There’s been lots of talk about how to make sure a company’s digital transformation is a success, most of it focusing on what CIOs and CEOs can do. That’s all well and good. But digital transformation can’t come only from above — it has to come from the bottom as well, from a company’s workforce. Digital Transformation will succeed only if the larger workforce is truly engaged.
Unfortunately, though, in a typical company, employee engagement is quite low. Gallup’s 2017 “State of the Global Workplace” report found that worldwide, only 15 percent of employees are “highly involved in and enthusiastic about their work.” The study found that engagement is significantly higher when employees feel as if their input is valued, and that they have enough autonomy to discover and implement new ideas.
How can companies make sure that their workforce is truly engaged? A great place to turn to get advice is a blog post in the MIT Sloan Management Review, “How Digital Leaders Inspire Engagement,” by Jane McConnell, a researcher and expert in management, and author of the annual research report, “The Organization in the Digital Age.” Following are highlights of the blog post.
First, she asks: “The question today is what leadership behaviors will inspire people and make them feel engaged in work in our fast-changing, uncertain world?” Based on her research, McConnell has a number of recommendations. She says that a leader should “Clarify the role of digital transformation within the company’s strategic vision, then walk the talk.” She adds that “Leaders who communicate effectively throughout the digital transformation process build engagement.” That’s important, she says, because, “Digital is often perceived as an unwelcome disruption, just another corporate change program, but some people will realize that the change may affect their jobs and their future. They need a convincing reason to get on board. They need to believe before they will engage.”
Next, she says, leaders should “Share decision-making, especially with people on the edges of the organization.” That means participatory decision-making, which she says increases engagement.
Perhaps most importantly, she writes, is that leaders should “Embed ongoing experimentation and learning in the work culture. Leaders should also encourage experimentation. Many enterprises have taken the cautious first step of creating innovation labs where dedicated cross-organizational teams work on new ideas....Another example of breaking out of bureaucracy is implementing a policy where people are encouraged to develop their own projects on company time without specific permission needed....Because digital initiatives explore new territories, experimentation and ongoing learning happen in real time.”
We agree with McConnell. And to her excellent advice, we’d like to add one more: Provide your workforce with the tools that increase their engagement and ensure the success of your digital transformation. At Alpha Software, we have a mobile and web app development platform that empowers the entire workforce, customized to their role and technical expertise. Alpha Anywhere and Alpha TransForm deliver both the robust enterprise features required by IT and the agility required by line of business users. In that way, the entire organization can be empowered for digital transformation, unlike with other tools, such as for creating forms which serve only line-of-business users, or low-code solutions which serve only IT and developers.
Alpha Anywhere and Alpha TransForm makes the full enterprise more productive. Business domain experts can quickly and effectively mobilize business processes with it. And IT can use it to strengthen and deploy transformative enterprise-grade solutions. Alpha Software is undoubtedly organizations' best partner for engaging your entire workforce in your journey to successful digital transformation.
To learn how Alpha Software can help speed digital transformation for your entire organization, book a demo and we'll show you how it works and answer your questions.