Key Takeaways

  • Experts say that building a digital culture is one of the biggest challenges for modern-day businesses.
  • Transitioning traditional business practices to the digital world has its unique challenges —and buy-in is a necessity for success.
  • Use these 5 easy steps to create a digital culture at your firm —and watch the results.

According to business experts, building a digital culture has emerged as a key challenge for companies looking to thrive in the modern business era. So, this sounds like something we should be talking about.

Just what IS digital culture, and how does one go about building one? Glad you asked.

What IS a digital culture?

Used in reference to business practices, digital culture is a relatively new term. Creating a digital culture in the workplace means making the transition from more traditional business practices to thinking and acting digitally. Basically it means shifting company practices to make use of digital solutions across the organization. Not an easy task, but so necessary —not only for better efficiency, but luring the Gen Y’s wanting to be a part of your ecosystem.

It can, as you’ve probably surmised, be a thorny proposition. Any time fundamental changes are made in the ways we operate, there will be snags, objections, and temper tantrums, but a well-developed digital culture that works for everyone is really essential to business success today.

Of course this sort of change doesn’t happen overnight. Research shows that the shift to a digital culture can take on average 5 to 10 years. It takes cooperation and shared vision, and it takes time, but getting started just requires a few sensible steps and essential elements as foundation.

Step #1: Inclusion

This is the most basic element for success in any company-wide effort. The shift to digital culture must leave no one behind. This means providing everyone with an overview of the entire scheme, and then describing just how it will affect their particular activities and duties.  

There can be no culture shift without buy-in, so be sure to make clear the specific ways that incorporating digital solutions will facilitate work and make things more efficient.

Step #2: The right tools

In order to make the digital shift really relevant and beneficial to everyone, the choice of tools is critical. Systems that make use of the cloud and can integrate seamlessly with other tools – a CRM that works with your existing accounting software, for example- are key. But, don’t forget analytics and the progress you can see through data. As I’ve always said … if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it!

Step #3: Getting input

To make the first two steps a reality, input from all stakeholders is critical. This means getting everyone talking about pain points they experience that could be eliminated with the right digital tools. A cultural assessment will further clarify what tools will best fit the organization.

This has double benefits: it provides management with a roadmap for designing the digital culture, and it brings everyone on board and makes them part of the process. This is so Human Nature 101 that we often neglect to remember it can feel like being left out in the cold if you’re not a part of “it.”

Step #4: Training

The best and costliest digital tools are of absolutely no value if they’re not used. Thankfully, most of us are past the idea of just letting people figure new tools out themselves. Support and training must be a significant element in digital adoptions, and should be built into every phase of the plan.

Step #5: Simplicity

For an undertaking with such far-reaching effects, it’s wise to keep things relatively simple at the outset. Many digital tools are designed to grow with you, and your company can add features gradually to keep your team from getting overwhelmed. Implement new tools gradually by setting realistic goals over time to help your team start to think digital first.

So, like anything in life, there’s a major difference wanting and needing something. If you want to create a digital culture, you better really focus on explaining why people need to do it —because if it only remains a “want” … procrastination and no-action occurs.