Leading IT Transformation – Workshop 9 (Effective Communications)
The Appleton Greene Corporate Training Program (CTP) for Leading IT Transformation is provided by Ms. Drabenstadt MBA BBA Certified Learning Provider (CLP). Program Specifications: Monthly cost USD$2,500.00; Monthly Workshops 6 hours; Monthly Support 4 hours; Program Duration 24 months; Program orders subject to ongoing availability.
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Learning Provider Profile
Ms. Drabenstadt is a Certified Learning Provider (CLP) at Appleton Greene and she has experience in Information Technology, Information Governance, Compliance and Audit. She has achieved an MBA, and BBA. She has industry experience within the following sectors: Technology; Insurance and Financial Services. She has had commercial experience within the following countries: United States of America, Canada, Australia, India, Trinidad, and Jamaica. Her program will initially be available in the following cities: Madison WI; Minneapolis MN; Chicago IL; Atlanta GA and Denver CO. Her personal achievements include: Developed Trusted IT-Business Relationship; Delivered Increased Business Value/Time; Decreased IT Costs; Re-tooled IT Staff; Increased IT Employee Morale. Her service skills incorporate: IT transformation leadership; process improvement; change management; program management and information governance.
Like all other business processes, in IT transformation too communication is key. IT transformation is usually a huge change for an organization and getting everyone aligned on the task is quite challenging. There are various people involved and for the transition to be seamless, everyone must be aware of what the final goal is or what the action plan is. This is only possible with effective communication. People are, in general, resistant to change. Employees in an organization tend to become comfortable in the current state and find it hard to understand why a transformation is necessary unless it has been clearly explained. They must know why they need to work for this change and how it is going to positively affect them. Moreover, it is not just the people on the digital transformation team that need to adapt to the change but all other employees who will gradually become a part of it. So it is important to have a strong strategy for effective communication within the company. There should be a multi-channel approach to communication so that everyone can be reached on their preferred communication channels. Companies need to use their intranet, emails, messaging apps, employee portals, websites, or any other channel possible to share important updates. The company culture should also evolve to support effective communication. Information should flow in all directions. Important updates in strategy or policies should be clearly communicated by the leadership, while employees should convey their concerns and challenges so the leadership can work on them. There should be enough authoritative resources for the employees to learn from. Also, technical teams should avoid using complex technical language so that everyone is able to understand their messages. These are some signs of a good communication strategy. Effective communication is able to improve employee engagement and, thus, increase productivity.
01. Communication Strategy: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
02. Leadership’s Role: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
03. Internal Communications: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
04. Communication Channels: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
05. Communicate Frequently: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
06. Creative Communication Campaigns: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
07. Personalized Communication: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. 1 Month
08. Two-Way Communication: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
09. Easy Access to Business Documents : departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
10. Celebrate Employee Success: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
11. Accountability: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
12. Measure Communication Strategy Effectiveness: departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development. Time Allocated: 1 Month
01. Communication Strategy: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
02. Leadership’s Role: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
03. Internal Communications: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
04. Communication Channels: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
05. Communicate Frequently: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
06. Creative Communication Campaigns: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
07. Personalized Communication: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
08. Two-Way Communication: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
09. Easy Access to Business Documents: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
10. Celebrate Employee Success: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
11. Accountability: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
12. Measure Communication Strategy Effectiveness: Each individual department head to undertake departmental SWOT analysis; strategy research & development.
01. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Communication Strategy.
02. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Leadership’s Role.
03. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Internal Communications.
04. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Communication Channels.
05. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Communicate Frequently.
06. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Creative Communication Campaigns.
07. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Personalized Communication.
08. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Two-Way Communication.
09. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Easy Access to Business Documents.
10. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Celebrate Employee Success.
11. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Accountability.
12. Create a task on your calendar, to be completed within the next month, to analyze Measure Communication Strategy Effectiveness.
The Importance of Communication in IT Transformation
From how we connect with one another to how we share and analyze information to how businesses work, technology is transforming the world. The most successful businesses are those who quickly adopt new technologies to better their operations and stay ahead of the competition. Today, more and more firms are opting for IT transformation. However, without a clear communications plan in place, the IT transformation process may take longer than expected, or possibly fail to take off at all.
