To stay competitive and viable in these interesting times, going digital is a necessity rather than a luxury. But aside from the questions of what technology to use and how to implement it, probably the most essential question is: who is going to implement those changes? Your people—your employees, at all levels, will have to interact and utilize the new technology. It’s critical to take a people-first approach to introducing new technology and identifying the kinds of behavior change you need workers to adopt for sustainable digital transformation. 

Leading with a People-First Approach

Wise leaders know that the real power behind any transformation is people. So, only a people-first approach can drive lasting, meaningful behavior change. As Gallup reports, most human decision making is 30% reason and 70% emotion. In other words, it is human behavior that drives change. But even more than that, their analysis found that companies using a people-first approach to transforming the shop floor outperform their competition in sales by 85%. Simply put: don’t make your workers fit the technology you adopt, adopt technology with your workers’ best interests in mind. 

Sustainable Digital Transformation is Not as Hard as You Think

In Anvl’s recent podcast with Anvl CEO Robin Fleming and Anurag Garg, Vice President of Product Management for Platform Analytics and IIoT at Plex Systems, Garg addressed the behavior change aspects of digital transformation within complex, interconnected company systems. During the discussion, Garg stressed that there are many in the workforce that are actually more accustomed to digital processes than ever before. He pointed out that workers from the Millennial generation have grown up with digital tools from an early age, and may actually be confused or alienated by older paper workflows. The Pew Research Center’s data backs this up. Many of these workers can already understand the benefits of digital transformation and can become incredible shop floor partners in driving this behavior change forward. 

Furthermore, the same study showed a high-degree of digital adoption among frontline workers from Generation X, with the Baby Boomers not very far behind in their acceptance of digital processes. Garg noted that sometimes the fear of change actually rests with leadership more than the workers. The fear of how workers will or won’t adapt to behavior change initiatives keeps leaders from moving past the pilot stage of their digital transformation. These fears can be overcome, however, with the right plans, clarity and motivation for the people in the organization. Demonstrating the value employees will enjoy from new technologies and providing clear directions and expectations for behavior change can help make these changes long lasting and sustainable. 

Reinforcing Behavior Change

Of course, every change of any kind comes with risks, and when you increase the number of people and the stakes involved in that change, the risk grows. This is why clear planning and expectations are so necessary from the start. It’s also critically important to set your people up for success in making these changes. By understanding the human and behavioral side of technology, you can avoid pitfalls and regression. Here are some key actions to take from the start of your digital transformation: 

  • Motivate change. From leadership down to the newest employee on the shop floor, the need for change needs to be very clear, and all-encompassing. People throughout the organization need to understand why the change is necessary, and how not changing will lead to negative results, even on an emotional level.
  • Provide training. Clear training, instructions, workflows and expectations will empower employees to make the necessary changes. When they know what to do and how to do it, they can make it happen. 
  • Model the desired behavior. Leaders need to show up and demonstrate the changes themselves to inspire their workers to take part.
  • Make everyone accountable. Whether it’s daily reports or pop-up meetings, accountability keeps things clear and people on track. 
  • Reinforce to spur momentum. Positive reinforcement includes things like quick positive feedback for workers who implement and achieve goals through the digital transformation process. Negative reinforcement doesn’t have to be punishment, but can be clear explanations of safety risks and hazards that come from not progressing along the chosen path. 

The Right Digital Transformation Tools Facilitate Positive Change

 See sustainable digital transformation within your business by taking on a people-first approach. Behavior change is something that needs to permeate the entire organization, from the most senior leadership to the frontline workers, in order to stick. Anvl Workflows helps leaders and employees achieve these goals together. As workers complete workflows and send digital reports to their supervisors, quick positive feedback adds value and accomplishment up and down the line. Standards and procedures are clear and everyone can see and take part in fulfilling the overall company strategy.

How is your business taking a people-first approach to digital transformation? How is your business model working to create real behavior change for leaders and employees in your organization? Anvl can help take your transformation to the next level. See Anvl in action by requesting a free demo today.

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