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The pandemic exposed a universal truth about modern-day business – the old ways of working weren’t working. The realities of the work experience can have serious consequences for organizations. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Every organization has disparate processes, systems and challenges that can be improved upon, if you just take a step back and consider how you can best put technology to use for your organization.

Forward thinking business leaders must leverage the benefits of digital transformation beyond systems or tools that just automate operations. You must think about how they create new roles for team members, how they help us to adapt to new markets, and how they help us excel in our industry and become an industry leader.

Taking on digital transformation represents a major milestone in your company's history and hopefully can provide a giant leap forward for how you operate, innovate and go to market. We can't continue to operate the way that we have in our organizations’ past, so let’s start with a blank slate, an empty road that we can build on.

Breaking the mold

From our perspective, breaking the mold is breaking away from the traditional mindsets of how we get our jobs done.

Some questions your organization should consider:

  • Who does the work? What does our workforce look like? Are they all employees? Do we have gig workers? Do we have teaming relationships?
  • Do we have other types of engagements and relationships in the marketplace?
  • How do we define a person's career? Is it straight up from promotion to promotion from level to level or their alternative ways that we can think about defining it career?
  • How do we infuse more preference and choice by the team members?
  • How do we focus more on results and outcomes rather than the almighty billable hour, or face time or being in the office longer than your boss?
  • How do we use technology to lean into automation efficiency, eliminating redundancies and increasing collaboration so that we can execute our jobs in a much more effective manner?
  • How do we reward people?
  • How do we provide feedback in a way that's authentic and timely and meaningful?
  • How do we bring connection and joy back into what we do for a living?

Breaking the mold means thinking about a complete paradigm shift. How do you do that?

As a first step, listen to everyone around you. Often, we're so rooted in how we've always done things that we aren’t actually listening to our team members. We need them to tell us how we could improve. We need to start gathering all ideas to begin to understand where to start when it comes to truly breaking away from our historical ways of doing things.

Use a survey tool to gather employee ideas and perspective thoughts that team members have and really encourage them to think of the annoying things about the way that they do work. What areas do they take for granted or are paying dues for that just aren't necessary anymore?

It's important when starting any type of transformation initiative that you start from a basis of understanding and knowing, rather than assuming. Often we need to take a step back to recognize that you can no longer operate at the status quo and determine what you need to do differently.

So, what does technology have to do with all of this? In our minds it’s four things:

1. Technology is the new process
These days, it is rare if you can get one single thing done at work without engaging with some sort of technology. Our workforce today is so much more technology expectant and tech savvy and therefore fully expect to be able to leverage systems to execute their work efficiently.

2. Technology allows us to streamline mundane routine tasks that are often major dissatisfiers for our workforce
When we think about how we teach, train and coach our professionals throughout the organization, a lot of that is through an apprenticeship model. So much of what you're learning is on the job and situational. How many times do you have to execute the same task over and over to actually learn it and help accelerate your job? How can we be using technology to streamline some of those things so that you're not endlessly stuck in this routine?

3. Technology allows for connectivity
We need to be able to have the ability to offer more flexibility and hybrid work environments, if we're going to continue to move forward. If we want to have different types of employees, different types of relationships, different ways of working, we need to have the right connectivity from a technology standpoint in order to enable it.

4. Technology allows us to continue to grow and scale
It’s likely that organizations are not going to have enough people to continue to sustain the same level of growth over time. How do we use technology to set us up from a foundational standpoint, so that we can continue to grow and scale as an organization? Before it becomes too late or before it's a massive challenge, let's get ahead of it and start thinking about our technology platforms and how they can enable our existing workforce.

How do you get started?

As you start to assemble feedback from your team members, it’s often helps to start to group the ideas you’re hearing and think about how these could be categorized, to help organize and make sense of it all.

Three main categories that we often hear from our clients that you can start to take action on immediately, include:

1. Exploring talent
What are the opportunities for people to develop their skills and hone their craft through experimentation and new experiences? How can we help give our talent the time to explore more? When we give people the opportunity to explore their talents and be able to try doing different things, they can gain a better understanding of what they're truly interested in and what they feel most engaged doing.

2. Elevating talent
How do we equip our leaders with the ability to help their people discover their strengths and uncover their passions? We need to make sure that we are providing people with the right coaching and mentoring to be able to understand what talents they have, how they can apply those talents and how they can navigate throughout the organization to ensure that they're fulfilled in their career and have opportunity ahead of them. To do that, we have to coach the coaches. We have to give the coaches at our organizations tools to be able to elevate that talent. We have to equip our leaders with the skills and abilities to be able to accelerate their team members and therefore, elevate the whole organization.

3. Enabling talent
How do we create support that allows people to do their best while eliminating non-value-added work? We need to shift our perspective from what we think our customers want from our team members, to what our team members actually need. By you focusing on your team members first, and figuring out how you can leverage technology to enable them to do their jobs better and more efficiently, the rest just falls into place.

To truly transform your organization, you can’t just buy specific technology or software and expect it to solve all your challenges. Rather, you must take a step back to examine the current state of your organization and your goals to determine how technology can enable you to do work differently.

How Baker Tilly Digital can help

Digital transformation is no longer just an option – it's required to stay in business. To thrive both today and tomorrow, your organization needs to adapt and act, but that is no easy undertaking. Baker Tilly Digital provides digital transformation, digital strategy, data solutions, cloud solutions and a whole myriad of enterprise technology solutions to help you with your back-office functions. Whether that's automating and streamlining your HR function, your finance function or your operations function, we want to be there every step of the way to help you. Baker Tilly Digital can help build a road map for your organization, to help you put the right people, technology and tools in place to help you deliver great business results.

This article was derived from the Breaking the mold with technology webinar, watch the full recording below.

Ann E. Blakely
Managing Partner
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