How to Ensure Digital Transformation Positively Impacts Employee Productivity
The most obvious reason for embarking on any digital transformation initiative is to improve customer experience. This ensures that an organization remains relevant in the market.
However, where customers determine the fate of your product or service in the market, employees determine if the product or service is even available in the market. It’s, therefore, very important that you must take into account the employee while going through digital transformation.
The satisfaction, comfort, and happiness of the employee must be part of your digital strategy. Your digital strategy and the role it plays in the well-being of employees determine employee productivity.
What is employee productivity?
Employee productivity is the ability of your employee to produce high-quality work. It’s a measure of total output/total input, and it is an integral part of an employee’s efficiency. As the indicator of an employee’s efficiency, digital transformation revolves around employee productivity.
Every organization must focus strongly on employee productivity since ROI to a very large extent depends on it.
Factors that can affect employee productivity include:
- Side attractions – The volume of emails an employee attends to, the amount of time spent on social media, interruptions from coworkers, especially in the physical workspace, distractions from friends and family in a remote work setting, and similar disruptions
- Employee’s personal attributes – When an employee is bereft of the necessary skill, inadequate training for the task, or lacks the requisite knowledge to operate.
- Motivation and conviction – Employees’ mindset and attitude towards work.
- Work Environment – Physical workspace or WFH, coworkers, or company culture
- Tools and Technology – Computers, apps, software, and other job-related tools such as collaboration tools for remote work.
While all the above affect the contributions of an employee, digital transformation is another ball game entirely. The organization will adopt new technologies, change organizational cultures, revamp legacy systems, may lay off employees, and completely overhaul processes and systems.
There is no way these dramatic changes will not negatively affect employee productivity if you do not properly handle a digital transformation. The following are some areas you must focus on to ensure your digital transformation initiatives positively impact employee productivity.
1. Tools and technology
A digital transformation requires the adoption of emerging technologies to better serve the customer. However, these tools and technologies must be used by employees.
The essence of adding new technology, tools, and software is to help the employees in carrying out their tasks faster and more efficiently. This enhances employee productivity and customer satisfaction.
But then, when an employee is not comfortable or lacks the skills to effectively utilize these tools and technologies, the resultant effect will be frustration and maybe depression. This effect can be heightened if the CEO and other supervising managers don’t understand what employees are going through.
To improve employee productivity in the age of digital transformation, employees must be trained to handle any new technology, apps, and software the organization wants to adopt and integrate into its processes.
The best way to go about this is to have a digital strategy that clearly spells out the procedure for the training; thinking that employees must quickly grasp any innovation that you intend to introduce may not be fair on them. There is the need to understand that they have been using some systems, and it will take some time for them to adapt to another.
2. Organizational culture
The culture of an organization is so important in what employees do. Since it is now clear that employee productivity depends on the input and output of employees, radically changing their cultures and beliefs may be detrimental to the cause of the organization.
They can resist some forms of changes, and when this is allowed to linger, the organization suffers. Products or services will not be available, and end-users may have to go for alternative sources.
When employees are disengaged, especially when they are resisting a form of cultural change, the organization feels the brunt, and according to Statista, only about 68% of employees globally were engaged in their work as of March 2020.
Looking at the difference, what is glaring is the revenue organizations have lost due to this disengagement. Going a step further, you may not need to ask why approximately 20% of new businesses fail in the first two years of operation.
3. Work environment
WFH may not be a completely new phenomenon, but to the greater majority of employees, it’s a novelty. It became a norm because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before the pandemic, employees knew they had the 9 to 5 schedule, everything worked towards that, but the pandemic has changed all that now. The pandemic did not only change employees’ lifestyles, it also exposed them to tools they had to adopt to ensure smooth operation.
Employees had to digitally transform suddenly, and while doing this, they essentially have to cope with the stress. There is no way this would not affect employee productivity negatively.
WFH and the technologies that were necessary to do this effectively required that employees must gradually adjust. There was the necessity for more collaboration between workers who are now operating from different locations instead of one physical workspace.
Collaboration tools such as zoom, among others, became the means for telecommuting; employees must do this while attempting to isolate themselves from the distractions from family and friends. By any standard, this was not an easy task for any employee.
However, the disposition of the CEO can go a long way to make employees see the urgency and necessity of this change. If employees understand that the organization can collapse if they don’t quickly pick up the necessary knowledge they need to ensure smooth WFH, they will understand the need.
The fact that their welfare with that of their dependents is at stake is another turning point. The CEO must do this in such a way that employees will key in.
Every step of the digital transformation must be understood, and every employee must see the need. And, where necessary, the CEO may seek the input of employees.