A digital marketing strategy to the outside can only be successful if an innovative, agile culture is established internally. How business leaders take their employees on the digitization journey.
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1. Involve employees
In many medium-sized companies and in the B2B sector, the topic of digitization is in the focus. But often the activities are limited to reacting to the supposed strengths of the competitors. Instead, those responsible should keep an eye on their own potential and seize the opportunities offered by the digital transformation – and communicate these opportunities sustainably to employees. If they do not do that, feelings of overconfidence and insecurity in the workforce quickly develop. What is needed now is a new basic understanding of corporate culture.
Specifically, it is important to convey to the employees the digital strategy to be implemented in the company, the goals in the area of marketing and communication as well as the opportunities. It is important to point out that digitization and the resulting opportunities to automate and optimize work processes are not a substitute for employees. Rather, employee competencies can and should be strengthened. An open, digitally supported corporate culture should also be an integral part of employer branding, as younger applicants are increasingly demanding an employee-oriented, agile corporate attitude.
2. Be Enabler
Digital business processes and modern communication thrive on speed and spontaneity. Therefore, it is particularly important that the culture of a company enables swift and swift action and allows all employees – especially those who are in charge of communication – certain freedoms. The basis is good internal communication, trust and transparency.
A good tool to introduce even inexperienced employees to such a culture and working with digital media is a social intranet: if it is designed as a reduced image of, for example, Facebook and offers the opportunity to post, like and to post Employees often lose the reluctance to use digital channels in everyday work and in the “emergency”, ie to the outside world. Positive side effect: The internal communication is accelerated and the knowledge management sustainable. In order to use such platforms successfully, corporate leaders should also rely on targeted training and internal measures such as employee coaching.
3. Tear down thought and competence silos
The digital transformation is making today’s work models more efficient than ever before. However, potentials are often underused. The biggest obstacle: established thinking and competence silos. Companies have to overcome these and reduce them quickly. Because permeable, interactive communication structures and processes are the basis for successful digital strategies in marketing and sales. Only when every employee involved in a project has access to all up-to-date, relevant information can agile exchange take place that pays attention to the productivity and innovative strength of a company.
For example, if a company uses its Facebook presence as a customer service channel, customer feedback and current experiences should be shared with other departments as well. The opportunities offered by digital customer communication can then have a value-adding effect throughout the entire company. Only in this way does the product and service development also benefit from the suggestions for improvement expressed on Facebook & Co. – or even from the criticism.
4. Implement the right tools
In order to successfully operate across departments, teams and competences, the right tools are required: Modern intranet systems or cloud solutions are the means of choice. Such platforms have the potential to provide all employees with fast and comprehensive access to up-to-date information.
Field service and sales also profit from such tools. With web-based sales apps, sales employees optimize their customer contacts and consultations. You can access up-to-date information in real time and transfer results and orders directly to the company’s CRM using the tool.
5. Show appreciation
Often the most important, the most natural thing is forgotten: the appreciation to employees. Respect for employee performance and interest in their personal development is the basis of any agile corporate culture – especially in the digital transformation. After all, it is the employees who guarantee the company’s success with their commitment, contributions and ideas.
Praise and recognition work against fear, insecurity and frustration in change processes. Business leaders who keep this in mind have already taken one of the most important steps on the long road to a future work culture. Essentially, it’s about: Managers must learn to motivate, nurture and challenge their employees.
Proven tools to express appreciation are training and incentives such as congress or event visits. These pay attention to the corporate goals and personal development of the people.
The digital transformation requires a rethinking in the corporate culture with vision and the involvement of each individual employee. If leaders take that into account, they are well positioned for the future.
To the author: Sven Korhummel has been one of the two managing partners of the digital agency cyperfection for 21 years. With his team of over 45 Korhummel advises companies such as Roche, Merck, Fuchs Petrolub and Philips in all areas of digital communication strategy and brand staging.