What to Do If Employees Aren’t Used to Working Digitally: 5 Tips for Digital Leaders

Image: SFIO CRACHO/Shutterstock.com
Image: SFIO CRACHO/Shutterstock.com

Do your employees occasionally turn a deaf ear when it comes to the digitalisation of offline routines they’ve become fond of? Do your colleagues sometimes dismiss digital transformation as an unnecessary distraction from supposedly more important tasks? Many long-term employees are virtually at war with the digital world, and efforts to facilitate change can seem futile at times. But in a labour market where the competition for qualified workers continues to increase, experienced employees are worth their weight in gold, and their digital training should be a top priority.

Digital Literacy Is Currently in Short Supply

Unfortunately, reservations when it comes to the use of new technologies in the workplace sometimes get in the way. Just recently, the British Chambers of Commerce assessed the situation in the UK and arrived at an alarming result: While 84 percent of the companies surveyed agree that digital transformation is indispensable today, three out of four companies complain about a lack of digital literacy among their workforce – something employers are ultimately responsible for themselves. So what can you as a leader do to prepare your employees for the digitalisation of the workplace?


1. Implement Digitalisation With the Help of Employee Feedback

First, analyze what actually creates added value. An indiscriminate focus on one of the many areas of the wide field of digital transformation will only discourage your already skeptical employees further. Think carefully about what’s immediately beneficial for your company and clearly relevant for your colleagues. To accomplish this, it’s best to get feedback from those affected: A brief self-assessment of your company’s strengths and weaknesses directly by your employees supplies the most valuable information. Digital transformation is a process, and regularly surveying all those involved – a digital pulse check – quickly provides you with an overview of where your digitalisation efforts stand.


2. Maximise the Learning Effect by Being Fun and Creative

Don’t worry – you’re not alone. A study by Capgemini Consulting found that around 90 percent of all employees have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to digital literacy. However, creativity is also an important part of the transformation process. Create excitement around the transition into the digital realm and promote digital literacy in a way that’s fun. The insurance company AXA, for example, developed an online game in which employees have to satisfy virtual customers – an approach that quickly spurred the ambition of even the biggest skeptics!  The main question that must be answered is: Where and how does digitalisation simplify the workplace? This question leaves no employee indifferent.


3. Say Yes to New Tools and Approaches – but Only the Right Ones!

Make sure not to bore anyone, but also don’t overwhelm your employees with complicated technology and technical terminology. Slowly integrating digital tools, always in the context of daily working practices, is key to a successful learning process. Through online training sessions and concrete problem solving, employees naturally learn how to utilise new technologies. New skills can then be applied immediately, uncertainties are eliminated, and employees’ self-confidence is boosted along the way. The right tools are essential. Opt for appealing, intuitive solutions that your employees enjoy using.


4. Reverse Coaching – Switch Roles to Accelerate the Learning Process

Without doubt, experienced employees are your company’s source of knowledge. But why not occasionally switch roles and let young colleagues share how they use new technologies for their own benefit and to the advantage of your company? The mutual exchange of experiences on an equal footing increases acceptance while also contributing to a positive work environment.


5. Being There Isn’t Everything, but Don’t Leave Anyone Behind

Digitalisation is undeniably one of the biggest issues of our time, and that in companies of all sizes and industries. Nonetheless, don’t get too caught up in it. The new digital era isn’t changing everything drastically. Rather, it’s about a joint learning process, of which mistakes and constant new realisations are an integral part. In our last blog post, we wrote about what goes wrong when businesses are afraid to make mistakes. Involve all employees, whether they be long established or young newcomers, in the transformation process. For a good company to become perfect, it takes a healthy mix – and that consists of a variety of skills and ranges of experience.


Summary: The digital know-how of your employees determines whether your company will be successful at digital transformation. Through an integrative approach that involves all those affected and utilises the right tools, everyone will soon feel comfortable in the digital world. How do you include your employees in the digitalisation of work processes? Email us or request a free live demo of Surwayne today!

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Jasmin Daneschumand

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