Heikki Mikola, Associate Partner
  • Automotive Logistics & Sales
  • When to Thank Your Employees During a Digital Transformation

    Digital transformation is a concept that involves the adoption of digital technologies and their implementation into every area of your business. Embarking on a digital transformation journey involves big changes that will be felt across the whole organization, from your systems to your people.

    Every inch of the transformation is obviously important, and can have a significant impact on streamlining processes, boosting productivity, reducing overheads, managing business risk as well as improving customer experience. However, we shouldn’t forget another important factor in the midst of all the ‘fuzz’ about the gains associated with implementing new enhanced technology – employee expectations.

    From my experience – regardless of what systems are in question – there’s no doubt that the way the transformation is handled from person to person will have the biggest impact on the success of a new software implementation. Managing change is an art, and leading proper organizational change management practices is gratitude toward those who will truly see the project through and the value at the end of the tunnel – your team.

    Besides bringing a number of positive changes, digital transformation is a challenging process, and it’s important to be cognizant of the weight a digital change within your organization bears on your employees, some more than others. Here are a few key contributors to show gratitude for as you embark on this journey.

    1. Employees Resistant to Change

    Whether big or small, a digital transformation will leave some of your employees feeling uncomfortable. It should always be expected that a group of your organization will be resistant to the changes coming about in their day to day operations, the question is – will they be vocal about it?

    Intentional Resistance
    There will be a small group of people whose position in the company/organization will be dramatically impacted by implementing ERP software. This may be someone who has created their own processes and procedures to monitor inventory costing, for example, on their trusted spreadsheet. Introducing a system that automates this task threatens the value they see themselves bringing to the organization, and as a result could push people to be vocal against or even outwardly resist any change or improvement idea.

    How do you overcome this? Show gratitude. Acknowledge the success of their efforts and invented procedures thus far and emphasize how the change will benefit them rather than make their past-tasks obsolete. Address the employee’s concerns head-on and determine a new plan of action for them once the change comes about.

    Unintentional Resistance
    Oftentimes the majority – those who are on board with a new software solution on the surface, but find work arounds to revert back to their old processes when pushed outside of their comfort zone. Maybe they still reference their sacred spreadsheets or store data in places other than the solution provided.

    How to overcome this? Again, show gratitude. Check new processes regularly to make sure everyone is staying on track, while testing and especially post-implementation so you can step in where needed. When you step in, you begin with gratitude with transparency and positivity. Understand that they are doing this because it is what’s familiar, and they want to continue to establish value within the organization. Acknowledge and appreciate that sentiment. Recognize their good intentions and thank them for what they have done before you discuss what they need in order to make the full transition.

    “Listen to What Your Employees Have to Say”

    2. Change affecting on all levels

    Digital disruption affects all levels of the organization. Research shows, however, that higher level leaders are generally much more optimistic about how their organization is adapting to that disruption than lower level employees. This result suggests that leaders may be overestimating how well their organization is responding.

    What is advisable here, is to delegate as much of the integration as possible to your internal team, as it will give them a sense of ownership and belonging within the new confines of the organization. This could include anything from empowering teams to work with the implementation partners to help drive the transformation, to building and brainstorming ideas on how the greater team should be trained come time for implementation. By doing this, the management can show their trust and value in their input and skills as it relates to such an important project. Once the implementation is complete, show your gratitude by thanking them and celebrating the new ERP integration together.


    3. Involved and Aligned Executives

    Executive alignment, or misalignment, is a prominent piece in the success or failure in a digital transformation. Company strategy and general priorities of the organization need to be crystal clear from the top down, otherwise, the implementation team is going to struggle through the process of making decisions and moving swiftly through each phase of the digital transformation.

    If your Executive Team has created a foundation for success, that is something to show gratitude for. Realize that not every organization will have that luxury, and for a C-level executive team to deliver that transparency that trickles down into each manager’s or director’s decision-making process is a big win. Even if the recognition goes from the bottom up. Thank them.

    If your team is not seeing the executive alignment that you wish to see, tap on trusted third-party ERP consultants to help provide the objective insights to the executives themselves. Trust me, your CIO is not doing this intentionally, they likely don’t even realize the impact that it is having on the greater project. Here is also where we can be of help, step in, and have that crucially important conversation around strategic alignment with an executive. This conversation alone can have all the difference in the trajectory of the digital transformation. As with anything, if something seems to be a bit off track, course correct – even if that means managing up.


    Feedback is a two-way street.

    You should regularly inform your employees about their performance, let them know if they should improve certain areas of their work, and praise them for all the effort and hard work they put into completing their tasks.

    In addition to showing gratitude, it’s equally crucial to ask them for their feedback and offer them a more active role in your project or organization in general. Not only will this show them that their voice matters, but it will also provide you with a few potentially good ideas on how to proceed and how to improve your business. Sometimes, your employees would like to communicate that there’s a problem but aren’t sure how to do that. Negative feedback isn’t something that’s easy to deliver to your boss. Nowadays, for this survey chatbots can be used to collect employee feedback anonymously and allow management to obtain valuable insights into what their workforce thinks, needs, and actually wants.

    Happy and engaged employees are every organization’s biggest asset, and their satisfaction with their job translates into happy customers, and subsequently happy stakeholders. Embracing digital transformation can change employee expectations and help you attract, engage, and retain top talent.