Communication’s Role in IT Transformations
An IT transition might take years, depending on the size and structure of the firm. While The Home Depot took only two years to complete their shift, Microsoft took five years, Best Buy took seven, and Target took eight. Regardless of the time commitment, each of these digital transitions was a significant success, with stock price increases ranging from 59 to 258%.
Not all digital transitions succeed, but they are undeniably important in communications. The CIO (or management equivalent) must ensure that the roll-out plans and execution methods are clearly communicated throughout all departments, as the IT department will most likely lead the digital transformation. To succeed, an internal change of this magnitude, which often affects the majority, if not all, of the organization, requires an aggressive internal communications plan. However, because the IT department is not traditionally associated with excellent communication abilities, a digital transformation process in many firms can suffer as a result.
A digital transformation that isn’t properly communicated can:
• Take longer than expected, resulting in higher costs
• Leave employees frustrated and perplexed about the changes
• Cause a rift between IT and other departments, affecting corporate culture
• Never be properly adopted by employees
• Never be “complete” due to a variety of internal issues despite significant investments
Don’t Count on Emails: Use a Multi-Channel Strategy
There’s a good chance that a significant number of employees in your company ignore communications from the IT department. Regardless of how much higher management highlights the necessity of the new IT digital transformation initiative, some people simply ignore it.
Implement a multi-channel strategy to get through this stumbling block. Your staff can connect with one another through a variety of channels, including the intranet, mobile apps, and Slack. Engage with your employees on their preferred channel so that they are more likely to grasp the information shared by your IT department.
Improve employee engagement to build a great corporate culture.
Employees from other departments are less inclined to accept new practices that aren’t explained to them. Explaining why transformations are taking place can help CIOs raise employee engagement dramatically. There’s always a compelling reason for change, and letting employees grasp the transformation’s aim can help them feel more involved.
Let’s face it: connecting with employees is difficult for any team, let alone IT. (In 2021, Gallup estimates that only 20% of employees globally will be engaged at work.) However, IT input, updates, and information are vital for employees to feel connected, generate innovation, and maintain high productivity. And a platform for workforce communication can make all the difference.
You’ll build a strong business culture that supports learning, development, and growth through enhancing employee engagement—all of which are essential for employees to embrace an ongoing digital transition positively.
CIOs are now expected to play a key role in fostering a productive and successful corporate culture. CIOs should think of their culture as a “employee experience initiative,” according to Leigh McMullen, VP analyst at Gartner.
Your projects are more likely to fail if the majority of employees are disengaged and don’t understand why decisions are being made. Content that doesn’t merely “tell” but also “shows.” Employees must be transformed into actors in order for the company’s story to be told effectively. Employees become stakeholders in the success of the digital transformation program when they have a role and a voice.
How WashREIT Changed the Culture of the Company
Here’s an example of developing a discourse (or igniting a new kind of engagement) between workers and the management team using a workforce platform.
“As we think about how technology enables people to do their jobs, to me, it’s meeting people where they are. That’s so much of what makes for good communication. It lets people work where they want to work, it lets people consume information in the way they want to consume it, in the time they want to consume it. It gives them that flexibility to blend that life experience with the work experience.”
— Susan Gerock, CIO at WashREIT.
The problem – how to reach out to employees who are spread out across the country.
WashREIT’s employees are genuinely mobile. They have a large remote staff, and many of their employees are always on the move, interacting with people outside of the office, visiting development and building sites, and touring properties. Washington REIT recognized the importance of having a strong approach to communicate with all of their employees and made it one of their strategic goals for the year.
The solution — a platform for employee communication.
None of the tried-and-true methods of reaching out to staff worked. They turned to Firstup, a workforce communications platform that delivered the mission-control technology they needed to reach their employees where they were and on their preferred channels, such as a mobile app.
