How to Sustain Excitement for Your Digital Transformation Journey
It’s an understatement to say that these past months have been a time of change. IT leaders and organizations across the globe have had to quickly adapt to changing conditions due to COVID-19; many have had to accelerate plans surrounding their digital transformations, while others had to start from scratch, engaging in a rapid uptake of new technologies in order to adjust the way they do business and mass-mobilize their employees to enable remote work.
Change can be both nerve-wracking and exciting, but inevitably, those feelings wane and what once seemed so new and unfamiliar becomes the everyday norm. As the dust settles on our current reality, and as people further adapt to new ways of working, IT leaders who executed a more situationally responsive digital transformation for the sake of immediate business continuity should now be actively considering, planning, and delivering a more thoughtful and encompassing follow-up approach to meeting the needs of all their stakeholders on a sustained basis. As part of this longer-term planning, they will also have to address the human factors that come with new technology implementations, such as how they will keep employees engaged after the initial excitement has worn off.
Here are some ways that I empower team members and leaders to connect, enable, and engage with each other through digital transformation.
An Authentic Leadership Approach
Maintaining regular checkpoints and outreach to your teams should already be a common practice, yet its importance is even more pronounced in times of uncertainty and change. With a dispersed workforce, it is critical to conduct regular check-ins—perhaps even more frequently than your typical cadence—to ensure your employees are feeling engaged, supported, and appreciated for their contributions during these trying times. I make it a priority to have meaningful and authentic one-on-one conversations and coaching with colleagues, among other types of check-ins. Leaders who openly share their own vulnerability and challenges in team huddles can go a long way to create a healthy work environment where employees are then more willing and able to embrace changes brought about by digital transformation.
Leverage Technology to Engage Your Teams
The current pandemic has fast-forwarded society’s realization of what is possible for the future of work and many are turning to cloud-based technology solutions and platforms to help accelerate digital transformation. At the same time, technology can significantly impact job satisfaction, performance, and corporate culture. Not surprisingly, engaged and inspired employees are your best brand ambassadors and ones who are ready to own the CX journey from end-to-end. As such, bringing your corporate culture to life while employees are working remotely should be a top priority.
Studies have shown that employees who have a strong connection with their organization’s culture are more engaged, further emphasizing the importance of fun in the workplace. It’s disconcerting to see that only 4 in 10 workers in the U.S. think their supervisor or colleague cares about them, and unfortunately, that number is likely dropping further in the COVID-19 era. In this challenging market, it’s imperative that organizations retain culture virtually.
One way I do this is by organizing fun virtual events and activities for my team. At TELUS International, we regularly hold contests where team members send in photos of themselves dressed up in creative outfits and costumes based on different themes, highlighting their pets as their new office mates and their decorated home workspaces—all in an effort to bring the fun and camaraderie of our work sites into team members’ homes. We also have extensive virtual learning and development programs to ensure we can meet our team members’ personal and professional growth objectives regardless of whether they are in an office or at home. Our model permits them to set their own pace based on their schedule and responsibilities outside of work.
An Engaged Team Leads to Better CX
The pandemic and its ongoing effects on businesses has placed us all in unchartered territory, and now more than ever, it’s vital to maintain consistent and open lines of communications with your teams. The importance of empathy—both in your interactions with your teams as well as with your customers—cannot be understated. But if your employees are expected to lead with empathy in their customer interactions, they themselves must first feel supported by their own leadership teams and colleagues.
One way I’m enabling social touchpoints and creating a space for open communication and feedback is through our internal social network. This platform not only offers employees a way to connect and share work-related updates with each other, but it’s also a great place to debate the latest and greatest shows on Netflix. Through our own internal and external social channels, we share updates on our teams and activities around the world, including stories about our caring culture, so both clients and team members alike continue to feel supported and can immerse themselves in the culture of TELUS International. On the business side, enterprise social platforms help facilitate dialogue among colleagues from around the world, offering them an opportunity to engage in more thoughtful discussions about what’s working and what needs improvement.
We are collectively undergoing substantial changes to the way we live, work, and interact, and the importance of having an engaged, agile workforce that embraces change and has a continuous improvement mind-set has never been more important. These attributes are also what drives and sustains the success of every brand’s digital transformation journey and strengthens the foundation for your company’s ability to successfully evolve. By taking these important and necessary steps to connect, enable, and engage your employees along the way, your organization will be stronger for it and better prepared to pull together, not only in times of crisis but for the future iterations of the workplace.
Michael Ringman is chief information officer at TELUS International. Prior to joining TELUS International in 2012, he was VP of global infrastructure at TeleTech, and before that, a network consultant for IBM Global Services. In his various positions, he has reduced operating costs by more than 20 percent, implemented cloud-based contact center solutions across 75 delivery centers, and delivered over two billion minutes of VoIP annually while increasing system availability to 99.95 percent. He holds a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering and a Master of Science in telecommunications, both from the University of Colorado.