With everyone racing full-steam ahead in their digital transformation efforts, there are countless questions that arise and require consideration: Are our processes streamlined? Are our current systems capable and being fully utilized? What new technologies do we need to invest in, and how do we make it all work together? How do we use these tools to maximize customer experience and create new revenue streams?

With the sheer volume of considerations that companies are weighing, there’s a very simple aspect of digital transformation success that often gets overlooked – employee adoption. Without employee adoption, your digital transformation efforts will fail – period. Resistance from the front lines is the kiss of death for digital transformation. I don’t think any company disagrees with this notion, but I do think plenty drop the ball in this area for one reason or another.

To avoid the digital transformation kiss of death, you must slow down just a bit and carefully weigh how to engage and motivate your workforce so that digital transformation is something they are excited about instead of something they will fight tooth and nail. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Examine your past failures. Many organizations have spearheaded initiatives and made technology investments that have gone awry. It happens. But as you move forward with your digital transformation efforts, it is worth examining these past failures for two reasons. First, you need to ensure you don’t replicate your mistakes. Taking the time to look at what went wrong will help you create a solid strategy for success this time around. Second, those failures have a direct impact on your employees’ willingness to get on board with the next initiative. Being able to articulate that you’ve seen the err of your ways and describe what will be done differently this time around will be a good first step in breaking down the walls that exist blocking employee adoption.
  • Avoid confusion at all cost. As digital transformation efforts are commonly broader than the service function alone, it is imperative to create cohesiveness in both your strategy itself and the communication of that strategy to your employees. As soon as your workforce begins to think that there isn’t a clear strategy, or you don’t know what you’re doing, the seeds of doubt creep in and skepticism takes over. Get alignment on what the goals of digital transformation are for the company, and how you envision achieving those goals, before you begin to articulate the vision to your employees. Then, however, it is critical to begin open communication – early and often – so that your employees feel part of the process and have an opportunity to provide insights and feedback. The framework for where you’re going needs to be clear; the employees need to be a part of developing the blueprint for getting there.
  • Focus on creating a positive digital reputation. I love this term, and I am borrowing it from Greg Lush, founder of Last Mile Worker Solutions, who first covered this concept on a blog on Future of Field Service. Greg’s point is that to achieve employee adoption, you must consider and care deeply about your digital reputation. This means that the tools you select are purposeful, practical, and provide a positive user experience. If you are investing in technology just do invest in technology or selecting tools that don’t truly meet the needs of your frontline workers, you’ll never achieve employee adoption because adoption is dependent on the tool truly enabling your workforce and making their lives easier. If you focus on creating a positive digital reputation, you will in turn focus on selecting and investing in tools that are valuable and effective and as you go along, and your employees experience the value of those tools, they will become more open to and excited for the next steps of your digital transformation journey.
Sarah Nicastro

Creator, Future of Field Service