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Digital Transformation is About People, Not Only Technology

Digital Transformation, Emerging Technologies

Start Your Digital Transformation Where it Counts: With People

You’re looking to grow your tech business, but you’re not sure where to put your time or money. You try to find advice for where to invest first, and you hear all sorts of answers. In fact, a recent McKinsey study found that in digitally savvy industries — including high tech, media and telecom — only 26% of companies seeking a digital transformation were ultimately successful. (In more traditional arenas like oil and gas and automotive industries, the numbers were a dismal 4-11%.)

So what’s a business to do when it wants to create a real digital transformation? The answer doesn’t live just in one place — but you should start with one key component to your business: start with your people.

Why Invest in People and Not Just Technology?

You may be drawn toward tech that’s new and exciting, but if you lack the educated workforce needed to understand and improve it (not to mention simply run it) then you’re simply filling a room, not building a business.

“The survey results confirm that developing talent and skills throughout the organization—a fundamental action for traditional transformations—is one of the most important factors for success in a digital change effort,” notes the McKinsey study.

Anyone can fill four walls with the exact same things as another business, but it’s what your workforce does with their tools and talent that really makes a company shine. Your reputation (good or bad) is tied to what comes out of your company, be it thoughts, words, or deeds. You need a human being to produce all of those.

This is not to say that tech advancements should be ignored — far from it. But you should make sure to surround that tech with an engaged, high-performing team of real-live human beings, too. Finding those key performers is the only way to make a truly notable digital transformation.

Keep Your Investments In-House

Once you’ve searched for, hired, onboarded, worked with, and trained employees, you want that investment to stick around for as long as possible. Why? Because of your ROI. Retention is where your investment starts to pay off — with great employees becoming even better leaders within your organization.

“How we manage our team, how we motivate them, that’s what drives our success,” notes Dubai-based Orkhan Mustafayev, President of Ideal Concept Holding in Entrepreneur. “After all, without talented employees, a business isn’t anything more than an idea, a thought, a dream. But it’s not just about hiring the best people. You need to retain them.”

It costs more to go through the long and involved hiring process — months of searching, culling applications, interviewing, job offers, hiring, onboarding, and training — than it does to create an environment where employees want to stay.

And what’s on the front of most employees’ wish lists when it comes to a great employer? That’s right…professional development. Perks like built-in training tools let a prospective employee, or an existing worker, know that you’re there to invest in their future. In turn, you get a workforce that wants to be a part of your team, while you help them become stronger members of that team as well.

You Can Plan on Development Needs Changing Over Time

Like the changes in technology each year (or month, or even day), your training needs and employee development plan should be fluid. You could find that one year you need to work on certain software or hardware proficiencies with the majority of one division. Another year, you need to work on soft skills and less “concrete” interactions to improve employee collaboration and creativity. Some years, you might need a little bit of everything.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to training that takes a dedicated eye towards employee professional development.

“…Employee development programs don’t happen without planning,” writes CEO Chad Halvorson in Inc. Magazine. “The training that worked last year might not work next year. Your business culture might be shifting according to customer and industry needs. You might need to attract a different kind of employee and your development offerings need to shift to reflect that.”

True digital talent transformation programs like those offered by Cognixia work to strengthen an company’s existing workforce, providing the most practical, emerging, and relevant educational offerings based on need. This allows leadership to spend less time on “training” and more time focusing on growing the business as a whole.

Learn more about Cognixia’s approach to putting people first in your digital transformation.

 

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