It is certainly no secret that the majority of companies have now fully embraced the digital era. But what about employees? They are ultimately the ones with a unique and profound ability to unleash the full potential and far‑reaching benefits offered by digital transformation.

Digital transformation has become a firmly entrenched item on the corporate strategic agenda, with most companies pursuing multiple initiatives concurrently such as the implementation of harmonized back‑end systems, the development of data strategies and the utilization of data analytics to drive better decision-making. According to Forbes, however, 84% of companies fail in their attempts to achieve the desired growth by way of leveraging the benefits of digital transformation.

The new digital imperative focuses on adoption

The digital imperative now seems to be shifting from how technology can be used to improve operations to how can employees effectively adopt the new technologies? People are placed at the very forefront of this new imperative.

High adoption rates of systems and new methods of working have thus far largely failed to gain traction. How can we best continue to appeal to employees who have already been asked in recent years to embark upon numerous change journeys?

EY holds the firm belief that the secret lies in the way that employees experience the entire process of change. To improve chances of successfully conducting complex business transformations, companies need to develop a more thorough understanding of human preferences and motivation. It is critical to appeal to both hearts and minds by balancing the hard business key performance indicators with the soft success factors relating to empathy and purpose-led approaches.

Four main pillars ground the EY Change Experience approach:
Purpose, Personalization, Immersion and Insight

Employees from the Millennial and GenZ generations have a particular wish to feel that their work contributes to a higher purpose. However, do not be fooled in thinking this mindset is prevalent only among the younger generations. All employees require a North Star to serve as a guide and to feel that they are part of something meaningful. Beginning with the question of why undoubtedly establishes the most powerful course for any change program.

Employees are increasingly seeking the same personalized experiences in the workplace that they encounter as consumers. Specifically, personalization describes a company’s ability to meet employees’ desires and needs and to answer the question of what’s in it for me. This is an area that typically receives very little attention and resources because program leadership often feel confident that they already ‘know their users’. EY’s Change Experience approach includes creating representative profiles of real employees combined with the mapping of current and future journeys and experiences. This constitutes a critical step forward in obtaining an improved understanding.

More frequent interaction often translates into a higher degree of engagement. This is a basic principle that has been applied countless times in marketing for the purpose of increasing customer engagement and loyalty. Instead of focusing on the number of interactions, what if priority was given to matters that resonate strongly with employees? Focusing on moments that matter across the entire change journey and building engagements that rise above the monotony of day‑to‑day routines will pave the way for the creation of an immersive environment that fosters enthusiasm and inspires people to get involved.

EY’s Change Insights™ tool breathes life into this new purpose‑driven, personalized and immersive approach to change management by assisting companies in upgrading their own analytics capabilities and in gathering large volumes of near‑real-time data on employee sentiment, behaviors, engagement and readiness. The data offers actionable, analytics-driven insight and provides recommendations in user-friendly interfaces that help businesses to discern whether a program is on or off track and how to course-correct by deploying further targeted personalized interventions.

Connecting the change experience to financial metrics and to return on investment

Focusing on the entire employees’ experience along the change journey is an approach that is markedly different, personalized and immersive, and is designed to drive faster business adoption and a better return on investment.