Today, there are numerous organisations implementing various digital HR initiatives within the workplace. At the same time, there are numerous business software vendors promoting and advocating the positive impacts that their HR technology bring about.
More often than not, these HR technology are meant to serve as solutions to business problems. Concurrently, with other organisations and peers jumping on the HR technology bandwagon, it will certainly provide an organisation with a less competitive edge should they decide not to. Yet, this compelling need to invest in HR technology along with others might end up to be a case of leaping without looking.
According to an article by consulting firm, McKinsey, on the evolution of implementation of organisational change, only 37% of digital transformation projects are successful. The most common practices that support successful change includes leaders owning and committing to the change as well as devoting appropriate time and energy to support the change.
With the constantly evolving workplace coupled with the rapid advancement of technology, there are no doubt lofty ambitions from leaders to improve day-to-day HR processes with technology. However, the big question is – how can organisations prevent technology, particularly the ones that they have invested in, from failing?
Should organisations still deploy digital HR initiatives and if so, how can they ensure a successful implementation within the organisation? While there are certainly no guarantees in this world, here are some ways in which organisations can set themselves up for success.
Break up strategies into small projects
Digital HR projects are likely to be large-scale and time-consuming. This can then seem daunting to employees. Instead, leaders should break up the strategies into small projects so that it is manageable for employees. At the same time, it allows employees to better adjust to the changes gradually.
Educate and communicate
The difficult part of implementing HR technology is not only about whether it can be integrated into the organisation’s work processes, but largely employees’ acceptance of the new tool. If employees are unwilling to adapt to the new technology, it is likely to fail regardless of how advanced the technology may be. As such, it is imperative for leaders to continuously communicate with employees and build awareness that innovation and change are a critical part of improving work processes and productivity levels.
Paying attention to employees’ voices
When strategizing these digital HR initiatives, it can be difficult for leaders to understand the individual impact. Given that these initiatives are targeted to improve employees’ daily work, it is crucial for leaders to understand the specific areas which would significantly impact and improve work processes. And the best way to find out if by gathering feedback from employees themselves.
Implementing digital HR initiatives are no doubt a herculean effort for organisations and some might not be willing to take the first step. However, in this ever-evolving environment, change is imperative for organisations to stay competitive in the business world. And in order for HR strategies to succeed, it requires effort from both leaders as well as employees to embrace the change.
Frontline workers are so named as they sit on the frontlines of most industries – retail workers, flight attendants, bank tellers, restaurant workers, nurses and so on. They are the first faces to represent the organisation and engage customers. As such, their interactions can have a huge impact on how customers perceive your organisation.
Why is it necessary to drive digital transformation for frontline workers
Enhancing frontline processes with technology and equipping these workers with relevant skill sets can contribute to organisational growth and productivity in the long run. It will also encourage these workers to use the right enterprise applications to further drive productivity and operational efficiency.
For example, a hotel can invest in a central IT system that seamlessly connects every aspect of the customer experience. From online room reservation to follow-up reviews after checkout. Every room is also installed with a tablet to allow guests to make requests. This saves on time from having to dial 0 for the front desk. At the same time, real-time data and requests can be collected, allowing hotel staff to access and attend to customers’ requests immediately.
The core principle in driving digital transformation for frontline workers lies in enhancing the experience of customers and employees. It is not how complex and fancy the technology may be.
How to initiate digital transformation for your frontline workers
Digital transformation is a huge term in which different people may have varying interpretations. The first approach is to understand how digitalization is perceive by these frontline workers. Find out what problems it will solve for them. Digitalization for frontline workers should be logical. It is specific to their daily tasks and relevant with the overall implementation of enterprise applications. Ideally, the outcomes of this digital transformation should focus on speed and convenience for them. This helps to carry out their daily work with precision and consistency.
Understand their work challenges
The first step in implementing digital transformation starts with understanding the needs of frontline workers. Know what works well for them and what are their core roadblocks at work. Sometimes, the biggest challenge is identifying what they need to know. At the same time, understanding how certain business processes can be streamlined to drive operational efficiency. This is where business leaders and the IT department need to collaborate to recognise the troubles and complications that arise from their daily tasks. Concurrently, business leaders should also involve every employee. From the most senior to junior staff, when gathering feedback on business processes. This then helps business leaders and IT department to drive better digital solutions targeted to streamline and simplify processes and employees’ work environments.
Invest in training
Complete the preliminary scoping and analysis first. Then it is time to get employees’ buy-in on the concept of digital transformation. It is imperative to ensure that employees are on board with the digital transformation journey. This is to achieve maximum benefits and output. Start off by educating employees on the benefits of digital transformation. Let them know how it benefits them, while leveraging on real-life cases as examples. Instead of stating what the digital changes will be, help your frontline workers to navigate through all the available digital tools and platforms. This could include scheduling training programmes targeted at specific groups of employees. You can create simulations to allow employees to better relate to the scenario, challenges and the respective digital solution.
Give them only the tools and features they would need
Let the employees warmed up to the idea that digital transformation. This is going to make their work environment easier and convenient. They are likely to be receptive towards utilising the digital tools and devices. Suggest for them to use only the digital tools and features that are relevant to their tasks. This will allow them to truly perform at work. Let these frontline workers be able to leverage on these digital tools. This is to accelerate their productivity, efficiency and accuracy, and they will turn into true adopters of digital transformation.
The first interactions that customers have is with your frontline workers. And in order for them to deliver a great customer experience, these workers themselves have to be engaged and motivated. After all, a positive employee experience can ultimately improve performance and retention levels. Including them as part of your digital transformation strategy. It can go a long way in making your frontline workers your biggest and most sustainable asset.