IT teams, for example, seized control of their own content distribution platforms. One of IT’s early programs was to raise awareness about phishing emails. It drew some of the highest participation of their entire employee communications program because it was so innovative, popular, and easy to access. In addition, IT used engaging questions and interviews to introduce their personnel to the rest of the organization, resulting in stronger personal relationships and the development of their company culture.
Ensure that IT uses non-technical jargon when communicating.
While it may appear that conveying a transformation’s plans and goals to other departments is a simple task, it is not. When an IT staff communicates in technical jargon, the message is not being received. Other departments may get confused, hostile, and frustrated with IT as a result of this. Employee cooperation can be reduced, projects can be slowed, and corporate culture can be impacted by these attitudes.
The key to breaking this cycle, according to Wavestone US, is to allow IT to interact with all of the company’s business segments. Treat IT as a “customer service organization” that assists all departments. Each department can choose an IT representative to whom they can direct questions, problems, or ideas. This can help to bridge the gap in communication and keep projects on track.
Make a Place for Credible Documentation
Finally, an IT transformation is a difficult process that will have a varied impact on each function inside an organization. By retaining a location for authoritative documents, the IT department may assist in resolving any ambiguity. This could be a go-to spot for employees looking for:
• The rationale for the digital transformation
• The digital transformation’s aims
• The anticipated schedule with regular updates on progress
• Passwords, how-to resources, and contact information
To be competitive in today’s business, digital transformations are required. However, if the IT department does not lead the rest of the company through the process, the project will be greatly slowed or fail.
According to Forbes, 80 percent of companies believe their digital activities encompass the entire business, indicating that these companies have effectively communicated their value proposition to their employees. Shareholders may achieve stronger returns and a better Customer Experience by prioritizing internal involvement.
Despite having a strong reputation in this era, there have been numerous failed digital transformations in significant corporations, with $900 billion squandered on failed projects. They’ve all agreed that communication was a major factor in the trip’s failure. Failure to communicate their aims, strategy, and purpose to their staff has landed them in hot water from the outset.
Every business should take use of digital technologies, but doing so requires the proper foundation. Improving internal communication and engagement within firms is a fantastic place to start. Create a clear goal, evaluate engagement, and be ready for change to guarantee communication is at the center of digital transformation.
Figure 1: According to Gartner, employee communications play a strategic role in the digital workplace.
Developing a Common Goal
Employees will feel much more involved if you focus on the ultimate aim and purpose of digital transformation and communicate it effectively to them. Explain where the company is going, why it is changing, and why the changes are necessary. It’s excellent if you can show them how essential their contribution is and how it might effect them on a personal level. This will assist them in being more motivated to achieve success. Improved corporate results can be fueled by a connected workplace and better communication.
Measuring the Relationship
When the message does not get across, communication is useless. It’s much more than just getting the word across. To guarantee that the message was received, the organization should track employee engagement and response to the message. Measure the engagement with information and the actions performed by different business units to quantify the digital transformation journey. It’s best to get real-time input so you can make changes as needed.
Become a Change-Ready Company
Change does not always involve the use of new tools or processes; it can simply indicate the existence of a culture and communication system that can adapt to any situation. Humans thrive on regularity, but the rate of technological and corporate evolution is unending, and it is only prudent for businesses to be prepared for change in order to achieve effective digital transformation.
Communicate the Correct Growth
Organizations must become more innovative in the channels they use in the digital world to enable the faster ways of working that digital transformation necessitates. Focus on the people and motivate them to help the company succeed. Empower employees to take a more systematic, agile, and effective digital transformation journey. With proper internal communication amongst all business groups, Enterprise Architecture Development may begin the process of digital transformation. The capacity to create goals might be jeopardized by a lack of communication skills, which can result in unproductive Enterprise Architecture outputs. With the help of Enterprise Architecture, organizations can develop a Business and Technology Strategy Plan that can accelerate digital transformation by reducing complexity and aligning business with technology —
When it comes to digital transformation, how do you meet employee expectations?
While digital projects may appear to be all about technology, their success is dependent on how successfully you can interact with your employees inside. Employees have high expectations for the quality of engagement they receive from their corporate teams in today’s on-demand society. You may improve the employee experience and streamline workflows by combining your communications stack with a workforce communications platform.
