desk with technology including laptop
Hybrid work
Getting started

Human-centered digital transformation: why and how to focus on users first?


October 9, 2023


December 28, 2023

More than 80% of businesses fail to implement their digital transformation successfully 1. So, how do the other 20% manage to accomplish this shift? What is their secret? Let’s go straight to the point: adopting a people-first approach has a lot, if not everything, to do with it. Therefore, we wanted to give you some of the best practices for focusing on human-centered digital transformation.

Organizational change management plays a major part in promoting a people-centric strategy for your digital transformation. It includes preparing your workforce for this transition, implementing these technological shifts successfully, and following up. 

Yet, the secret ingredient is always to remember that technologies must adapt to users’ needs and not the other way around. We detail why creating a user-first tech infrastructure is essential, and we give you some key tips for an employee-centric digital transformation.

Why does focusing on a human-centered digital transformation matter?

The role of digital tools is to serve people

The goal of any new technology is to make users’ lives easier. In the workplace, this means people who have access to modern digital resources become more efficient and productive. But this only happens on one condition. The tools have to be introduced while keeping the idea of helping workers in mind. This is the core role of digital transformation. It serves team members so they can deliver a better outcome. 

Here are two classic examples. With more AI in the workplace, robots take over repetitive and low-value tasks so employees can focus more on tasks with higher value. With tools like our desk booking software, hybrid teams manage their flexible schedules while organizations improve employee experience and reduce office costs.

The success of digital transformation depends on the users

Yet, to reach those positive outcomes, users still need to be eager to adopt these tools and, most importantly, know how to use them. To promote human-centered digital transformation, employees have to understand how these changes can benefit their daily tasks and make their lives better. In other words, you have to answer the “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) question. 

Focusing on shifting people’s minds before reshaping the way they work will help them understand the purpose and the advantages of these new digital resources. Ultimately, it motivates them to be trained on how to use these tools efficiently. By keeping an employee-centric approach, you inspire your staff to want to learn more and embrace these technologies instead of being forced to use them.

👋 Are you curious to know how deskbird supports hybrid workforces and organizations? Discover the perks of a user-friendly desk booking app: click, book, work!

birds eye view of table with many laptops
Employees using technology

Employees have contradicting feelings toward digital transformation

The rapid development of technologies might be scary to many of us for different reasons. In the workplace, employees also worry about the impact of digital transformation. What’s the future of their job? Will they need to be re-skilled? What if a robot takes over their tasks?

On one hand, they worry about the impact of digital transformation on their daily tasks and their job. On the other hand, staying up-to-date and embracing the new digital tools and resources is one of the strongest requirements, especially for millennials and Gen. Z workers.

Yes, digital transformation reshuffles the workplace. Job positions and ways of working are changing. You must prepare your staff and assist them in this transition. This can’t be done without a people-first and supportive approach. We will talk more in detail about this aspect when digging into the four best practices for a successful digital transformation.

A human-centered digital transformation enhances employee satisfaction and experience

Fostering employee experience and increasing satisfaction in the workplace are two fundamental aspects for any business that wants to grow and thrive. Yet, not considering employees as the core of your digital transformation strategy can negatively impact these two elements significantly p, leading to frustration, discontentment, and, eventually, talent loss. 

Putting your workers at the center of your digital transformation shows that you care about their experience and feelings toward these changes. It also helps you guarantee that these new software and digital processes meet their needs and expectations. This approach definitely increases your chances of maintaining and improving employee satisfaction and experience while making digital shifts.

💡 Check out our customers’ reviews to discover what our users think about the deskbird app!

What are the four best practices for digital transformation to remain people-focused?

Communication and transparency

Communication is key when proceeding with such a shift in the workplace. One of the main priorities for IT professionals and management teams is to explain to people why this digital transformation is happening. Take the time to discuss with the rest of the workforce, and don’t forget to drop the IT jargon. Everybody needs to understand what you are talking about. 

Also, you need to highlight the benefits of it from an individual and team level (What’s in it for me - WIIFM). But be transparent about the challenges, too. All changes come with their own obstacles. Prepare your coworkers for these possibilities and share the solutions you’ve already planned to overcome them. From a company perspective, it also enables you to understand how people react to it and detect potential issues for the future. 

Lastly, you should always stay available for your colleagues, in addition to the support of their managers, to keep the conversation open in case new questions come up.

Collaboration with other departments

As an IT professional, implementing this or that digital tool may seem like an obvious choice and a great solution. Yet, the input of other departments is also crucial for a successful digital transformation. You need to know the main issues employees encounter in their daily tasks to know what would really make their lives easier. 

Additionally, each sector and job position has different expectations and concerns about the adoption of new technologies. So, you must collect feedback, understand their apprehensions, and go through each one of them to explain the purpose of this digital shift. In other words, including users and collaborating with all other departments are two very important principles of a digital transformation with positive outcomes.

🤳 Start a free trial of the deskbird app to give your employees more flexibility with workspace booking and week planning while saving costs!

laptop open with AI program
AI is playing a large role in digital transformation

End-user experience first

When starting to look at solutions to improve your digital infrastructure, think about the end users first, which in this case are the employees. Prioritize answering the  needs and expectations of your staff when exploring these new tools. Is the interface user-friendly? Is it accessible from any device? Which pain points do your colleagues face with the current technologies in place? And so on.

You must keep in mind at all times that the core purpose of digital transformation is to serve people and make them thrive. Therefore, employees’ experience should always be at the center of your decisions. 

Yet, putting your end users’ experience first is not only about finding the most user-friendly tools and setting up the best digital landscape. Before any of this, your main priority should be to educate your coworkers about this transformation and enable them to make the most of it. 

Training and learning 

As technology continuously develops, there is also a growing digital skill gap that is affecting most of us. Trying to fill this gap as much as possible is essential for organizations and their team members in order to embrace this new era and stay competitive. But most importantly, they must know how to use emerging tech to get the most out of it. Unfortunately, most firms don’t invest enough in re-skilling and up-skilling their workforce. 

You can have the best and latest digital tools. However,  it is almost worthless if employees don’t learn how to get the best out of it. This is partially why more than 80% of businesses fail in their digital transformation. Before starting to spend money on new technologies, empower people and help them develop a new mindset and competencies to embrace this digital era.

💡 Good to know: among the most digitally transformed and high-performing companies, 73% of their workforce update their skills every 6 months, and 44% continuously. 2

This article has covered the key ingredients of a successful human-centered digital transformation. To easily remember what an effective digital transformation is, we like this definition from Growth Tribe: “It is human-led, tech-enabled, and customer-centric. A process of continuous evolution.” 

Digital transformation can’t happen if there is no people transformation first. Employees need to review their way of working and their mindset to welcome and benefit from this new era. This is what the four digital transformation best practices shared in this article enable you to do. Prioritizing training, communication, collaboration, and end-user experience are the main pillars of a successful digital transformation.

As a software company, we make user experience our priority. We support businesses and employees in embracing the perks of flexible work arrangements while enabling companies to save costs. Do you want to know more about the deskbird app? Request a free demo and discover how our user-friendly features make your hybrid work experience greater!

1 Unlocking success in digital transformations, Mckinsey.

2 Coming of Age Digitally: MIT Sloan Management Review Deloitte Digital 2018 Global Study, Deloitte.

Human-centered digital transformation: why and how to focus on users first?

Paulyne Sombret

Paulyne is a highly respected expert in hybrid work. She's known for her writing on sustainability in the hybrid office, flexible work models, and employee experience. With a strong background in content and SEO, her work explores the exciting trends and latest news in the world of work.

Read more