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Beyond the corkboard: better engaging staff key to digital transformation

A new survey, focussed on the way different sectors approach technology, has revealed a mismatch between the views of firstline health workers and executives.

The research, commissioned by Microsoft, highlighted an eagerness among firstline health workers to engage with technology, yet 88 per cent of health sector managers who responded said one of the challenges of digital transformation was getting departments to overcome the fear of massive change.

Analyst firm YouGov surveyed 1390 working adults for Microsoft in September this year. It focussed on four sectors – health, retail, financial services and manufacturing.

Of the firstline health workers surveyed, just under two thirds believe that digital technology will help revolutionise the healthcare industry while 59 per cent want to work for digitally enabled organisations.

The vast majority (85 per cent) believe technology can help streamline processes, freeing them up for more direct care.

While firstline health workers acknowledge these benefits to technology, more than two thirds feared that automation leads to job losses.

Microsoft suggested this issue, as well as why managers feel there is departmental resistance to change could be put down to a lack of communication.

More than a third of firstline workers said their organisation is not effective in communicating digital transformations, while 61 per cent said they don’t have an active and participatory role in how technology is deployed.

While 75 per cent of health sector managers said that they knew what the organisation was doing with respect to digital technologies, this plunged to 41 per cent among firstline workers.

Ian Heard, general manager of digital workplace & collaboration at Microsoft Australia, said firstline workers are still being updated in team meetings or even via old-fashioned cork noticeboards.

Heard said the survey, which was released to coincide with the launch of Microsoft 365 F1, highlights the importance of encouraging workers, regardless of their position in the organisation, to give and receive constructive feedback.

Organisations that engage frontline workers in their digital transformation initiatives – ensuring they were inclusive, simple and effective, supporting firstline creativity and teamwork while preserving enterprise and employee security – would find themselves better placed to succeed with strategic priorities, he added.

"Digital transformation is powerful but everyone needs access,” Heard said. “Firstline workers are the key to the next wave of successful digital transformation and sustained competitiveness."

Nursing Review unpacked more of the survey's findings with Heard and got his thoughts on how to better engage staff in digital transformation initiatives.

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