Managing Business Change in the Digital Era

The use of digital technology to aid change management is a highly topical issue for HR professionals around the world.  The fast rate of technological development continues to transform the way businesses operate – a trend that shows no sign of abating. It also challenges leaders to always be on top of the latest innovations so that their organizations can reap the benefits and optimize productivity.

Our CEO, Adam Hale, was pleased to comment on this topic in a feature for The Times last week, and decided to expand his thoughts on the subject here.

In the modern global business world, digital is used to enable phone calls, emails, video conferencing, and the internet. Simply put, there would be no communication without digital, and without communication, there would be no activity.

Digital technologies can provide real-time visibility of critical workforce information that aids ongoing decision-making during periods of workplace transformation. Key HR processes such as succession and resource planning can be made easier – and end results more accurate – when technology is used to measure and record productivity, and employee sentiment/satisfaction.

From a recruitment point of view, technology also helps to attract the right people. For instance, within data, and with the use of predictive analytics, there are patterns in relation to skills, experience, and other background attributes (college, degree, volunteering, and social networks) that can be used to predict engagement, productivity, contribution and potential value to an organization.

Digital technologies can also deliver a level of cross-functional insight that was previously unavailable by integrating corporate, internal and social communications with core processes. Crucially, digital also gives people greater control over when and how they manage change and communicate plans with employees. This allows for more precise planning and helps to avoid miscommunications.

So how can leaders make the most of digital technologies?

Start. Try. Experiment. Learn.

Key to this is ensuring everyone across the organization – and to some extent outside the organization, where key suppliers and partners are concerned – is not only aware of which digital technologies are used to facilitate better communication and collaboration, but are also able to use them effectively.

To achieve effective change management, staff at all levels need to have the means of communicating and providing ongoing feedback – digital technology facilitates this and as such, bosses should encourage their employees to use it to voice their opinions and concerns. In the long run, there is a good chance this will save costs and reduce inefficiencies.

Senior managers also play a key role in establishing which specific digital technologies are adopted to support the implementation of workplace transformation. The supporting processes and systems are as important as the message, so leaders must always choose digital channel(s) with their organization, people, processes, products, industry, geographies and size in mind. Communications – however well positioned and on-message – will be less effective if they are distributed across a platform that does not fit well with the organization or its employees’ usual ways of working.

Here are my digital do’s and don’ts in business transformation

Do make sure your data is clean. The better the quality of information you put in, the better the outputs will be.

Do review and refine your use of digital technologies on a regular basis to ensure they are serving your people well and supporting your wider business transformation objectives.

Do embrace digital in change management – it will empower your people and become instrumental in all aspects of business development, growth and strategy.

Don’t just rely on technology. Adopt a holistic approach that creates great workforce experiences and drives positive business change across all operational functions.

Don’t forget to measure and analyze your data! This is an important skill to have and will enable you to create models and drive actionable insights that optimize your business transformation processes.


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