The last few years have impacted the world of work in more ways than one. The dependence on digital systems has skyrocketed while business leaders focus on creating newer ways to sustain and grow their businesses. While the importance of digital transformation remained high among companies, the pandemic posed significant challenges to its proper execution. Speaking at the People Matters Workforce Productivity Conference 2022, Jasmine Gorimar, Group Technology - Digital Transformation Strategist at Mahindra, explained how often employees get left behind in the process. It was for this reason that in her session on "Driving Business Growth Through Technology and Digitization", she chose to begin by talking about improving employee experience.
The role of employee experience
“The focus of digital transformation has often meant we prioritize changing business processes to bringing in digital platforms to make a better impact on our performance. But often we lose track of the important role our employees play in the organization,” noted Jasmine as she explained how companies have seen improvements in their revenue by using digital technology in a manner that enhances employee experience.
But one that can be done only when we begin to listen to employees. “Studies have shown that there exists a big gap between what leaders think employee experience is like and what employees think their experience is,” she said, adding that it was key “we bridged that gap”.
For her, digital tools are a great way to improve the employee's experience. With Covid shifting many of the touchpoints employees had with their companies onto digital platforms, its important digitalization leads to a better experience. To do this, Jasmine explained that companies “need to have different sets of expectations from their employee support programs vis-a-vis their business support program.” By this she meant employee applications like HRMS and data security, personalized learning platforms should enable companies to improve the employee experience. “It is here that companies can look at automation, making robust communication channels, and unifying efforts to streamline the digital work environment to make their employee processes more engaging."
Key factors influencing an organization's digital journey
Delving further into how companies can target business growth through digital transformation, Jasmine elucidated the following factors as key drivers:
- Organizational structure: it has to be designed in a manner that it aligns closely with the company's digital strategy. It should be able to leverage digital systems being put in place and allow processes to create value.
- Agile model of operation: agile management practices need to be adopted and hand-made fundamental to driving performance and health across the organization, companies need to strive both for stability and speed will win.
- Talent and skills: strategically acquiring and promoting digital talent and leadership will be key, helping employees define new career paths and valuing autonomy and purpose, not just compensation will be key.
- Leadership: appointing leaders who lead like venture capitalists or growth equity investors rather than traditional hierarchical leaders.
- Sequencing the journey: Having a clear path of the digital transformation journey is required for companies to achieve clarity not only on specific objectives but also on the challenges they might face.
Four stages of the digital journey
For Jasmine, it was crucial that companies understand the different stages of digital transformation to know where they are in the process and what lies ahead. This was critical in organizing the digital transformation journey and having clear objectives against the east step. According to Jasmine, the digital transformation journey has four clear stages
- Digitization: moving from paper to digital systems.
- Digitalization: this phase companies are looking at making their business processes digital.
- Digital optimization: clubbing such digital processes to improve a specific component of the business. This is where business goals like revenue growth and savings can be worked on by the company.
- Digital transformation: has a direct impact on your business and revenue model. This leads to the creation of newer channels of growth
“The impact of digital transformation could be in the form of creation of new value-adding products, or offering new business services,” explained Jasmine. “The outcome of digital transformation has to be an increased value to your customer or employee. That is why digital transformation is often called business transformation.”
To successfully transform, companies have to address challenges like getting their senior leaders on board, lack of change management strategy, and cultural mindset. To overcome these and many other challenges that companies face, Jasmine suggests adopting a design thinking approach towards crafting the transformation journey. “By following principles like ideate, prototype, and test, companies can craft the right digital transformation journey,” she added.