Digital transformation: Management 4.0

The topic of digitalization is “rampant” throughout companies. This trend is linked to a wide range of uncertainties, thus demanding a not entirely new character trait particularly from managers.

The digital transformation is changing both our private and our personal lives step-by-step. While this creates a wide range of new opportunities across all levels, it also entails risks and, ultimately, awakens new fears—especially among companies’ employees. However, the transformation cannot be successfully implemented without a “fearless” approach on behalf of employees with regard to how they think and act.

But there is still a great deal to do, this fact is underlined by a current study about the labor market which was conducted by the employment-placement agency Robert Half. According to this study, 70 percent of managers surveyed identified problems associated with training employees on the topic of new technologies. At the same time, more than 80 percent are confident that the digital transformation can be successfully implemented by the current management team. There is a clear discrepancy between the boardroom and the other departments. The employment-placement agency notes this can only be overcome by means of clear communication across all levels. After all, managers must be able to convey the advantages of the new workplace to all employees to ensure the successful integration of the digital transformation within their own companies. Ideally, in an analog manner from person to person.

This also serves as a means by which employees learn about new jobs and profiles that are being created within their own company as a result of the digitalization, thus enabling them to, for example, take advantage of potential advancement opportunities. Ultimately, there must be clarity regarding the overall impact of digitalization on the individual departments and the expectations placed on employees. According to the study, an open dialog and constant exchange of information, coupled with empathy, are the decisive factors that determine whether or not the digital transformation is successful.

Therefore, just over half (51 percent) of the executives surveyed are primarily looking for managers possessing outstanding communication skills to implement the transformation process. In addition, technological understanding (58 percent) and concrete technical know-how (45 percent) are also in demand.

“External” digital transformation

Two-thirds of the companies have already increased their training budget for individual sessions and seminars, which is also intended to foster employees’ willingness to try something new. Furthermore, training costs will be reimbursed and digital project teams are being established.

More than one-third (38 percent) of the managers surveyed would also seek assistance from external experts to help organize the digital transformation. Experienced interim managers specializing in digitalization projects can pass on essential knowledge, increase existing teams’ productivity and support efforts to achieve goals.

But above all, the emphasis is on “communication first”, because only those who are able to impart technical know-how, convince employees and actively communicate the digital cultural transformation throughout all of the company’s departments can identify themselves as a digital leader.