Digital change: The challenge of employee engagement

Change management with respect to HR information systems has always been an important subject because it involves updating processes to remain competitive. Up until now, it mainly meant that the people using the solutions implemented, as well as the managers involved in the processes, were kept up-to-date and trained. Things have changed and today change management, in most cases, has to deal with the requirements of digital transformation.

Companies today are faced with the challenge of creating a sense of commitment and engagement in their employees, even those who are not used to digital technology. There is a great impact on the entire organization and it is essential that the project be monitored at all stages. Several aspects therefore need to be considered: the company itself, the different departments, the tools and the culture.

Some employees have difficulty with digital technology

Today, new features must be accessible and easy to use for a large number of people in a company. To achieve this, employees need to be “educated” and the new solutions must be attractive and really bring something new to users, otherwise we run the risk of people not switching to these new solutions. Depending on the company’s context and the business sectors, ‘digital literacy’ is not always easy to implement. While managers may often be familiar with implementing new processes, this is not the case for employees in general. HR strategies for communication and training will have to be different according to the target audience and their level of digital maturity.

HR departments can be the driving force behind this digital literacy

HR departments have realized that they play a key role in this type of transformation. Some even think that they should act as Chief Digital Officer (CDO)… A company’s digital transformation requires implementing many different rules for different people. Digital technology changes the interactions between people and thus has a direct effect on management and the different ways of working together. New methods have changed the relationship between employees and their employer to such an extent that the Labor code now includes a ‘right to disconnect’, in order to protect the boundary between work and life. Current transformation projects require many people from HR and IT as well as social partners and Security. Privacy must be protected when sending or using data that the company has stored. HR departments are at the center of this issue.

Employees are developing their skills to ensure full transformation of their company!

All employees need to develop their digital skills. For many companies, digitization can be a way to transform their own business. Change and transformation management are thus formidable challenges.

HR departments carry this responsibility, in line with their company’s overall policy. It is complicated because it means changing many things, from how work is organized to management methods. Roles within a company are changing, with the old methods gradually being replaced with a more cross-disciplinary, collaborative approach based on interactions between employees, but also between employees and customers.

Success depends on commitment by all

Such drastic change can lead to resistance in certain situations from certain people and HR should think, from the start and throughout the entire project, about how it can persuade all those involved to accept the process. Employees should understand how new features may be useful, for the company, but also for them.

It is therefore important, before the start of the project, to try to understand the content of the digital services in order to meet expectations and ensure engagement. This will help prepare the communication strategy, the messages to be sent out and find those that will be in charge of sending out these messages. This is why this type of project requires a collaborative method implemented by the HR department to engage employees and allow them to test and use the new tools and applications. Such a method is best to determine the requirements and then the appropriate solutions.

The success of change management in information systems depends on managing resistance and deploying new tools for end users. Several aspects are important: communication, training, user support, and availability of documentation. The engagement required from all the employees for the project to be a success requires additional channels of communication to attract more people. HR departments can use videos, e-learning or MOOCs. They can also encourage users to talk to their peers and become ‘ambassadors’ on innovations in progress by sharing their experience or providing help and practical advice as part of a reverse mentoring approach.

Digital transformation projects are cyclical and part of a continuous process for improvement. The last phase before starting: HR departments should implement performance indicators that can, for example, take into account the number of users or type of use. A temporary system, such a s a technical platform or support can be useful in determining good practices in using solutions.

To conclude, change management for digital transformation begins at the project preparation stage and should continue via interactive communication to ensure the user experience. Digital HR is a boost for the core business of companies that will appear more modern and high performance to its employees.