Gartner defines the concept of digital dexterity as “a set of beliefs, mindsets, and behaviors that help employees deliver faster and more valuable outcomes from digital initiatives.” In the age of the digital workplace, concepts like digital dexterity have gained a significant position in the minds of leaders across the world. This is because concepts like these have a major play in the process of transforming enterprises for the hybrid workplace of the future. With every workplace forced to adapt to the future of work, our workforces have had to adjust to the changing ways of working as well. In that vein, the more ‘digitally dexterous’ that a workforce is, the more they will be willing to try and take risks with new technologies, as compared to the less dexterous workforce.
A major plight of digital workplace transformation cases has been user adoption. Workplaces all over the world are progressing toward newly available technologies as part of their hybrid workplace transformation. Unfortunately, at the same time, an employee's use of these technologies is seen to be lagging. This is because not all workforces adapt at the same rate; while some catch on quickly, others take months or years to acclimate. So, how can employers promote digital dexterity at work, as well as encourage better engagement among employees? We need to have a closer look at the workplace transformation and digital inclusion strategies that incorporate both technology and human-centric considerations as they move the enterprise toward a digital future.
MAKING CHANGE INCLUSIVE
Embracing workplace digital transformation requires the end solution to be human-centric. This is because, statistically speaking, the majority of any workforce will not possess the digital dexterity to navigate a transformation without expert guidance. For this concern, your digital inclusion initiative should be able to provide training and support for both new and existing employees. Similarly, if there’s something leadership across the board can agree on is that when it comes to digital dexterity, its roots can only be found in workplace culture. If the workplace culture is not supportive or indicative of new initiatives and risk-taking, employees will have difficulty embracing concepts like digital dexterity and may even abandon it entirely. The success of digital dexterity at work means the prevalence of certain attributes that will allow it to prosper.
While tech-savviness is considered a component of digital dexterity, there are other digital inclusion attributes as well. The workplace culture must be collaborative, flexible, and open-minded. Even individuals on the lesser side of their technical abilities may find themselves on the higher end of the digital dexterity spectrum if they remain open to new ways. This is because change management among existing employees may be an even larger obstacle as the workplace heads toward digital transformation. A McKinsey study found that unfailing commitment toward long-term sustainability and organization-wide change were the most important capabilities in successful workplace transformations. Leadership needs to communicate the long-term intent behind these strategies and take accountability for seeing such workplace culture initiatives through to the end.
In that regard, no matter the endgame, uniting employees on a common vision may be the best way to drive digital dexterity and the hybrid workplace model. From training programs for new internal technologies to introducing a next-generation product to the market, the overarching narrative around your work and workplace culture will determine the success of your entire digital transformation.
THE WAY TO GO
- Set expectations: All workers should have their role in the overarching digital transformation story clearly defined within the organization. Setting the expectations and using measurable checkpoints to evaluate each employee’s progress is the first step.
- Company-wide narrative: For the entire workforce to embrace digital transformation, they need to be united behind a common vision. Such high-level goals are best disseminated through narratives. These narratives should be convincing of the need for the transformation or the purpose of action and how it's going to be achieved.
- Adapt internal operations: Are your company’s daily hybrid workplace model operations helping or hurting the organizational mission of digital adaptation? Take a critical look at the policies and metrics that might hurt your objectives and may need to be changed.
- Identify barriers: Identify potential challenges in your hybrid workplace model ahead of time to meet them head-on. Employees can help pinpoint the same from their perspectives and come up with solutions through workshops and one-on-one interactions with management.
The enterprise as a whole should own the objective of digital dexterity. It’s not just the obligation of the HR and IT team to look after it. With this concept, the organization enhances agility and adaptability toward any cultural and technological changes to meet its strategic objectives. 2020 was about reacting to extraordinary circumstances by focusing on short-term improvements to culture and working arrangements for business continuity. 2021 should be about establishing these changes permanently across business strategy and operations to be prepared for the future of work, irrespective of what that might be.