As a Digital Advisor for the UK Public Sector, I often meet customers who are already getting weary of the term digital transformation. So much has already changed in the way people work in such a short time. It is remarkable to reflect on this. But whilst the technology change has been relentless, I sometimes think we have forgotten about another key element to this transformation – our people and their ability to make the best out of the technology they are being asked to use and adopt. Let’s consider some key areas where we need to improve our employee experience:
1. Don’t expect everyone to be the same
Many people in charge of change management make assumptions around the people who will use the technology being rolled out. Assumptions around attitude, skills, ability, and desire. Not every employee is an ‘early adopter’ of digital and willingly wanting to try our new shiny stuff. So digital change projects need to consider this diversity and have different methods for different scenarios.
2. Explain the TLAs (three letter acronyms)
Not everyone understands the acronyms and terms that have become commonplace in technology and sometimes people feel reluctant to say so. Make sure you explain things clearly – MFA, VPN, WAN… !
3. Think about the end-to-end employee experience, not just the middle bit
A common problem in getting acceptance and adoption of new digital tools is often that the full employee experience has not been considered. Instead, focus is put on the main application.
Stories of unused devices are not a reflection of an employee rejecting new technology. It’s a reflection of complex and clunky processes. For example, a device is less likely to be used when you have to grapple with complex passwords aligned to clunky service desk mechanisms or being in physical environments where the device is unworkable.
4. Consider the appropriateness of digital
Just because you can it doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes digital devices are rejected due to the circumstances where they are being used. A simple example is the use of devices within meetings – and the feeling of distraction they can cause. More specific Public Sector examples include police forces being issued with smartphones, but then being perceived by the public as sitting in their car playing games rather than working.
5. Create inclusion of all workers
An interesting ratio that I look for in an organisation is how many people do not have digital access at all. You might think in today’s workplace that this is unusual. But there are many examples of workers – usually frontline workers – who do not.
This can be large percentages of staff depending on the organisation – e.g. in local government this can include care workers, refuse/street cleaning, and parks/gardening staff. These frontline workers can often stay offline. This means they either must rely on higher levels of overhead or management to keep them informed around topics such as communication, collaboration, tasking, or reporting.
The biggest risk is that they can become disconnected to the rest of the organisation as they are not picking up as much communication and information. The irony is that these are the people who are highly likely to have a large amount of interaction with customers.
6. Put a welcome mat outside the helpdesk
When things go wrong with digital tools many workers become rapidly unproductive. Business continuity planning is often looked at by organisations against major systems. However, personal productivity is often overlooked.
A device being unavailable due to updates and patching, or an item of hardware not working can mean that worker is unable to perform their role, has pressure to recover, and can often be put under stress, creating a poor employee experience.
Support also seems to be the poor cousin – consider fixing the worker, not the technology. Have ready-to-go spares for quick use. Automate as many functions as possible and enable catalogues. Make support welcoming and train staff with customer service techniques as well as technical support knowledge.
7. Gain wider input, test it, and keep on getting feedback
Shoot then aim. Sounds silly but so often done. Technology implementation teams can become insular and assumptive.
Use wide pools of people to test approaches, to check on needs, and to pilot or trial new technology. It’s a wise approach. Often there is push-back due to the time, or the effort involved. But, it actually saves time and money in the long-term.
This approach means the upfront investment is tiny compared to the mop up that’s involved in recovering a project that hasn’t followed this approach. Also, we see major projects being stood up and implementation getting the attention and focus. As it runs its course the feedback loops, training, and value measurement drop off and the value weakens. Consider the full lifecycle of these digital opportunities before implementing them.
These topics are obvious when you read them back, but our experience is that they are often overlooked. Microsoft has developed significant experience, and driven innovation over the years for its technology and digital solutions. But, less well known is our focus on the customer in their adoption and usage of our solutions.
Through business focused Digital Advisory services, and complimentary services such as adoption and change management we have significant capability in supporting our customers to get value from their digital transformation journeys.
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About the author
Neil is a Digital Advisor working in the UK and focused on the public sector. His team help organisations get value from their digital investments and drive innovation through the implementation of digital transformation opportunities. Neil has been with Microsoft for 2 years and his particular areas of focus are within digital adoption, business change management, and transformation delivery.