CIOs who take on the task of engaging their staff demonstrate how much they appreciate them—and set their teams up for very successful digital transformations and a boost in the company’s IT brand.
Employee productivity and workplace communication
Workplace communication has an impact on a wide range of corporate functions. However, the most popular reason why Chief Communications Officers and other communications professionals are investing in internal communications more than ever before is to boost employee productivity.
Employees in organizations with good internal communication are 20 to 25 percent more productive than those in companies where employees are not connected.
One of the issues that businesses face time and time again is how to keep staff motivated and engaged.
Keeping your staff updated about key events inside your company is one of the finest methods to keep them motivated.
Business profitability and workplace communication
Business performance and profitability suffer as a result of poor workplace communication. To put it another way, the cost of inadequate internal communication is enormous.
According to a survey of 400 organizations with 100,000 employees, insufficient communication to and amongst employees costs each company $62.4 million each year.
Furthermore, a survey by Willis Tower Watson, a global risk management and advisory firm, found that companies with good communication techniques earn 47 percent higher total returns to shareholders than those with poor communication.
Three Ways Workplace Communication Is Changing
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and potential risks, most businesses have asked their staff to work from home. As a result, the move to remote employment has resulted in long-term changes.
Simply said, we won’t be able to work the same way we did before the epidemic.
The fact that most businesses continue to offer flexible work arrangements is one of the key reasons why there is no such thing as “return to normal.” Working from home is becoming more common.
For businesses, this means various things:
1. They’ll have to reconsider their IC plans.
The adoption of new internal communication technologies by most firms is likely to be one of the most significant shifts in the near future. Because emails and even video conferencing capabilities will not be sufficient to keep organizations functioning properly.
When corporations allowed their workers to work from home, the majority of them began providing video conferencing technologies to make distant meetings more manageable.
But one-on-one or team sessions aren’t the only ways to collaborate remotely.
Because the current global environment is significantly transforming the workplace, IC teams will need to figure out how to:
• Ensure that staff are aware of safety and security protocols.
• Assist staff in keeping track of what other teams are working on so that their efforts can be better aligned to achieve deadlines. The era of cross-functional collaboration has arrived!
• Make it simple for employees to stay up with corporate news so that they are well-informed about the firm’s direction and do not feel isolated from the rest of the workforce.
2. One of their major responsibilities will be to assist employees in finding the optimal work-life balance.
Because remote work is almost certainly here to stay — at least in part — IC and HR teams will need to assist employees in finding the correct balance between work and personal life.
People are more productive when they work remotely, according to research. According to HubSpot, 77 percent of employees believe that working from home increases their productivity. However, for the most part, this entails working longer hours.
According to Business News Daily, remote employees work 1.4 more days each month than their office-based counterparts, resulting in over three weeks of more labor every year.
As a result, 29% of remote workers say they struggle with work-life balance, and 31% say they’ve had to take time off for mental health reasons.
As remote work becomes more prevalent, HR and IC teams will undoubtedly develop new processes to assist employees in their everyday tasks while also protecting their mental health and wellness through efficient workplace communication.
3. The IC and HR teams will need to come up with new techniques to onboard new recruits.
Onboarding is a crucial step in the process. Employees’ early impressions of the company have a direct bearing on their inclination to stay.
New recruit retention improves by 82 percent when onboarding is done properly. Furthermore, new workers who participate in a well-structured onboarding orientation program are 82% more likely to stay at a company for three years.
Chapter 1: Communication Strategy
An effective communication strategy is essential for firms to carry out a successful IT transition. There could be a negative influence on the workplace if it isn’t provided. Furthermore, firms face the possibility of erroneous information being disseminated throughout the organization, resulting in discord and poor business decisions. As a result, managing organizational communication should be at the heart of each firm because it allows information to flow freely across all levels of a hierarchy.
Through internal and external communication, communication strategies guarantee that critical information reaches the proper individuals. All employees must be on the same page in order for the workforce to be more efficient. Key information should be disseminated equitably throughout the organization, with no details overlooked. Employees may find it challenging to fulfill their tasks properly if they do not have all of the necessary information. For example, if your company makes a policy change, your clients and staff should be fully informed.
