Dilemma of the month

Communicating digital change to employees: step by step or full transparency?

"We are facing turbulent times, where digital definitely is the new normal, and disruption is shaking up all industries." This is, for sure, the perfect sentence to introduce a journalistic piece, a business report, or your employee communication letter if it talks about digital transformation and change. Of course, this kind of statement is correct in itself, but at the same time, it is very holistic and therefore so generic that your stakeholders will not feel personally addressed. Focus on the why First of all, it is crucial to explain why change is necessary, why it needs to be done now, without being too dramatic in tone of voice, otherwise people will feel uncomfortable about the desired outcome. Serious attention should go to employee involvement with full transparency of the consequences of implementing new technologies for individuals and their day-to-day. Most of all, people do not feel addressed when defensive storytelling is limited to topics like changing market conditions, competitive pressure, or any other external factors. Show the side effects Second, it is essential to become concrete and explain what tomorrow will look like. Talk about the advantages, but also about the side effects of implementing new digital processes for people working with these systems. For sure, most digital programs aim to positively influence the customer experience or ease the life of your employees. But, digital change, in principle, is just like any other change, therefore the management of that overarching process should also be taken into account. Transparency triggers innovative ideas Once people understand why change is required and what it is all about, it is time to onboard teams for a positive journey towards the new normal. Believe me, if this job is done right and in full transparency, employees from all generations will come up with innovative ideas to make change happen. This is a process you must foster and also encourage to amplify digital innovation across the organization. Always start with the human side In all, it is not that complex to deliver a successful digital transformation program from a human perspective. At the same time, we are all working in businesses run by people. So, it is essential to start with the human side of the digital. Otherwise, even the implementation of the most advanced technologies will fail. Now that you know what to avoid, I wish you a great journey.

JAN SONCK studied IT at the Erasmus college in Brussels. He joined Proximus in 2000 and worked in marketing and the development of vertical markets, among other things. He has been Strategy Manager since 2019.