Change Management November 3, 2020

How to help your people embrace digital transformation

The digital in ‘digital transformation’ can give people the idea that it’s about technology. But it’s not. 

It’s about people.

If your people aren’t able or willing to embrace change and new ways of doing things, your efforts are likely to grind to a halt.

Our research has found that 39% of leaders said that their organisation isn’t ready or able to embrace digital transformation.

So what can leaders do to encourage a more future-facing culture? And how can you tell if your culture is preventing you from embracing digital transformation?

Five warning signs that your culture is preventing digital transformation


Your leaders are being pushed to their limit.


Ensure that each leader and their team are focusing their efforts on the key things that need to be achieved this quarter.



Your office is a hub of misinformation and siloes.


Establish a communication rhythm that will ensure all information flows both up and down the organisation accurately and quickly.



Your teams do not work well with each other.


Make sure every facet of the organisation has clear goals and objectives that will ensure alignment between departments.



Your staff are playing the blame game.


Make sure that staff are able to give and receive honest feedback at regular intervals throughout the year.



Your staff don't like change.


Show how change and innovation benefits your employees and the business by regularly sharing stories and success from within your organisation with team members.


Now that we’ve covered a few warning signals, let’s look at the opportunity. 

How to encourage staff to embrace digital transformation

Here are five proven ways you can encourage your people to embrace new ways of thinking and working.

Explain ‘why’ you’re doing this on a regular basis

Helping your people to understand the reasons for change will help them to see why it’s happening and how they can help. Starting with ‘why’ can also encourage a dialogue which will help them feel more invested in the process. 

Try to tie your reasons back to your core values as opposed to your financials and remember to communicate why you’re doing this and how it’s going at regular intervals. Consistent messages delivered frequently is a core part of any change management process.

Gather feedback from your people

Digital transformation may be new and unfamiliar, but it can also make our lives a lot easier. The best way to identify areas where technology can streamline and improve our working lives is to ask your staff for feedback. 

This also helps your people feel like they’re a key part of the process as opposed to having change forced upon them.

Encourage experimentation and adoption

One of the reasons that staff resist change is because they’re worried about their performance. New processes and technology can take a while to get used to, which can reduce productivity in the short-term. Some staff may also be worried about their ability to learn or adapt.

Reassure your staff that experimentation and adoption of new technologies and processes is encouraged and that management are aware that things might take a while to get used to. 

It’s also a good idea to make training and support available to all staff who need it. You may even want to incentivise the adoption of new ways of working.

Explain what won’t change

Digital transformation might change how you work, but it shouldn’t change your core values as a business. 

It’s worth reminding your staff that you’re still going to be the same business next year as you were last year and that you still value your people as much as you do right now. 

Regularly share success stories

The digital transformation process can take years. It’s your job as leaders to keep people invested in the process and excited about its outcomes.

A great way to do this is to regularly share success stories with your staff. Examples of people or teams that have embraced change and are now enjoying the benefits will remind people why you’re doing this and how it’s going to help.

Try to focus on real-world benefits that relate to your values as opposed to financial performance. A few great examples are:

  • People being able to leave work earlier than they used to
  • People being able to work from home or on the move
  • Less repetitive or boring work

If you’re looking for more advice on how to lead digital transformation projects, check out our new guide, How to lead digital transformation with total confidence.

You’ll learn everything you need to know to lead digital transformation projects, including:

  • How digital transformation impacts different departments
  • How to lead digital transformation without being an IT expert
  • Assessing your business’ readiness for transformation
  • How to lead your people remotely

We hope you find it useful. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a line on Twitter or via our website.

Image via Adobe Stock By liuzishan

Leading digital transformation

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