Last updated: Business transformation: Start with people, or don’t bother starting

Business transformation: Start with people, or don’t bother starting


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If you’ve been part of a business transformation, digital or otherwise, you know that the best technology can have a dramatic impact on the speed and agility of a company, providing a competitive edge across myriad spaces. A business transformation strategy invests considerable time weighing the options for capabilities, budget, and alignment with the overall vision.

But leaders must remember that the initiative will be brought to life and sustained by people. Putting people first in the transformation project means recognizing their immutable impact on the initiative and the business overall.

Most importantly, it will help drive forward the employee experience with a better application of technology.

In our hyper-connected world, where technology can have a tremendous impact on the experience and quality of work life, the role of people in a business transformation strategy has never been more important. Here are six reasons to consider why that is:

  1. Better, wider buy-in
  2. Better employee retention
  3. Diversity of thought and creativity
  4. Increase in the bottom line
  5. Every enterprise is a social enterprise
  6. Well-being matters

Business transformation strategy: All aboard!

Business transformation projects that only have support from within an homogenous group, despite what the business case and early enthusiasm indicate, will eventually flail if not fizzle completely.

Hear the words “HR is driving a project…” and then listen for the death knell of the initiative to sound soon after. True transformations need wide buy-in from across the organization. For that happen, people need to believe they will make work better and easier for employees.

Attracting and keeping talent

Human beings innately want to be part of something bigger than themselves, part of a community of some kind. And they are especially attracted to something that has potential.

A company on an upward growth trajectory using technology to transform it forward will pull all sorts of interest because it means potential for people to grow with it, whether in skills, opportunity or both.

Diversity spells business transformation success

The business value of diverse teams was proven long ago. Their ideas will be richer, the solutions more inclusive and might tend towards solving problems for a wider population. Guaranteed, they’ll be more innovative.

In your business transformation strategy, assemble a diverse team from across gender, age, function, ethnicity, and ability. By doing so, you’ll pull in the varied thinking and creativity that solve issues.

Boosting the bottom line

When companies actually do focus on a workforce experience with a people-first approach, it can have a ten-fold impact on business profits.

Deloitte’s annual research survey on global human capital trends found that companies can see an increase of up to $2 billion in revenue by moving their workforce experience needle by 10%.

Transformation goes beyond corporate walls 

Companies that fail to recognize how their transformation reaches beyond their customers and employees are headed for trouble. The reality is that it extends well into their ecosystem of partners, contractors, suppliers, and even investors.

And let’s consider how social media, geopolitics, and world health matters make it nearly impossible for a company to simply keep its collective head down (in the sand, even), focused only on technology and the tangible things within their control. The line between the internal and external has virtually disappeared.

Business transformation strategy & the human impact 

Transformations drive efficiency and savings into the business. And while incredibly important, the well-being of the people working on the initiative should be afforded the same respect and importance as any other project objective – maybe even assigned metrics, invoking the tried-and-true ethos: What gets measured gets done.

Nishita Henry, the Chief Innovation Officer for Deloitte US, says that project managers must be more realistic in the objectives, timelines and resources. Recognize that doing more with less has a human impact, and be clear that while projects will take longer and might cost more, it’s in the best interest of the team and the organization.

HR, better.
Employees, happier.
Businesses, healthier.
It’s time to modernize the employee experience.

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