At the end of the XIX century, the contrast between blue-collar and white-collar was important and helped in strengthening the class war concept. The first still being treated worse than the second. With the digitization of business, when more and more things are automated, are we going to reinforce this pattern?
Digital transformation and internal communication
Few month ago, I attended as a speaker at a conference on digital transformation of organizations, in which I put forward that enterprise had to move in as one to this digitalization and leave no one behind. One of the speakers replied, correctly, that in a large organization, you can’t do everything at once and there were priorities to be set. The problem is that this sense of priorities is rarely known to all employees and most of the time they feel that it is always the same who are the beneficiaries. Internal communication is often deficient in this aspect and doesn’t allow employees to position. They often have to undergo or watch the train leave.
At the same time, it’s not specific to this topic, the company’s communication strategy has always been something rather weak or absent. We are far from the idea of having to treat its employees as well as those customers. And beyond communication, if everyone can’t move forward at the same speed, how to choose who will be the first to benefit ? What symbol do we want to give? Are we talking about gains for the individual and the company or just implementation simplicity?
A digital gap growing up?
With the launch of emails and intranets, most of the business population was excluded from the first digitizing, creating de facto a split in the company. And all this from the preconceived idea that, in any event, this employee category don’t need it. Today, some people still do not have access to a computer or even email and are still being sidelined. But the majority of these employees have access privately to a number of devices to connect, for instance to social networks. They fully understand the issues around these tools and the impact they could have on their daily work, as it’s already the case in their private life. What makes their exclusion from the digitalization of the company even more ridiculous and poorly lived.
While this is only a part of the reasons for disengagement, internal communication barely access to those employees to interest them in the future of the company. Organizations can not complain about the withdrawal of 75% of their employees, if the majority of them are treated as « second class citizens ». And, while a « new » organization digitizing movement would finally fill this growing gap, often the reverse happens. Symbolically that says it all, especially when those employees are those that produce value for company as in industry or retail to name a few.
At a time when the question of « tools » arises for many business that go to this digital transformation, who should be served first? And more than tools, it’s a new way of designing its business within the company that must be thought as a stakeholder. Without quoting Elton Mayo’s studies, showing that we are interested in people by changing their working condition is a real plus in their commitment on daily basis. Especially if those employees are the worst off.
Before asking everyone to participate in the transformation of the enterprise, giving them the means to be stakeholders as well. Because only a critical mass will change culture and habits.