The Imperative of Engaging Every Level in Digital Transformations

Scott Willson

Organizations today are either in a constant state of metamorphosis, or the market they operate in is. As the business landscape evolves, companies must remain relevant and competitive. However, many businesses fail to realize the expected benefits of digital transformation because it isn't just about strategy—it's about people. A recent McKinsey Global Survey underscores this point, illuminating the importance of involving employees at all tiers in transformational efforts.

Digital Transformation: A Universal Challenge

It's unsettling that companies today are no more adept at overhauling their structures and operations than they were a decade ago. Why? One glaring omission in many transformation strategies is the engagement of frontline employees and their direct supervisors. 

Yes, successful digital transformations almost always have the buy-in from the company's top echelons. This buy-in is a must, and the McKinsey survey corroborates this, with a whopping 84% of respondents acknowledging the active involvement of their CEOs. Yet, while crucial, more than the mere involvement of the C-suite is needed to guarantee success.

Frontline Engagement: The Differentiating Factor

The survey delineates seven key roles that employees can play during a transformation. Across these roles, companies that have reported the most effective transformations also report a more heightened involvement of their personnel, especially those at the grassroots levels. These successful organizations don't just involve everyone; they communicate consistently, define roles clearly, and adopt a strategic approach to managing talent.

The statistics are telling. Only 3% of transformations are reported as successful when line managers and frontline employees aren't engaged. In stark contrast, when these critical cogs in the machinery are involved, the success rates shoot up to 26% and 28%, respectively.

This focus on grassroots-level engagement becomes even more paramount in larger organizations. Bigger firms already have a reduced transformation success rate, and the survey indicates they also need help engaging their frontline personnel. 

C-Suite & Shareholders

The C-suite's focus on shareholders during digital transformation initiatives stems from their fiduciary duty to optimize financial performance, a commitment that inherently ties to enhancing shareholder value. In a rapidly digitalizing business landscape, these top executives recognize that embracing digital transformation can boost efficiency, open new revenue channels, and improve competitiveness. Simultaneously, they're navigating pressures from institutional investors and financial markets to demonstrate adaptability and mitigate technological and cybersecurity risks. For the C-suite, driving digital transformation is not just about harnessing new digital opportunities but also safeguarding and bolstering the company's long-term value for its shareholders.

However, managers and frontline employees are the most critical shareholders to win over because transformation begins and ends with people. People are often overlooked at the C-suite strategic level. Still, as the McKinsey survey shows, your people are not only what makes digital transformation happen; they are what make these initiatives successful. A CEO may win the boardroom and investors in the short term, but successful outcomes to the CEO's vision depend on the execution of managers and frontline employees.

The Role of Technology and Tools

As we navigate this intricate web of digital transformation, tools like xtype emerge as valuable allies. xtype provides real-time visibility across all your ServiceNow instances, ensuring all stakeholders remain on the same page. This visibility is not just about keeping track of changes—it's about fostering communication and transparency.

The advantages of xtype are manifold, from facilitating rapid cloning to enabling the bi-directional propagation of ServiceNow features and apps. xtype makes digital transformations smoother by providing visibility and synchronization of your ServiceNow landscape to ensure you deliver features and apps on the Now platform at the speed of C-suite expectations.

Conclusion: The Way Forward

The message is clear: for organizations to successfully transform, they must look beyond the boardroom. CEOs and top leaders play a vital role, but the involvement of those in the trenches—line managers and frontline employees—will make or break a digital transformation initiative. 

Moreover, in this digital age, tools like xtype can act as force multipliers, ensuring that transformations are strategic and efficient. As businesses gear up for the challenges of tomorrow, it's imperative to remember that transformation is a collective journey where every member, irrespective of their rank, has a pivotal role.

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