Employee Engagement and the Secret to Digital Transformation  

10 April 2018:

Digital transformation is hot at the moment as companies look for new business models to see off the rivals disrupting their industries. But a growing body of research shows that most transformation projects are doomed to failure. One recent study found that nine out of 10 digital transformation projects do not live up to expectations.

The engagement factor

Lack of resources and out-dated legacy systems are widely blamed for this high failure rate. But it’s the human factor that really makes or breaks a transformation project. People often find it difficult to deal with change – any sort of change - in the workplace. Add new technologies to the mix and the whole change effort can hit trouble. Some people may not understand the point of the transformation, while others will lack the skills the business now needs.

Artificial intelligence (AI), automation and other digital technologies are also likely to make employees feel anxious about their job security. As Professor Marko Kesti, Adjunct Professor, HRM-Performance at the University of Lapland says: ‘Every time you invest in improving business processes you reduce the quality of employee engagement and their working lives.’

That’s a big problem, especially in service sector businesses that rely on the knowledge, skills and – most of all – employee engagement.

Threats and opportunities

Business leaders are well aware that digital transformation can be unsettling for employees with ‘speed of technological change’ and ‘availability of key skills’ among the top 10 threats facing businesses in 2018. Yet as PwC also points out, business leaders who ‘take this opportunity and have the foresight to embrace digital transformation will be greatly rewarded.’

Measure, measure and measure again

So how can your company leverage the power of digital technology, while still keeping employee engagement high? The answer lies in listening to them and monitoring the quality of their working lives.

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