focussing on technology while neglecting the people who will be using it. Remember that your firm’s digitalization process will produce the best results when your workforce understands how it functions and the manner in which it can be used to gain a competitive advantage.
New firms, which do not have to contend with the legacy systems and procedures that incumbents are saddled with can quickly gain a lead and take away market share from established companies.
How can a firm ensure that its people are part of the digital change management drive that it is implementing? One important step that you must take is to get the entire company involved in this initiative, not just the individuals in the IT department. Because digitalization is more than just implementing a new tool. It’s a new way of business.
Buying IT assets and increasing your budget for implementing new systems is the easy part. But the only way that your organization will be able to reap the complete benefits that digitalization has to offer is to increase digital usage within your company and its different departments. Because what use are the best tools, if nobody uses them?
The transformation should include utilizing the advantages that new technologies have to offer for improving the manner in which transactions are carried out. Firms will have to relook at the way in which they deal with their clients and their suppliers. The digital change management program should touch every function in your company.
Many activities that have been carried out using traditional methods will need to be changed to take advantage of digitalization. Your digital change management roadmap should prioritize customer-facing tasks. Priority should be given to those areas where the competition is ahead of you. So take a look at each of your departments and facilities. Which are the ones who make the most out of the available tools? Which aren’t and why? What marketing software is your competition using and which are the latest data management tools available for your customer relations department? These are just two...
The need to remain relevant and competitive in the fast paced workplace has seen many organizations digitalize their systems and processes, complementing their established sales channels with multichannel experiences and transacting, shopping or engaging via the web. Thanks to mobile and cloud technologies, a wave of disruption has therefore engulfed businesses across industries, and with no one willing to take the risk of falling behind, this comes with a host of challenges when trying to create a digital workplace.
Digital transformation is now the backbone of businesses, and it entails closely interwoven business processes with cloud technologies, mobile, social, and analytics, in every aspect. In this regard, all the underway technologies or those already in use today within an organization, make up the definition of a digital workplace.
This would include applications used by HR, as well as those that are important to the business, such as instant messaging, tools for virtual meetings, social media channels, email, and so forth. Therefore, the workplace can no longer be limited by employees in a physical space. Communication and collaboration will continue to evolve beyond the natural onsite work groups and giving a boost to innovation, growth, and efficiency of virtual teams.
Digitalization is largely driven by expectations of the modern workforce, with millennials expected to represent about 75% of the workforce by the year 2025. This group always have smartphones within reach, and their excitement is easily triggered by work styles that are not only flexible but also collaborative, and the convenience that comes with mobile experiences. Because of this preference, the expectations and experiences for the end-users are critical in determining which technological choices are made.
About 64% of employees would accept a smaller salary, as long as they can work from another place than the office. Digitalization is the way to attract such talents, and organizations whose online social networks are strong enjoy a 7% improved productivity. This translates to about 87% employee retention rates and a 20% increase in employee satisfaction.
One of the major deterrence of digitalization is the people within a company who are not ready to embrace multichannel capabilities and digital media. It, therefore, calls for time to introduce, develop and sustain a digital corporate culture especially since culture is not something that can be changed overnight with a simple memo from the CEO.
While leaders of a company may have sincere intentions of securing competitive advantage in the digital world, and in spite of investments in helping members acquire the necessary skills, the threat of cultural resistance is an ever present reality. Existing culture, a...
The future of work seems to be moving from physically being present in an office to working remotely. In the face of globalization, cloud computing, internet, and mobile, virtual teams are a reality that businesses can never run away from. In addition, the aforementioned factors improve virtual team communication and thus the success of virtual team operation. According to 34% of the Business leaders at the Global Leadership Summit in London, 50% of their workforce would be working remotely by the year 2020. An additional 25% said that more than ¾ of their staff will not be working in any traditional office come 2020.
Globalization is affecting the way companies are recruiting and retaining skilled workforce. Companies that are able to balance their employees’ needs with their business needs can maintain a competitive edge in the race for talent. Here’s a look at the factors that are driving this trend of virtual teams:
Many thought the high unemployment rates would create a talent surplus. However, this is not true. There is a shortage of great talent in critical positions. Work flexibility is a deciding factor for one in every three workers considered to be a top talent. This statistics is higher among millennials as well as family people who do not have children.
Generation Y (the digital natives) will dominate the workforce in the coming years. Their acquaintance with mobile technologies as well as online collaboration tools – factors which are already transforming the way businesses operate – makes it so natural for them to work remotely. Millennials consider flexible working conditions as a key retention factor for any organization. A research by Deloitte confirms that 88% of millennials wish to have work flexibility.
Adam Henderson of Millennial Mindset also asserts the need for consideration of virtual teams in the following quote: “A flexible approach to work also helps businesses retain their best talent as they are giving their employees an option to do great work, but in a way that fits their lifestyles, providing a win-win scenario for all.”
According to data cited by Gallup, 43% of Americans worked remotely at least part of the time. In this open talent economy, employees are no longer bound by location. The new phenomenon is already redefining the 9-to-5 workday program and research confirms that remote workers are more productive and log in more hours than those in the office.
Now that we’ve looked at the reasons behind the implementation of virtual teams, let’s take a look at the advantages and the disadvantages of creating a virtual team.
