How to Code Digital Culture into Your Company’s DNA
How much of your software has turned out to be shelfware?
How many of those exciting new software investments are now underutilized or have even been completely abandoned?
Sometimes poor software choices or a disappointing product are to blame for a bad ROI on software. But most likely, it’s due to something that’s actually in your control: a lack of digital culture.
Photo Credit: WallStreetMojo
Without a strong digital culture, you risk stagnation, employee resistance to change, and failed digital transformation across the organization. In short, you risk your company devolving into a digital wasteland.
Start building a sustainable digital culture
Establishing a digital culture is fundamental to successful digital transformation.
What exactly does digital culture mean?
A digital culture is one that embraces technological investments and advances. It maximizes and enables the use of digital tools as a means to improve the business model, enhance operational efficiency, and evolve as a company.
Developing a digital culture demands unlearning
The first step to creating a sustainable digital culture is to throw out the processes, tools, and mindsets that no longer serve you. In a fast-paced digital landscape, there is no time for inefficiency and no room for waste.
“That’s how we’ve always done it.“
If this statement is the primary justification for anything that you do, it’s time to reevaluate.
Everyone from the C-suite to the interns must unlearn the things that are keeping your organization stagnant. Instead, you need to start developing new processes that enable innovation, rapid decision-making, and change.
Use data to ensure that you are making these types of changes carefully and not impulsively. Creating a stable digital culture will require clear priorities and goals.
Dive Deeper: The Key to Change isn’t Learning, it’s Unlearning
The 4 key attributes of a digital culture
Your software ROI depends on your employees’ attitudes and mindsets about change, their willingness to modify their ways of working, as well as structural elements, such as the formal decision-making process, organizational hierarchy, and communication systems.
Getting each of these factors to align with your digital goals requires a strong digital culture from top to bottom.
Let’s take a closer look at the four pillars of digital culture.
1. Agile leadership
In a digital culture, it’s critical to have the ability to bend without breaking.
The leaders of an agile organization are strategically flexible and are prepared to pivot in order to maintain an edge in an ever-evolving market. Agile leaders enable their organizations to be reactive, but their ability to make change fast enables them to stay ahead of the curve. Leaders should always have plans for a variety of outcomes and possibilities. Do not “put all of your eggs in one basket.” In short, expect the unexpected.
The goal of digital transformation is not just to implement new digital tools. It’s about using them to unlock new opportunities.
With high-level digital adoption, your employees can use your technology investments to establish more efficient processes, get better data, and even create new business ideas.
But innovation is not just about invention. Organizations that are truly innovative value experimentation and appreciate “failing fast.” They make trying new ideas a requirement and expect that many of them will fail. When failure does occur, they don’t get stuck, they simply move on to the next bold idea. Don’t be afraid to experiment (strategically).
Just as leaders must be prepared to adapt business strategy to changes in the market and customer demands, a true digital culture requires the entire organization to be adaptable. If your decision-making system is stymied by bureaucracy and red tape, you’re in trouble.
Rapid decision making is a major component of adaptability. If every decision requires five meetings over three weeks across four departments and a lengthy assessment period, it’s impossible to be adaptable. Try to streamline organizational processes in your company so that your people can roll with change and implement ideas quickly.
4. Software Training
Succeeding at digital transformation requires the right mechanism to drive change forward. In terms of new digital tools, this means effective software training. If your employees aren’t proficient in their tools, there is no “digital” your digital culture.
A sustainable digital culture requires a holistic approach to software training that addresses user challenges and needs, while also enabling the use of high-level features. It requires a personalized system that can be applied to any software or app. A cohesive digital adoption strategy is the key to this pillar.
Best practices for building a digital culture
Your company needs a strong digital culture in order to stay relevant and stay a step ahead of your competition. Building and cultivating a digital culture in your organization requires certain best practices to create an engaged and empowered workforce.
Communication and collaboration
The saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.” Collaboration is likely to generate ideas and foster innovation. The sharing of information is essential for building a digital culture. Communication and collaboration are therefore intertwined.
It is not conducive to a digital culture to work in silos.
An effective project management tool like Slack or monday.com helps break down these silos and encourage cross-department communication, enabling multiple teams to share information on the status of a project.
There may be multiple stakeholders involved from across the organization who would not usually interact with one another, and these tools help to clearly display what has been completed and what they still need to work on.
A project management platform will encourage accountability. All those involved will be able to see which tasks remain incomplete and who is assigned to which tasks. Use available platforms to ensure that nothing falls between the cracks.
Ongoing software learning
The digital workplace is constantly evolving and a large part of that is due to the frequent updates to the platforms we use. If we consider that one employee can engage with several digital platforms a day, performing a multitude of tasks and all of these platforms will require onboarding, training, and updates over time, then that’s a lot of information for someone to retain.
