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Many business leaders know the important role that employee engagement plays in productivity, retention and the overall culture of the company.

However, many fail to realize the connection that engagement has in successful digital adoption. The digital employee experience is such an integral part of the modern business structure, and the transformation cannot be successful without the help of an engaged employee body.

In fact, according to a study from McKinsey Quarterly (reported by Smart Insights) found that the greatest barrier to digital adoption in the workplace was cultural and behavioural challenges. The other leading factors, such as a lack of support, understanding, or internal alignment, is also closely tied to the experience and mindset of the employees.

So, why exactly does employee engagement have such a strong influence on digital adoption?

Let’s discuss the reasoning behind this connection – and discover some ways to improve your likelihood of digital success through engagement building strategies.

A Burnt-Out Employee Won’t Learn Much

Employee burnout doesn’t just happen when it’s been too long since they’ve taken a vacation. Roughly 67 per cent of employees surveyed by Gallup claims that they are physically and emotionally exhausted – a condition commonly known as burnout.

This can lead to frustration, lack of motivation, and ultimately, it could cause many of your employees to look for work elsewhere.

95% of HR teams have seen a direct link between retention/turnover and high levels of burnout. If your company is a constant “revolving door” of new employees, it can be quite difficult to get very far when it comes to training and implementing new digital approaches.

Furthermore, if an employee already feels overwhelmed with their current workload, it will likely be like pulling teeth to get them to engage with the digital adoption process and learn new systems.

To introduce new digital systems without adding to your employee’s current workload, consider new technical approaches that can make their lives a little bit easier.

For example, automation can streamline many time-consuming tasks related to research or data entry. There are even virtual personal assistants that can take over daily tasks like scheduling meetings, coordinating calendars, or responding to common email inquiries.

Another important thing to keep in mind is to consistently check in with your team members to prevent burnout from occurring in the first place. Team leaders and managers should be meeting with employees regularly to ensure that they have the support they need to complete all of their tasks.

Creating this sense of support and belonging is extremely important for high engagement.

Salesforce’s report found that employees who felt their opinion mattered to their superiors – and had the opportunity to share their thoughts – were 4.6 times more likely to perform better and have a favourable attitude regarding their workplace.

Employees Must View the Digital Features as Tools, Not Replacements

Two key reasons why many employees are resistant to change in digital transformation are fear and a misunderstanding of what this technology means for their career. Studies show that 70% of Americans are fearful that their jobs will be obsolete due to automation and emerging tech within the next few years.

Unfortunately, this negative perception in regards to technology can certainly cause employees to disengage when it comes to digital adoption within the workplace.

To counteract this, it is important to explain the direct benefits that digital adoption will have for the employees themselves – not just the business as a whole. When introducing new digital platforms and tools, employee engagement must revolve around learning how to make their jobs easier, not obsolete.

In addition to improving productivity, the process of digital transformation can also help employees advance in their career by learning new skills that are valuable to have in the modern workforce. Companies that offer digital training and the opportunity to develop technical skills can attract and retain employees who value expansion and growth.

Company Values Are Extremely Powerful

According to a report from Dimension Data, 54% of businesses found that their staff has often been quite resistant to change. Furthermore, 53% of companies struggled to get the entire organization on board with digital adjustments.

While there can be numerous reasons for this resistance, often the root cause is a lack of unified values and connection between employees and the business.

When people truly care about the business they work for (and feel that the company cares about them, too), they will be far more likely to embrace change if they know it will positively impact the organization.

In the previously mentioned report from Salesforce, the connection between value alignment, internal engagement, and profitability is closely linked. Employees who agreed that their company supported similar values, such as social change or creating a positive work environment, had higher performance rates and were more committed to their job.

If a digital adoption aligns well with the purpose and morals of the organization, it’s more likely that employees will jump on the bandwagon and engage with the change.

For example, The Hershey Company was able to get their entire organization on board by using technology to transform the HR department, which in turn improved the employee experience.

The traditional process within such a large corporation often came with long wait-times for forms to be processed. The Hershey Company decided to utilize a new digital platform that eliminated much of the “middleman” process within HR so employees could complete many of their tasks through a self-service system.

This led to vast improvements in the employee experience – and the company reported a significant increase in overall engagement through this system, too.


Companies that fail to change and adapt to the modern digital world will soon become obsolete. However, the road to digital adoption is by no means simple and straightforward. Numerous obstacles stand in the way – one of those being the employees within the organization.

For this transformative journey to be successful, leaders must understand how to keep their employees engaged throughout the process. How digital transformation is approached matters, and failing to get your team members on board with the changes will slow down the progression. Remember to keep these factors in check and always keep your employee’s experience as a top priority.



Written By
Manish Dudharejia is the President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc., a San Diego-based digital agency that specializes in white label services for website design and development and e-commerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the technology and digital marketing industry, he is passionate about helping online businesses take their branding to the next level.

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