How to Overcome Your Employees’ Fear of Digitalization

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Like many other sectors in Germany, the construction industry is lagging behind when it comes to digitalization. The fear of digitalization plays a decisive role here. Technological innovations such as the digital twin and BIM are an important milestone in the digitalization of an entire industry. However, not even one in ten companies uses innovative solutions such as Digital Twinning or BIM. The advantages of the collaborative way of working through the use of digital solutions cannot be dismissed out of hand. The reason for the inadequate use often lies in the employees’ fears about using new technologies and methods. After all, to go with the change, you have to leave your comfort zone. Habit, on the other hand, seems safe and controllable. New things, such as the digitalization of existing processes, are initially rejected because they require effort, development and willingness to change. The unwillingness of employees therefore also plays an important part in the fact that currently, on average, 70% of all digitalization projects still fail.

Fear of digitalization is misplaced, because the ability of companies to change is vital for survival nowadays. There are already some examples where very large companies have been brought down by disruption. Video stores, such as Blockbuster, missed the digital transformation and turned down the chance to buy the streaming service Netflix in 2000 for just under $50 million. Ten years later, there is still only one of the once more than 9,000 branches worldwide and Netflix is the market leader. This example shows the inevitability of digital transformation for companies. But how can employees be relieved of their fear of digitalization and the use of innovative methods?

Fear of digitalization: On guard or En garde?

Often, the introduction of new technologies is a strategic decision. This is why the vision of integrating digital twins as a replacement for conventional methods is classically discussed within senior management. Only then are the measures passed down and training prescribed. In this way, the junior executives are literally overwhelmed by the delegated “digitalization” task package, which is accompanied by a decline in motivation with regard to implementation. This illustration clearly shows that employees are caught off guard by digitalization. The combination of delegation and low appreciation of the employees promotes the fear of digitalization and the motivation to help shape it.

Accompany employees in the digital transformation and take away their fear of digitalization.

The most innovative solution will only really move a company forward if the employees understand and accept it, as the employees are the engine of every company. The desired success can only be achieved if the potential of the employees is actively used and the executives symbolically present themselves as pioneers of digitalization. In this way, employees can lose their fear of digitalization and understand the long-term benefits of change. Employees must be constantly introduced to the new processes through workshops or personnel development measures, and thus be intrinsically motivated by the managers. Extrinsic benefits, such as salary increases, thus have a rather short-term incentive character.

What You Can Do to Increase Engagement and Build Intrinsic Motivation:

  • Communicate the company vision attractively
  • Illustrate the process of digital transformation over time
  • Relieve the fear of resignation and promote social inclusion
  • Communicate the sense of purpose and self-realization through change
  • Create an optimal level of aspiration through portioned units
  • Conceive easy success stories at the beginning
  • Implement an intrinsic motivation system

Durch kollaboratives Lernen & mitarbeiterfreundliche Lernprozesse die Angst vor der Digitalisierung nehmen

Ease the fear of digitalisation through collaborative learning and employee-friendly learning processes. Collaborative learning without pressure is important to motivate employees to give new tasks a chance. Through collaborative learning, employees do not feel alone when tackling new tasks and thus see that others are struggling with similar challenges. They can therefore overcome the fear of digitalisation together and motivate and thus also strengthen the team spirit. Learning by doing in combination with short trainings can be much more effective than monotonous frontal sound bites. Give employees more responsibility and a flexible learning model with a success curve that can be mastered quickly to make the initial learning process positive. The digitransform.de Gesellschaft für Digitale Transformation mbH shows how this can be successfully mastered!!

At “Sendung mit der Maus” level, digitransform.de Gesellschaft für digitale Transformation mbH (www.digitransform.de) offers a digital driving license that conveys the major topic of digitalization in an understandable way. Growing companies already deal a lot with digitalization; the crucial problem is often that the workforces are not growing fast enough. Often the employees do not understand the benefits and digitransform.de therefore wants to “solve the last mile dilemma”. This means the last step to the customer. The digital driving license should not only enable learning for the company, but also learning for life. The major topic of digitalization is explained here in three blocks:

1. What does digitalization do to me?
2. What is happening in my line of business?
3. What is happening in my company?

Already, more than 40,000 satisfied users are now owners of the digital driving license. In the meantime, the digital driving license can also be used by private individuals instead of only for company employees.

“No fear of contact with digitalization!” The understanding of self-reliant, intrinsic motivation is created here to understand this big topic. So the advice of Managing Director Christoph Bubmann is: “Don’t wait, start!”

Overcome the fear of digitalization and promote individual strengths

Get to know your employees and use individual strengths for the digital transformation project.  For example, does an employee respond particularly well to others, is helpful and very digital when it comes to the new processes? Then this person could take over the team leadership of the new project. He or she could serve as a mentor or support his or her team colleagues within the framework of collegial consultation. Because internal mutual support strengthens cohesion on the one hand, and on the other hand, the use of external IT consultants can thus be terminated more quickly, which leads to cost savings. Knowing the strengths of individual employees, actively using them for the company and the team spirit is important for the atmosphere within the working environment. This can also make employees feel more valued and competent, and thus see the fear of digitalization as a new challenge or opportunity.

Fear of Digitalization and Corporate Culture

We’ve all heard the saying “we can’t see the wood for the trees”. We often experience this feeling by getting bogged down in a specific task and thus losing sight of the big picture. We can digitize our processes to infinity and let off steam within the digital range of solutions until we can no longer see the forest. However, in order to see the forest, we have to get out of it occasionally, to go up a mountain. This mountain symbolizes the appropriate corporate culture here. Companies that succeed in raising their employees to a new cultural level through digitalization are on their way to market leadership. One can speak of a successful change management process, only when the digital transformation is anchored in the corporate culture. Through this process, the fear of digitalization will soon no longer play a role in your company.

At DiConneX, we accompany you with our digital consulting on the way to the digital working world and help you with the integration of digital work processes. This way, value-adding processes are optimized and the latest technologies are sustainably anchored in your company. For more information, sign up for our newsletter!

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