We’re all embracing digital transformation these days. Ninety-one percent of companies surveyed by Foundry say that they have a digital transformation strategy in mind. And on average, those companies report that they’re planning to spend more than $16 million over the next year to implement it.
But what’s the secret to digital transformation success? A digital-first culture. If your teams are resistant to the kind of change that digitization requires, any success in adopting new digital tools or processes will be limited. On the other hand, a strong digital culture in the workplace can significantly facilitate a larger digital-first strategy. Here’s how to build a culture that embraces digital solutions.
What is a digital-first work culture?
A digital-first culture is a corporate environment that prioritizes and welcomes digital technologies to achieve strategic goals. Digital-first work cultures have several characteristics:
- Employees are fluent in digital tools and processes, and are comfortable learning new ones
- Workflows are constantly re-evaluated and adapted to take advantage of the most relevant technology
- Your customers have the option to buy products or ask for service using digital communication
- Digital-first content helps customers find and learn about your products
- Teams solve problems and build relationships using collaboration tools for remote work
Being a digital-first company isn’t just about using the latest tech or working more efficiently, although those are clear benefits. It’s fundamentally about being an agile organization that can adapt to the evolving needs of your people, customers and market.
Why it’s more important than ever
It matters so much now because of the rapidly changing pace of industry. Companies that aren’t adapting to new business methods will struggle to survive. Adopting a digital-first strategy and baking that into your culture can help you innovate, keep up with your competition and future-proof your business.
How to help your company shift to a digital-first culture
Culture change is hard, but it’s doable. Here are some tactics you can use to make it work.
All employees influence workplace culture, but company leaders have an outsized effect. The more leadership prioritizes digital solutions, the more dramatically the culture can shift. Leaders can start by explicitly defining the work culture, including core values and behaviors. Then they must walk the walk by modeling those values and behaviors in their work.
Clear support from the top is critical for shifting culture, but it’s not enough by itself. You must have consistent communication and an outreach strategy to help rally employees around a common vision for being a flexible, digital-first organization. Start by explicitly defining your culture as one that values digital solutions. Make sure potential new hires know you champion a digital-first culture and build that messaging into your communications to current employees.
Fundamentally, getting employees to embrace digital transformation is about making them understand why it’s useful. To care, people must know why they should adopt new ways of working. Make the case for changes with well-articulated business rationales for using new tools. Explain how customers will have a better experience or how your teams can get their work done faster and more easily. Whatever transformation you’re trying to make, show your workers what’s in it for them.
Make resources available
People are usually willing to embrace new digital technologies when they feel confident that they can actually learn to use them. But employees are more resistant when they’re afraid that they won’t be able to use the new tools. To support a digital-first culture, make sure the resources employees need are accessible. For example, you could create a learning and development Slack channel to house tutorials and help guides, so they’re always easily accessible in one place.
Digital-first cultures make digital transformation possible
A robust digital-first culture is indispensable. It’ll help you easily pivot and adapt to industry changes. But shifting company culture is a long-term, sometimes difficult undertaking. One easy way to get started is to modernize how your team communicates and collaborates, which is exactly what Slack does. It gets rid of email chains, makes sure important information is organized and accessible, and keeps communication transparent.