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Published August 12th 2019

How Leaders Can Impact Team Culture for True Digital Adoption

The goal of digital adoption tops the list for many organizations these days, but are leaders doing all they can to drive it? Guest blogger Manish Dudharejia shares his thoughts.

Businesses are moving to integrate more technology into their daily practices.

But, unfortunately, it takes a lot more than investments in tech to create a company that successfully embraces digital adoption. Even where the benefits are clear, many companies find it difficult to transform the way things are done.

A report from Dimension Data found that one of the major barriers to digital adoption was related to organizational issues, compliance, and a lack of thought leadership within the company.

So, clearly, leadership has a big part to play in digital adoption. What can they do to drive it forward?

Understand the reasons for resistance

There are countless benefits to technology in the workplace. In most cases, digital adoption can reduce costs, improve internal productivity, and make most jobs far easier than they were before with supportive software tools.

So, why are so many employees resistant to integrating digital tools?

Well, a report from McKinsey may help to shed a light on these reasons.

In order to combat these fears or excuses, company leaders must make cultural changes in order to make digital adoption a reality.

You cannot fix a problem without first identifying the source of the issue. In order to impact your team’s culture and prepare it for digital adoption, leaders must put themselves in their employees’ shoes and think about the reasons they may be resistant to change, as well as what solutions would help to ease these fears.

Offer personalized and paced training

Digital adoption can only occur when employees feel confident in their ability to use digital tools successfully.

But what many leaders fail to realize is that training is not just for teaching employees how to use new software tools to accomplish daily tasks. It is also to help them become more digitally minded – to encourage an innovative mindset that will drive future advancement.

This is best done with a more personalized approach to training that allows every person to learn at their own pace.

According to PwC, today’s workforce is curious about technology, with workers across countries and sectors willing to give many hours of their month to training.

This comes with a warning, though:

“Even when people want to develop their skills, many feel there aren’t enough ways to do it through their workplace. Only half (50%) of staff and 64% of managers are satisfied with the resources they have at their disposal to learn how to use new technology, signaling an opportunity for leaders to open new pathways for learning and development.”

One of the best modern approaches in this regard is contextual training. This approach personalizes the process based on each person’s current knowledge and capabilities. By customizing the learning process, employees can learn at their own pace and be trained on the subjects that are most important to their position.

When the job search site HireMe decided to make the move towards digital adoption, they embraced a contextual learning approach. They focused on helping the individual employee develop their skills based on their current level of experience.

This allowed their employees to learn far quicker and retain more information – and HireMe reported that their training actually took less time than the traditional one-size-fits-all mentality.

Set an example

There is nothing more frustrating to employees than a “do as I say not as I do” approach from their leaders or managers.

Digital adoption needs to start from the top, to show how much of a difference it can make.

Team leaders and managers should be setting the stage by openly embracing new tools, discussing their impact, and urging their teams to follow suit.

Furthermore, employees should be encouraged to share their opinions and ask questions to create a culture of honesty and openness during a time of great change.

Pay attention to employee feedback

Just as you look for ways to improve the feedback you receive from your customers, you should also focus on gathering deep and detailed feedback from your team members regarding the changes.

As your business strides towards digital adoption, it is important to pay attention to the ways that it is impacting employees on the front lines – for better and for worse.

Be sure that you are checking in with them regularly to see how it is helping them, what areas are not working, why they are having trouble, and so on. This can be done through one-on-one meetings or anonymous feedback systems.

What matters most is that team members feel comfortable sharing their opinions and speaking honestly about things that are not working. By listening to their feedback and making necessary adjustments, you can create a more unified culture and fix problems faster.


Digital adoption can only occur when everyone feels they have the tools and support systems necessary to embrace these changes.

Therefore, business leaders should take it upon themselves to set examples and provide the resources to support a digitally-focused culture that propels employees and the business forward.

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