Giving Employees the Power to Excel
A successful company depends on technology, and the successful integration of technology depends on open communication between the C-suite and staff.
Technology is the lifeblood of the modern-day business. It has the power to enrich the working lives of employees, streamline tasks and boost collaboration. No matter the circumstances, tech keeps staff connected, especially when employees are working remotely.
This being said, many businesses don’t find it straightforward to embrace new technologies and ways of working. Mike Smith, Managing Director (Direct) at Virgin Media Business, explains the barriers that these businesses must overcome to get the most out of digital tools and technology.
The Hierarchy Hurdle
For too long, decisions about tech investment have been made by the C-suite alone. A 2019 study found that 82% of business leaders did not consult on internal processes and priorities before investing in technology to meet their digital goals.
From internal messaging applications to the latest task management software, employees aren’t typically involved in investment decisions about the technology they use on a daily basis. In some cases, this can even cause tensions between staff and management, fuelling resistance to change among employees.
Choosing the most appropriate digital tools and software for employees without consulting them can be like navigating through a managerial no man’s land – one false step and you’ll be in the firing line, scarce of cover and facing a barrage from staff.
For too long, decisions about tech investment have been made by the C-suite alone.
For a business’s technology to cut the mustard, employees must have a say. If not, they will be less receptive to new tools thrust upon them from C-suite decision makers – meaning digital investments are less likely to deliver promised returns.
How can businesses prevent this from happening?
The Answer: Open Up Decision-Making
Breaking down hierarchical barriers is crucial. Doing so allows staff to provide valuable input into decisions surrounding the tech they use and the systems needed to enhance their working life. By involving people at every level across the business – frontline staff, middle management, senior leadership – organisations can make the digitisation process more transparent.
Consulting staff will also help improve working culture by building new connections, as well as meaning that staff will be more likely to embrace change, rather than resist it.
One study highlights the effectiveness of collaborative decision-making and shows that employee satisfaction is higher when organisations invest in meaningful dialogue with employees. It also illustrates that successful companies are more likely to use collaboration to identify employee wants and needs, including thinking around the technology they use.
Opening up these processes will not only prevent a business from stalling on its digital transformation goals. It will also help create a better, more open, collaborative working culture – one where the sharing of ideas and new ways of working is encouraged – with both staff and management reaping the benefits.
Once the decision-making process has been refined, the next step will be ensuring that existing networks are up to speed to support innovation. Having the right foundations is key for staff to get the most out of the technology on hand. Why?
Because next-generation networks channel information between buildings, employees and data centres in the fastest and most secure way possible. Connecting everyone in a single, virtual community, networks serve as the antithesis to hierarchical, centralised ways of working.
Embracing Innovation in the Right Way
Driving through digital change and embedding new tools at the heart of organisations doesn’t have to be a painful process. What some businesses get wrong is believing that driving innovation has to be a top-down process managed entirely by leadership teams – meaning their people feel excluded and disengaged.
But by having open conversations with their people and investing in foundational tech, employees are given the power to shape the direction of the business and excel. This doesn’t just make them more welcoming of change, but ultimately paves the way towards a richer, more collaborative working culture and sets a business on the right path to growth.