Progressive policies create a robust culture in organizations. Policies enabled by digital tools can help organizations positively transform their culture. A favourable culture can lead to flat hierarchies, empowered employees, mindsets encouraging disagreements and differences of opinion, inclusive and diverse teams, respectful workplace etiquette, and hence a conducive work environment.

Cultural transformation and digital transformation are the new buzzwords in the corporate world. We find new-age and technology-driven organizations have already made culture and digital transformation their strategic focus areas to make it a part of their DNA. These organizations have started investing time and effort in getting their culture right and adopting various digital technologies. It is a hard truth that traditional organizations, though aspiring to change, are trailing behind due to years of conditioning and a complacent attitude.

Positive Cultural Transformation 

Cultural transformation creates positive perceptions in employees, customers and partners about an organization. Such perceptions have the power to brand an organization as the best place to work and a preferred entity to engage in business. Progressive culture promotes collaboration and performance. I like to call it ‘Collaborative Performance’ even though it may sound like an oxymoron. We have seen organizations grappling to find answers to these questions.
How do we transform the culture of an organization, what could be the challenges, and how to overcome them?

The Challenge

Transforming the culture in an organization is always challenging since it requires an overall mindset change and behavioural modification in employees. It is essential to sensitize employees on the need for change in behaviours and etiquette, along with upskilling on digital technology for a positive cultural shift.

A traditional organization aspires to change only when they see conspicuous positive cultural changes in other progressive organizations, mostly their competitors. When leaders of such traditional organizations talk about cultural transformation and the need for change, they may come across the following objections:

  • What’s wrong with our existing culture? 
  • “We have been successful with the culture that we have built so far. Why change now?” 

It becomes imperative for leaders to respond to these questions thoughtfully and carefully. Key initiatives of cultural transformation have to be top-down driven and steered by the leaders of the organization. So should leaders talk about an idea of a global standard progressive culture adoptable by all organizations across the globe? As the world is shrinking, it is inevitable to adopt a global culture that bolsters our business. Leaders should deliberate, spend quality time, and make progressive changes to HR policies to enable this positive change. 

Digital Readiness

Digital readiness is the ease at which a team or an organization quickly transitions to adopt digital technology to improve work processes. Hence the need for training on Data Analytics, IoT, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and other technologies becomes indispensable. Organizations have already jumped into this bandwagon and have started training their employees to equip them with the right skills in digital technology.  

It is easier to ascertain the need for digital transformation, chart out a plan, execute and reap benefits. So digital transformation is more tangible than cultural transformation.

cultural and digital transformation
Fig 1 Cultural Transformation

Digitization has become an integral part of cultural transformation, even more so during this pandemic. We all know that social media connects employees, customers, partners like vendors and suppliers and the public in a seamless way. Hence it is critical to use digital tools to improve visibility and loyalty by building positive relationships, sentiments and perceptions in social media. Here we see a clear link between the digital and cultural transformation. So, every organization should adopt digital technology to help in their cultural transformation journey. 

Questions to Ponder

Here are some of the questions one can respond to that might help organizations drive their cultural and digital transformations:

Do you think there is a need for cultural and digital transformation in your organization? 

What has worked well and some of the challenges faced in your organization while going through this process? 

What were some of the training imparted to employees to help in the cultural transformation journey? 

How would you rate the digital readiness in your organization?  

How did you bring about digital awareness in your company?

Did digital transformation help you in the cultural change?

Feel free to jot down your responses on the feedback space provided below.

Outcomes of a favourable culture

The collaborative tools provided by technology-driven organizations have enabled employees to connect virtually without any hassles. Millennials and GenZ groups now look forward to joining Organizations that are open to using digital tools and applications for collaboration, making it a sought-after culture. The digital gizmos that the company provides make the company look more futuristic, building positive perceptions. New hires, be it lateral or fresher, will settle faster if they find the culture encouraging and progressive. The stickiness and loyalty of an employee will considerably improve because of a favourable culture fitment. 

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Sharmila · September 26, 2021 at 2:44 pm

Insightful, George.

    georgekoshi · September 28, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you Sharmila for your feedback.

Indu · September 28, 2021 at 3:40 pm

Clear, incisive analysis Mr. George.
The pandemic has accelerated digitization in all sectors and we know majority of these are going to remain. Customers too have started interacting through digital channels thereby overcoming the fear of customer resistance . Definitely building a “Culture of Trust”or a “Collaborative Performance” to quote you, is the key ingredient for digital readiness…
Well documented… Press ahead👍🏻

    georgekoshi · September 28, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you Indu for your feedback. Building the culture of trust might be the most difficult objective in an organization. Building culture of competition will be easy and natural killing collaboration

Snehlata · October 7, 2021 at 12:58 pm

Insightful and thought-provoking article George Sir

Pandemic has created greater need of digital progressive culture and employee well being

Companies are on constant look out for employee friendly policies and well being and as rightly mentioned by you digital readiness pivot employee pivots the culture, promotes readiness, fosters collaboration and enables greater reach

Thank you once again for sharing your insightful article

Baradeswaran · October 12, 2021 at 2:36 pm

Dear sir,

I’d like to express my deepest appreciation for your excellent article sir. It will shape and help many of us developing skills and habits.

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