Digital technology is a candy store, but most implementation fails. Turn the odds.

Hispanic man with headset on working at computer in office

Today, I am at HR Tech in Las Vegas, the largest HR technology conference in the US with over 10,000 attendees. The place is abuzz with the latest extraordinary technology platforms for human resources: chatbots, blockchain, on-demand video interviewing, artificial intelligence, and much more.

However, the purchase of today’s best technology is not a guarantee of success.

Only 17 percent of companies succeed with implementing digital technology, according to the Boston Consulting Group. Why? They fail to develop a collaborative and adaptive organizational culture.

Unfortunately, many executives view digital technology as a simple plug-and-play technology offering immediate returns. While some companies succeed with individual projects, other companies struggle to move the pilot initiatives into companywide programs. Executives often fail to align the company’s culture, structure, work processes, and rewards to the changes caused by digital technology.

Other issues thwart digital technology implementation as well. They may be fear of job loss or change, poor management planning, a lack of measures, inefficient processes that were not fixed, little involvement of employees, insufficient training, or making a bad purchase.

However, companies can increase their success rate to 90 percent by nurturing their cultures before implementing digital technology.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in 2018 discovered that companies that invested in their cultures were much better at implementing AI. BCG assessed roughly 40 digital transformations and found that the proportion of companies reporting breakthrough or strong financial performance was five times greater (90 percent) among those that focused on culture than among those that neglected culture (17 percent).

According to the BCG report, “The case for fostering a digital culture is even more powerful if we look at sustained performance: nearly 80 percent of the companies that focused on culture sustained strong or breakthrough performance. Not one of the companies that neglected to focus on culture achieved such performance.”

How do you improve your odds? Focus on nurturing a collaborative and adaptive culture to support the digital era. Here are eight steps to follow:

  1. Be transparent. Clearly articulate your business strategies and the need for digitization. Share competitive information and the latest on new technologies with your employees.
  2. Encourage employees to get involved and to look outside, not inside. A digital culture encourages employees to look outward and engage with customers and partners to develop new solutions.
  3. Delegate. Encourage employees to take risks aligned with the company’s strategy, fail fast and furiously. Then ask, “What did you learn today? What is tomorrow’s experiment?”
  4. Emphasize action over excessive planning. Innovative and digital cultures emphasize speed and action over excessive planning.
  5. Reward collaboration and sharing and implementation success. While it is essential to have experts, success comes from teams of employees collaborating to implement AI and innovation.
  6. Redesign the work processes, communication flows, and organization structures to integrate digital technologies. Your goal is to allow machines to do what they do best and employees to do what they do best.
  7. Train. Provide ample training for employees involved in the change or for employees who need to move to new jobs.
  8. Measure your progress. Based on the numbers, adjust as necessary to make your milestones and goals.

If you are at HR Tech this week, enjoy discovering the incredible new technologies, but remember, most of these technologies can’t do it alone.  It takes strong executive support and the nurturing of a collaborative and adaptive culture to implement digital technology successfully.

Watch for my tweets and posts on the latest trends and awards!

Please stop by and see me at ThisWay Global’s booth (No. 1953) after their 2:00 PM panel discussion on technology. I will be making remarks, and selling and signing copies of my book, Hack Recruiting: The Best of Empirical Research, Method and Process, and Digitization.

Victor Assad is the CEO of Victor Assad Strategic Human Resources Consulting. Today’s blog has excerpts from his new book: Hack Recruiting: the Best of Empirical Research, Method and Process, and Digitization. You can buy it online at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Archway Publishing.

Purchase Hack Recruiting by Oct. 4, 2019 and have access to my new video podcast series with leading HR technologists and innovators. After buying “Hack Recruiting” email me a copy of your digital receipt with your name to with the subject line: “Enroll me in the video podcast series!”


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