From using the mobile phone to access any information in seconds to using voice technology to order cabs or play songs, technology has seeped into all our lives on an everyday level. And businesses across are reaping the benefits of this new obsession.
Artificial intelligence, chatbots, the Internet of Things and the like are forcing businesses to transform themselves digitally and infuse new technologies into every function. It’s no longer a choice. However, this cannot be done blindly, without asking questions about how such a digital transformation will affect the workforce. Because nothing will be effective without the people of an organization.
When we talk about people, we refer to the constituents of the cultural fabric of an organization. The debate between compensation and culture has been going on for long. Organizations have finally understood after a lot of reports, studies and experience that culture lies at the heart of success or failure. And the culture is made with employees. If they aren’t happy or made comfortable with ongoing changes, they will leave and this will hurt businesses. It is culture and values that are the top predictors of workplace satisfaction, not pay or incentives.
In order to embrace the wave of digital transformation, it is first important to create a culture that is agile and digital. This needs careful planning and lots of prior analysis. Employee needs and wants need to be rightly measured, and they need to be slowly adjusted to the new surroundings.
Picking the right people for teams might seem like an overwhelming and long process, but it has several long-term benefits. Hiring just to fill up teams with bodies is ultimately going to cost, as it might mean taking the wrong people in. Finding out later than an employee isn’t really the right fit, or facing an ever-increasing employee turnover rate can be avoided if hiring is done on the basis of cultural fit.
In order to be able to do this, the right candidates need to be filtered by asking the right questions and gauging the attitude under a microscope. This needs to be accompanied with investing time and money in hiring people who truly specialize in the role up for grabs. The common values of the organization need to be kept in mind so as to ensure that the new hire is in sync with what is expected individually, as well as at a team level.
One company leading in this example is Zappos. Their cultural fit interview carries half the weight of whether the candidate is hired. Cultural fit is given as much importance as the qualifications and experience of the candidate. New employees are in fact offered $4000 to quit after the first week of training if they realize or decide the job is not for them. Zappos proves that when you get company culture right, great customer service and a great brand become automatic results.
Treat employees like customers
Every organization strives at achieving excellent customer service as it is a competitive differentiator. Plans are laid out, customer journeys are made and it is ensured that the goal behind every new idea is to be able to provide a fabulous experience to the customer. The same philosophy needs to be applied to employees as well.
From the time an employee joins an organization to the time he quits, the journey should be mapped digitally. Digital onboarding of the employee to the company, providing all necessary documents and keeping them safe in the cloud, real-time feedback through performance management software, regular goal tracking, mentoring and coaching should be made digitally accessible as well.
Employees should also feel connected to their team members no matter which part of the world they are at. Collaboration tools should be set in place for meetings, schedule updates and keeping everyone in the same loop. Employees should feel valued and important, no matter whether they are physically present at the office or not.
In short, the entire experience of employees, from start to end should be carefully mapped out by leaders, just like they would do for customers. A workforce that is cared for will stick around for longer, and also feel accountable to contribute positively towards the achievement of organizational goals.
Encourage learning and innovation
Employees want to grow continuously in their professional career and they want to be involved in organizations which understand this aspiration of theirs. 87% of millennials say development is important in a job. Career growth is the biggest contributor to higher retention levels for employees in today’s day and age. Employees should be given all the tools and resources that they might need to accomplish their tasks to the best of their ability.
With the massive rise in the manufacture and use of mobile devices and the internet, knowledge can be accessed at the click of a button. Employees want to be actively learning and on-demand training and access to a pool of rich content are what can keep them satisfied. Training delivered across mediums and devices, along with flexible learning opportunities can give them the assurance that their organizations deeply cares about for their professional development and contribute to employee engagement.
The goal should be to make the relationship between people and technology a symbiotic one, where none threatens the existence of the other. Only then will this digital transformation be a truly successful one.