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You’ve heard it many times: Be customer-focused, understand the customer experience, and employ customer-centric design. The customer experience is one of the appropriate and needed aspects of the digital experience.

Now, take this one step further and ask yourself: Are you paying the same attention to your employees? Let me repeat this with a slightly different slant: Are you employee-focused? Do you understand and manage your employee’s needs and wants? In a digital transformation, the employee experience is just as important and needed as the customer experience.

I’ve seen it happen many times. Companies only invest in digital in parts of the organization. As a result, only a particular section of these organizations develop. The rest is left behind. This negates the desired outcomes of a digital transformation. After all, the goal is to elevate your entire organization. While you have to start in certain areas, the objective should span the entire company.

Here are some core principles of digital transformation you should apply to your precious human resources:

Education. Make sure everyone in your organization understands the tools and capabilities of digital. I have run a “Digital for the non-Digital Manager” series with a local community college. Depending on the digital footprint of your organization, this course should contain elements such as digital advertising, e-commerce, social media and the like.

Data. Working with data has become an important part of any operation – data is the oil of digital. Your employees know your data better than anyone – but are they empowered to act upon their data-driven insights? Ensure your organization uses tools like DOMO or LOOKER to get the most out that data. 

Work agile. Adopting agile methods, in product development and across the enterprise, is one of the best ways to keep employees motivated. Cross-departmental scrums force staff to work outside their silos in small teams, encouraging camaraderie and creativity. Subject-matter experts and business owners have a regular stake in the process, and designers and developers get valuable face time with senior staff. Rapid design-build-check iterations foster a sense of accomplishment and builds skills.

Customer focus. Getting your employees to think of users first – from “outside-in” instead of “inside-out” – is more rewarding than marching along oblivious to why the work is being done. It starts with a strategy and operating plan that puts customers first. What are they trying to accomplish, and how can your company fulfill their needs? Then: how can you give employees the tools and freedom they need to meet those needs?

Change management. As you disrupt your organization to make it more employee- and user-centric, keep in mind that staff are bound to feel unsettled. Some won’t appreciate the freedom they’re being given. Others will jump at the opportunity and outshine others. Understand that all change is difficult – even good change aimed at improving employee satisfaction and work quality.

Every company is unique. How have you tried to apply the principles of digital transformation when it comes to your most valuable assets?

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