Employees can resort to a standardized plan to interact with managers, coworkers, and clients after implementing a communication strategy. A communication plan guarantees that everyone engaged has enough information to talk about it, ensuring workplace uniformity and avoiding ambiguity.
An efficient communication plan aids in the preservation of a company’s public image. A professional and standardized approach of communicating with external contacts ensures a positive image of the organization. If two contradictory pieces of information are sent to external contacts by separate employees, it may indicate that the company is unorganized and dishonest.
Employees may be left out due to ineffective communication or uneven dissemination of knowledge, especially if management fails to share essential information. A solid communication strategy plan guarantees that information is disseminated evenly and on a regular basis throughout the company. This also enhances employee trust in the organization by creating a sense of transparency.
There are numerous advantages to having a communication strategy in place inside a company. Effective communication methods in businesses experiencing IT transformations can help enterprises increase overall worker efficiency, establish a positive market presence, and instill a sense of trust among employees. These elements play a significant effect in a company’s success.
The purpose of this course manual is to explain why and how a communication strategy may be adopted in a company.
Chapter 2: Leadership’s Role
Developing strong communication is one of the leaders’ top priorities.
Many business leaders feel that effective internal communications can greatly boost staff productivity throughout an IT transformation project.
Although communication appears to be straightforward, when we try to communicate with others, there is always the possibility of misunderstanding, which can lead to conflicts and disappointments in personal or professional relationships.
You may improve communication in the workplace by developing strong communication skills. You can better connect with your friends, coworkers, and boss by developing strong communication abilities.
Why do leaders need to improve their communication abilities?
We are receiving, sending, and processing a great amount of communications every day in this modern day.
However, effective communication entails more than just exchanging knowledge; it also necessitates an understanding of the emotions that underpin that information.
Successful communication can strengthen personal and professional relationships. They can help us understand people and circumstances that occur on a daily basis in our personal lives.
Developing communication skills can assist us in avoiding disputes, reaching compromises, and making better decisions.
This course manual provides an excellent outline of why leadership communication skills are critical during an IT transformation.
Managers with good communication skills can accept and give negative or heavy messages without becoming frustrated or losing trust. This is critical in order to keep staff engaged and motivated.
Employees nowadays expect to be kept up to date on all aspects of the company and not miss any vital information.
They expect leaders to convey their duties and objectives on a frequent basis. They want constant feedback on their work and to be able to locate information they require in a matter of seconds.
Employers who are able to effectively convey their company’s principles and business goals to their employees have much lower employee turnover rates.
Furthermore, the manner in which managers communicate with employees during times of change has a direct bearing on the company’s bottom line. In fact, most digital transformation plans fail due to a lack of workplace communication.
As a result, businesses must have a well-defined strategy for keeping their staff informed and motivated.
Although we can improve our communication abilities, spontaneous communication is more successful than following a set of rules. The spoken word has a distinct reverberation than spontaneous speech.
Of course, developing these skills and becoming an effective speaker takes time and work. Communication abilities will become more spontaneous and automatic as you put in more effort and practice.
Chapter 3: Internal Communications
Internal Communications (IC): The What, Why, Who and How
Every company’s internal communications department is critical. Internal communications are used by companies to keep their staff informed and engaged about what is going on in their company.
You’ll learn why internal communications are vital, who is responsible for them, and how to establish a successful IC strategy in this course handbook.
Internal Communications (IC) is a term used to describe how a company communicates internally.
Internal communications (IC) is the function in charge of ensuring effective communication among employees within a company.
The scope of work in IC departments differs depending on the organization and practitioner. They may be in charge of creating and delivering messages and campaigns on behalf of leaders and managers, as well as facilitating two-way communication and helping staff improve their communication skills.
Why Does Internal Communication Play a Role in Digital Transformation?
Internal communications is responsible for driving awareness and engagement across your organization, therefore digital change should begin there.
Employees that are well-informed about new workplace technology, understand its