How Digital Transformation is Changing Employee Expectations

For employees, digital transformation is so much more than just another buzzword. Workflow automation and digitalised project management are just some of the recent technological innovations that are changing the very nature of work.

Such tech is reshaping how both managers and employees see their roles in their companies. Most organisations are rushing to become more digital. On that journey, they forget about the expectations and experiences of their employees. So, what do the employees say?

KPMG UK study

Over 70% of UK respondents claim digital transformation is a top priority at their company. Moreover, 72% of the UK workforce believes digital transformation has improved efficiency at their workplace. Hence, the roadmap to digital transformation is benefitting both small and midsize companies.

In the financial and business services sector, 91% of employees prioritise the adaptation of digital tools. Not all industries in the UK have the same appetite for digital tools. According to Chris Astley from KPMG, more and more workers in the tech industry would like to work for a digitally transformed business.

Workfront survey

A report commissioned by this project management software vendor can tell us a bit more about employee expectations. According to the survey, 78% of workers feel their job is more than a paycheck. And, 89% feel their role is important. Most of them (91%) want digital solutions and 88% think that such tech is a vital part of their employee experience.

But, 65% of them wish their employers would reward them based on results. They don’t want employers to reward them based on deliverables only. It becomes easy for people to focus more on deliverables, tasks, and milestones as companies scale. But, at the same time, they lose sight of strategic goals.

The fact that 91% of respondents are proud of their work is perhaps a bit more telling. According to Worftont’s President, Alex Shootman, the number indicates that employers are good at showing technologists how they fit into their organisation. It can also mean employees have a good understanding of overall business objectives.

But, tech workers spend only 40% of their time at work doing their main job. They spend the rest on oversight, emails, and meetings. Those are some of the culprits behind reduced productivity. The lack of standard workflow processes and poor work prioritisation are also to blame.

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What to make of all these numbers?

Employees demonstrate a desire to limit wasteful tasks and focus more on strategic ones. Employers must learn that poorly executed tech solutions contribute to the lack of productivity. Such realisations impact the way employees seek work.

Collaboration and communication may be the hardest part of getting the job done. Tech innovations are driving societal and cultural change at a frightening pace. UX, platform design and virtual assistants play into all aspects of a company’s way of working. Companies that don’t recognise the importance of a dynamic environment may fall behind.

SoftwareONE research

According to Software One’s survey, 30% of respondents claim regular employees drive the digital transformation in their company. Yet, 45% state the problem is that not everyone knows how to use the new solutions. Such issues may arise when people don’t know who is in charge.

Less than 50% of non-IT and IT employees think their CIOs know how digital technology issues affect their work, according to a study from Gartner. Moreover, younger generations are abandoning standard channels of IT support. Only 20% of non-IT workers ask their IT department for advice on using the new technology.

Fault lines can easily happen when one side wants to get the work done as easily as possible while the other is pushing for compliance. According to the UK managing director at SofwareONE, Zak Virdi, workers are pushing hard for change. Evidence shows there is a demand for new technology in the business.

Companies need to figure out how to accommodate a huge cross-section of employees. They need to take into account the needs of everyone involved. Since employees pressure them to do so, it may seem that board members and senior managers are the ones forcing digitalisation to happen.

But, simply adopting new tech and hoping it takes hold just to satisfy employees doesn’t cut it. Building a digital workspace is more complex. Every new tool needs a specific lifecycle plan. Firms that adopt this mindset can gain long-term perks.

Digital transformation and hiring

It’s hard to find top talent, let alone keep the one you have. That’s why it is key to come to terms with new trends in retaining and hiring talent. The workforce is becoming used to versatile and agile IT services. They expect their employers to ensure they have those tools at their disposal.

If you want to attract top talent, you need to make work more strategic. The lack of knowledgeable workers on the market gives skilled and trained candidates much more flexibility. We can expect knowledge workers to vet potential employers. And, according to Workfront survey respondents, 88% of employees think that employers need to reconsider their opinions on tech in the workplace.

A lot of businesses are quick to meet their expectations. Tech solutions can result in more than employee satisfaction. It can enhance productivity by removing boring, repetitive tasks. Candidates are likely to consider what factors can help them progress. And, for progress, they need more value-added tasks.

You need to find a balance that will attract talent while being suitable for the needs of your company. You need to champion corporate goals that are aligned with innovation and digital transformation. By doing so, you’ll help workers understand the ‘why’ behind your business.

digital transformation

Image: Unsplash

People and culture are as important as tech

Whenever management implements new tech into major aspects of their business, a profound shift occurs. That change has a huge effect on company culture. According to Enterprise Project’s article, digital transformation reshapes longtime business processes, job titles, and entire work groups.

IT leaders will feel the pushback if some employees feel their value and their jobs are threatened. IT leaders need to start with empathy if they want to achieve unity.

Tech is of great importance in every business transformation. But, businesses with talent-developing practices, enterprise-wide workforce planning, and strong leadership have higher success rates than businesses which do not have these qualities.

Worker empowerment is key to successful digital transformation, according to MIT Sloan Management Review’s article on digital transformation. This can translate to allowing workers greater freedom to work how, where, and when they want to. It can also mean successfully demonstrating how the new tech will help them work more efficiently.

A McKinsey survey also backs that idea. It’s vital to give employees a say when it comes to where digitalisation could be adopted, and whether it should be adopted at all.

Businesses are more likely to report success when workers put forth their own ideas about where digitalisation may support the enterprise. Management should give employees a key role in enacting changes.

Many businesses underestimate the importance of culture in digital transformation. As a leader, you need a strong vision that’s in line with business goals in order to gain buy-in. It’s also key to start the transformation with automation that will reduce the need for tedious tasks and improve the day-to-day lives of employees.

To prevent larger organisational resistance, companies must engage their workers at the outset of the digital transformation process, according to Jabil. Tech can take you only so far. It cannot replace the need for organisational cohesion. Everyone must understand what the change will by, why is it necessary, and how the company will improve.

First, employers must change what they look for in their staff. It’s not good to look for workers who will just follow commands. Employers need to look for people who embrace empowerment and excel in cooperation. They need to give their staff the tools they need to grow, learn, and control their autonomy.

In Summary

Engaged employees perform better. If you are a leader in your company, you are responsible for motivating employees to align their knowledge and skills with the appropriate tools. But, you also need to provide them with the right tools. Digital transformation takes a lot of time and resources, yet it is necessary for business growth.

Fast change may overwhelm your employees, even if most of them are pushing for change. You need to make sure no one feels out of place due to multiple changes. Digital transformation is all about the employee and the colleague. You need to meet their needs first in order to ensure customer satisfaction.


About the Author

Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade. His wide range of clients has made him knowledgeable on different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing, and you can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.

Team 6Q

Team 6Q