To manage this, ongoing training will be essential but must be executed in a way that is not disruptive to your team’s day-to-day. That’s where contextual learning can play a key role in fostering a digital culture.
Contextual learning takes a variety of factors such as the user’s actions, job function, department goals, and more to deliver tailored support and guidance at the point of need. Instead of causing disruption to their daily tasks, employees can “learn in the flow of work,” achieve better knowledge retention and maintain high productivity.
A major part of digitalization is transparency. If you are fully engaged in the digital world then you are constantly communicating with the world around you. Whether it’s posting what you’ve had for lunch or where you are traveling to next we are sharing information about our lives and asking people to engage with us.
The same can be said for the workplace. Similar to communication and collaboration, transparency is about the sharing of information and the state of play.
Transparency could take the form of a CEO’s blog, sharing the direction of the company or internal memo’s keeping people informed. It could also translate to people across the company using project management tools and sharing updates on the status of a project.
Transparency fosters engagement by allowing people to feel that they are part of the process and breaking down the barriers of seniority. All of these are essential for building a digital culture.
As the pace of technological progress continues to accelerate, the human user falls farther behind. The only way to close the gap is through greater digital adoption, and the only way to achieve digital adoption is by embedding digital fluency into your company’s DNA.
How to measure digital culture
After investing time and resources into fostering a digital culture, it’s important to try and measure its progress and success. Defining and setting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will help to quantitatively measure how well your organization has developed a digital culture.
One such KPI, which was mentioned previously is digital adoption and how well your team uses the digital tools available to them. Analyze the insights derived from your (digital adoption platform) DAP to see where individuals are succeeding and where frustration and drop off are taking place. This will help target tools that could benefit from optimization and which require more training.
You can set KPIs for almost anything, whether it’s the rate of opened and read emails, the number of unique impressions on the CEO’s blog, to the engagement of your CRM and management platforms.
It’s important to track progress. Once your KPIs are set, strategically analyze the results and identify areas that need improvement. This will enable you to measure overall engagement which determines the digital culture in your organization.
3 obstacles to attaining a digital culture
If you want your employees to succeed in a digital environment you have to teach them how to use the tools at their disposal.
For a digital culture to succeed, employers need to change their approach to training. On-boarding cannot be a one-time thing but must form part of a continual learning process. use multiple applications a day, all of which will be updated with new features and functions. However, taking your staff out of their working environment and training them in a classroom will not give you the required results.
By making training flexible and personalized you can combat these obstacles. By using open training solutions such as contextual learning you can deliver training at the point of need, with helpful pop-ups and in-app guidance. These will enable your employees to master new features and updates without disrupting their flow of work.
When training is effective it motivates and engages employees to perform better.
Lack of empowerment
If employees don’t feel empowered to contribute ideas, or if they feel like their supervisors won’t listen to them anyway, they won’t bother trying. And losing the potential brainpower of your team is a big mistake.
Discouraged employees will not believe that they can affect change, and they’ll be resistant to adapting. They won’t contribute new ideas because they’ll fear the stakes are too high to risk failure. They won’t attempt to participate in the decision making if they assume their voices will be ignored.
When it comes to software adoption, your users need motivation and support the most.
Lack of engagement
The digital age means that everything is on-demand. People are looking for a job that is mutually beneficial, not just for the employer but also for the employee.
As a result, employers are having to invest in engaging their employees, by showing them how valued they are, which boosts their productivity.
Engagement can be achieved in a variety of ways. One example is creating a symbiotic relationship between work and personal life. Allowing flexible working enhances their personal life, and does not detract from their work. If someone feels trusted to complete their work at a time that is convenient to them, they are more likely to be fully engaged during those hours.
We’ve mentioned it before, but continued learning and development will show the employee that they are valued, and the training they receive will help improve how they perform their daily tasks. Again, this is mutually beneficial to both employee and employer.
Finally, don’t forget about enablement. Give your employees the tools they need to succeed for them to achieve maximum productivity. Whether these are physical items like phones or laptops, or software solutions like an effective CRM or a Digital Adoption Platform. Ensure that proper onboarding is delivered so they know how to use their tools and are equipped with the resources that they need to do an excellent job.
Ready for a culture shift?
A strong digital culture is essential for overcoming the obstacles that you’ll face with digital transformation.
But don’t be discouraged. Embracing a digital culture is an investment in securing future success. Take a proactive approach to training and development, agility and fostering innovation. Couple this with strong software platforms that help boost productivity and you will reap the benefits of company DNA coded with digital culture.