People at all levels believe that the transformation to digital technologies and methods has helped their organisations weather the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and will aid recovery efforts, said Boston Consulting Group which recently released results of a survey of 5,250 employees at companies in China, France, Germany, the UK, and the US.
Despite the generally positive attitudes, much work remains to be done in order for managers and employees to feel comfortable with changes tied to the digital transformation, BCG pointed out.
“It’s clear from the results that organisations are making progress,” said Vanessa Lyon, a BCG managing director and partner. “To accelerate the transition, they must eliminate impediments by involving more people and providing them with coaching and support so that they understand and feel engaged in the process.”
To result in better buy-in from employees, she advised companies to include front-line workers so that they understand how what they do fits into the big picture.
- Worldwide, more than eight of ten managers (89%) and employees (84%) believe digital is helping their companies get through the economic slowdown that the pandemic created.
- More than three-quarters of managers (83%) and employees (77%) favour boosting spending on technology for remote work and remote meetings, according to the survey.
- More than 70% of both managers and employees endorse increased budgets for technologies that support client relationships, including applications for managing information requests and providing after-sale services.
- Globally, 78% of managers and 57% of employees say their organizations are engaged in digital transformation, and the vast majority are willing to be part of the process.
- Among managers, 86% say that they are willing for a transformation to happen, and the numbers are even higher in China (91%) and the US (90%). Among employees, 76% support their organisation’s digital transformation.
- At companies that have transformation projects underway, 37% of managers and 35% of employees feel their organisation’s efforts lag behind those of their competitors.
- The dissatisfaction is more pronounced at companies that have yet to start a transformation: in those organisations, 40% of managers and 41% of employees feel their employers’ efforts trail those of rival enterprises.
The issue of upskilling
While employees believe in digital transformation, both managers and employees rank training and upskilling as the least successful elements of digital transformation, along with hiring people who have the appropriate skills.
“To help people adopt new skills, organisations should look for ways they can incorporate new capabilities into the work they do every day,” said Debbie Lovich, a BCG managing director and partner. “Not only that, organizations must create a corporate culture where people learn how to learn so that they can continue to adapt.”
Although 89% of managers are involved in digital transformations—including more than half who make decisions about transformation projects—only 65% of employees say they participate in one or more digitization activities in their department or unit, BCG said.
The lack of adequate training for employees on new ways of working tied to digital transformations is clear from the gap between managers who say they would use agile methods (82%) and employees who say the same (66%), the company added.
Among employees in the countries included in the survey, workers in China have the most forward-looking approach to digital transformation, BCG noted.
Virtually all Chinese managers (99%) report being involved in digital transformation projects, along with 87% of employees, survey results indicate.
Only 19% of Chinese managers feel their companies are behind the competition when it comes to digital transformation, compared with the multi-country average of 35%, the firm added.