Integrating new digital technology in the workplace inevitably creates a change in corporate culture. You may be digitizing documents to build a searchable, secure e-document database. You might be adding an RFID system to link your ERP system to your MES (manufacturing execution system). But workplace change is not always welcome. How can you build a “digital-positive” culture where the tangible benefits override the resistance to change?
If you’re spearheading a digital integration, these tips can make the transition easier:
- Plan, plan, plan. It would be great to have a crystal ball to tell us what our future needs will be. The next best thing is a cutting-edge industry expert to guide your digital expansion. Work with a vendor-consultant to develop a plan suited to your organization’s specific operations.
- Promote the digital changeover to staff. A lack of buy-in can sabotage your plans. Sell the digital improvements internally, and get everyone excited about the benefits. Keep communicating throughout the integration, and report the results. Upper management may respond to financial benefits, staffers may be interested in making the work easier, but everyone loves productivity improvements.
- Provide training and reinforcement. Some people instinctually understand digital technology. Others don’t. An effective training program tells employees that they are valued, and saves the cost of replacing staffers who might otherwise struggle with digital tech. Further, it ensures that the technology will be used properly and will deliver its promised benefits.
- Establish boundaries for the “always-on” digital environment. The internet never sleeps. It’s easy to start expecting instant responses no matter the time of day. But workers require an “off” switch; insufficient down time results in reduced productivity and burnout. Create a “digital etiquette” policy to set boundaries on staff accessibility.
Digital technology is ubiquitous, and new digital applications spring up like mushrooms every day. No matter how much digital technology your business already utilizes, you will continue to expand your tech systems regularly. Consulting firm Deloitte recommends taking a proactive approach to each new integration of technology, re-interpreting your corporate culture for the new application. When you keep your corporate culture digital-positive, your business will stay productive, retain employees, and increase the customer base.
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