First up are the advantages:
We can no longer turn a blind eye to the question of collaboration, especially given that more than 34% of the US workforce is already a virtual workforce, and 50% of the workforce is being projected to be virtual by 2020. For instance, how would you launch a new product with designers in Chicago, the marketing team in Paris, and engineers in Berlin? How do you get all of the participants reading from the same page when they are not in one room? Online collaboration tools provide the answers to the modern virtual working environment – they help virtual teams achieve greater productivity and attain their goals.
Collaboration and online collaboration tools have been found to increase team efficiencies and make it easier to achieve team goals. A study by McKinsey Global Institute confirms that online collaboration tools increased the productivity of workers by as much as 20%-25%. Collaboration tools are so critical in modern day businesses that up to 40% of modern employees wouldn’t mind paying out-of-pocket for their own online collaboration tools to enhance job performance.
Communication is key for virtual teams to achieve their maximum potential. An online collaboration tool that will make it easier for team members to share information, connect, and thus enhance working together both at an individual level and a team level is the ideal tool for you and your company. So when choosing a tool you should consider tools that have:
Most people are busy and impatient with tools that appear strange and complicated. Ease of use greatly influences the rate of adoption by users. The easier a tool is the better.
Therefore, consider the following features when choosing online collaboration tools:
Thanks to the latest technology standards, people have become much more impatient with tools. This also applies to the work processes. The longer the collaboration processes are, the more frustrated team members tend to grow. So when picking out a tool, consider the one that enhances real-time working without a team member having to logout and wait for others to process their files. In particular you should look for tools with:
The news came one afternoon, an employee was announcing her pregnancy. But, due to her advancing condition, she could no longer commit to run the relay for the office team in the Frankfurt Marathon. It was up to me to find a replacement runner.
Looking down at my 10kg excess weight, a man who pays for a gym membership for the sauna, I was ill-prepared to run her 7km of the relay race. My self-awareness did not include the role of runner.
Self-awareness, also known as our identity, is defined by our beliefs about ourselves. We hold beliefs about who we are, what we are and what we can and cannot do. We accept these beliefs to be truths, making them exceptionally powerful. They influence what we do, what we experience and what we learn.
Our beliefs do not only control our minds. They control our bodies. Our bodies react to reinforce our beliefs. If I believe that I am not a runner, I stop running after only 5km, legs aching, lungs starved of air. My inner voice receives confirmation that it is correct, and my running never improves.
Personal identity is so powerful that our subconscious will even take action that will do us harm just to reinforce those beliefs. We collect only the memories, experiences and references that support these supposed truths. For me, the collected “proof” that I was not a runner included coming last in races at school.
So what happened when I, a non-runner, committed to running a relay marathon?
I learned a valuable lesson.
Change begins in the mind. Everything in the world around us began as a thought, the smartphone in your hand, the wedding you attended last week. Thoughts are the foundation of all change. Mastering a new challenge must also begin in the mind.
I decided to train. My thoughts became a desire to master the task at hand.
Following my thoughts, my behaviour changed. I trained. I was getting fitter, running longer, and my beliefs started to adapt. My new identity became stronger. “I am a short distance runner.”
We can all apply this to our everyday lives. To push our limits and progress from the level we are at, we must change our beliefs about our identity. If we can upgrade our beliefs, our actions will follow to reinforce these new beliefs, consciously and subconsciously. It is only this habit which separates us from the people we admire, the people we aspire to be like.
The day came. I ran the relay and more importantly, I enjoyed it. My identity had undergone a major upgrade, I was a person who liked running.
From being the guy in the sauna, I became the guy who organised the office relay team, even volunteering to run the longest stretch at 13km. Being surrounded by “real” marathon runners impressed me, and I began to think that one day I might be at the starting line amongst them. But that day felt a long way off, my belief still held me back, “I’m not a marathon...
The English acronym VUCA is nowadays often used in connection with the ever faster digitization and disruption in the business world. Behind this are the four nouns volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. These are intended to describe the challenges in today's business.
What do we mean by volatility in this context? Volatility means that sudden, unforeseen things happen, for example natural disasters or economic crises. Although events happen unexpectedly, the causes and reasons for them are easy to understand and comprehend in retrospect. Good examples of this are the global financial and real estate crisis of 2008, and more recently, the Coronavirus-induced crisis now. Although the crisis is unexpected for most people, it is always explainable afterwards.
In uncertain situations, it is impossible to draw on past precedents or make forecasts for the future. We simply don't have the information we need to make a reliable judgement. For example, disruptive business models can quickly undermine traditional industries. Start-ups in particular attack entire industries with their products and services; nobody suspects anything, all of a sudden the new market participants are there and change the world overnight.
Nowadays we have to deal with a multitude of decision factors that also depend on each other. People often overwhelm us with the wealth of information available. We then find it difficult to make informed decisions. We see this clearly, for example, with today's school leavers. In my time this was relatively clear for most people, school, Bundeswehr or civilian service and then study or training. Among other things, because there are so many possibilities today, 18-year-olds need a gap year first - and many become depressed because they don't know what to do with their lives.
By this we mean situations in which we have contradictory information. In times of "alternative facts" and "fake news" there is only very rarely clear information; we are dealing with a multitude of news sources that sell us their view of things as truth.
How do we create an environment that involves all active generations of employees? How do we manage to give employees orientation and support in a constantly changing and increasingly complex world? We are allowed to face the challenges of the VUCA world. We are allowed to develop special qualities on the side of our employees, but above all on the side of our managers.
In order not only to survive in a volatile world, but to dominate the market, we must learn to think ahead and anticipate change. This requires more than a single view of the world - employees must be able to network effectively and work together. We should think and act...