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Understanding and Managing the Risks of Workplace Digital Transformation

Digital transformations in the workplace

Digital transformation is well on its way to changing everything about doing business. It has been slowly recognized as an important enabler for innovations, as it gives businesses unmatched opportunities for growth and value creation.

But alongside the tremendous benefits that digital transformation brings are some very real risks and challenges. This is one key reason why for some, digital transformation may seem just like an unnecessary, costly, and high-risk decision. Although it does come with many risks, Forbes contributor Joe McKendrick points out that not making the leap is even riskier. With the tech world not slowing down, it’s a necessity for companies not only to evolve outwardly, but also to transform and reimagine their inner workings, too.

And as with any changes, it’s imperative for organizations to manage the risks that are introduced into the workplace to succeed at the highest level. Thus, listed below are the risks of digital transformation, and how to understand and manage them. 

Workforce Skills

Several companies fail to recognize that merely supplying the organization with new tools for its digital transformation can be a huge recipe for disaster. Workplace digital transformation requires more than just infrastructure — you also need the right tech-savvy people to lead it. Without them, the chances of an effective transformation are extremely low. To avoid this risk, companies need to evaluate their teams' competencies and then hire people as needed. Leaders shouldn’t be distracted with all the digital changes, as they should combine traditional management skills with their new tech-enabled expertise to ensure efficiency and stability throughout the company’s transformation. Our very own Tim Glendenning shared the key skills you need, from great communication skills to good old fashioned grit, which leaders and managers must build and practice to effectively guide the whole organization to a successful transformation.

Culture 

As the workplace continues to evolve, so does the need for employees’ values and behavior to keep up. Failing to align the company’s goals during its digital transformation with their employees can create additional risks to an organization’s culture, including low morale. As leaders prepare and work through the digital transformation, it is necessary not only to create a culture in which everyone is tech savvy, but also a culture where everyone feels involved and motivated. For a smooth digital transformation in the workplace, Business 2 Community highlights the need for leaders to embrace and aspire for digital congruence. This refers to the harmony brought about by the alignment of the company’s structure, strategy, culture, and people. 

Cybersecurity

An organization's digital transformation leads to more network-connected devices in the workplace, which means that the risks of a cyber attack is greater than ever before. The key to mitigating all this is to invest in your company’s cybersecurity. This entails increasing your IT department and data protection budget, but also maintaining a security-focused mindset across all divisions and teams. Marcus’ guide to ‘Cybersecurity Basics’ highlights the importance of strengthening passwords and being wary of phishing and spoofing — all things that you must teach and emphasize to your employees. Look to hold a seminar that will help the whole organization gain a higher level of cybersecurity awareness, and be sure to regularly remind your teams to remain vigilant.

Remote Work

Digital transformations provide companies the opportunity to offer remote work, and with today’s technological advancements, more and more employees are requesting for work-from-home privileges. In fact, Fast Company reports that the future of work is moving towards remote work, because of the productive results and cost-efficiency it brings to business owners. The online magazine points out that remote employees simply produce better results than their traditional counterparts. But remote work, if not handled properly, can put a business at risk. A lot of leaders find remote work bad for the organization because they think it leads to inefficiencies and less productivity in teams. –---However, leaders of organizations should take a more proactive approach when it comes to handling remote work. It's important to pay attention to digital working environments and provide ample support to their staff. For instance, managers can track employees with employee time clock systems such as OnTheClock, which will allow employees to log in and out regardless of where they are. Managers can also be updated with employee activity and tasks through this, thereby alleviating fears about lack of productivity. Additionally, leaders must create dedicated channels for communication and collaboration, choosing a one-for-all platform like Slack or Microsoft Teams. Finally, when implementing remote work, it’s also important to be clear and open about remote working policies, and foster a more results-oriented work culture.

Risks are always present in any business, and with digital transformation well on its way to businesses of all sizes, it's important for leaders to become aware and prepared for all the possible risks it can bring to the organization. Risks are something that you shouldn't be afraid of. Instead, you should focus on how you can anticipate and treat them.

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