When to Thank Your Employees During a Digital Transformation

Written By: Paresa Noble
Date: November 16, 2020

Embarking on a digital transformation journey involves big changes that will be felt across the whole organization, from your systems to your people. Every inch of the transformation is obviously important, but there’s no doubt that the way the transformation is handled from person to person will have the biggest impact on the success of a new software implementation. Managing change is an art, and leading proper organizational change management practices is gratitude toward those who will truly see the project through - your team.

It’s important to be cognizant of the weight a digital change within your organization bears on your employees, some more than others. Here are a few key contributors to show gratitude for as you embark on the journey.

1. Employees Resistant to Change

a. Whether big or small, a digital transformation will leave some of your employees feeling uncomfortable. It should always be expected that a group of your organization will be resistant to the changes coming about in their day to day operations, the question is - will they be vocal about it?

b. Intentional Resistance

There will be a small group of people whose position in the company as a whole will be dramatically impacted by implementing ERP software. This may be someone who has created their own processes and procedures to monitor inventory, for example, on their trusted spreadsheet. Introducing a system that automates this task threatens the value they see themselves bringing to the organization, and as a result could push people to be vocal against or even outwardly resist any change.

How do you overcome this? Show gratitude. Acknowledge the success of their efforts and invented procedures thus far and highlight how the change will benefit them rather than make their past-tasks obsolete. Address the employee’s concerns head-on and determine a new plan of action for them once the change comes about.

c. Unintentional Resistance

Oftentimes the majority - those who are on board with a new software solution on the surface, but find work arounds to revert back to their old processes when pushed outside of their comfort zone. Maybe they still reference their sacred spreadsheets or store data in places other than the solution provided.

How to overcome this? Again, show gratitude. Check new processes regularly to make sure everyone is staying on track, especially post-implementation so you can step in where needed. When you step in, you begin with gratitude with transparency and positivity. Understand that they are doing this because it is what’s familiar, and they want to continue to establish value within the organization. Acknowledge and appreciate that sentiment. Recognize their good intentions and thank them for what they have done before you discuss what they need in order to make the full transition.

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2. Change Evangelist

a. Actions always speak louder than words. Delegate as much of the integration as possible to your internal team, and it will give them a sense of ownership and belonging within the new confines of the organization. This could include anything from empowering teams to work with implementation partners to help drive the transformation, to building and brainstorming ideas on how the greater team should be trained come time for implementation. By doing this, you show your trust and value in their input and skills as it relates to such an important project. Once the implementation is complete, show your gratitude by thanking them and celebrating the new ERP integration together.

3. Involved and Aligned Executives

a. Executive alignment, or misalignment, is a prominent piece in the success or failure in a digital transformation. Company strategy and general priorities of the organization need to be crystal clear from the top down, otherwise, the implementation team is going to struggle through the process of making decisions and moving swiftly through each phase of the digital transformation.

If your Executive Team has created a foundation for success, that is something to show gratitude for. Realize that not every organization will have that luxury, and for a C-suite team to deliver that transparency that trickles down into each Manager or Director’s decision making process is a big win. Even if the recognition goes from the bottom up. Thank them.

If your team is not seeing the Executive alignment that you wish to see, tap on trusted third party ERP consultants to help provide the objective insights to the Executives themselves. Trust me, your CIO is not doing this intentionally, they likely don’t even realize the impact that it is having on the greater project. There have been many times where our team has stepped in to have a conversation around strategic alignment with an Executive, and it made all the difference in the trajectory of the digital transformation. As with anything, if something seems to be off track, course correct – even if that means managing up.

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Americans are prompted to show gratitude around Thanksgiving, but the reality is that appreciate will go a long way if it’s implemented into our day-to-day professional communication. Especially during important, organizationally shifting pursuits. When things are going well, acknowledge it and thank those behind the scenes, and even when things need to change direction, show grace as you shift your sails. It will make all the difference!

If you have questions about your digital transformation or how to best manage change within your team, feel free to contact us directly. We are happy to be an informal sounding board.

Paresa Noble
As a seasoned digital transformation, legal, and finance copywriter, Paresa has enabled businesses large and small to share their ideas and develop as thought leaders within their respective industries. Paresa's entrepreneurial agency experience has given her insights into the nuances of business development and the efficiencies that artificial intelligence and emerging technologies bring to the table.
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