The 3 stages of the employee’s digital transformation

by bold-lichterman

Awards for the digital transformation of companies are increasing: who will be best rewarded for their hackatons, their omnichannel approach, the deployment of smartphones for their employees, the launch of a self-uberization service … 000, 100,000 employees on the road to transformation is a much more complex project on which most large groups continue to stumble.

The first difficulty already lies in the fact of being able to qualify “stages of maturity” in the digital transformation of the employee. We do not know, moreover, whether we should put “digital” behind transformation, as the succession of mutations faced by employees goes beyond the digital framework to tackle issues of management and organization that are inevitably linked.

I like to use a 3-level maturity model:


Stage 1 – Digitization of the operational experience

Digitizing the operational experience means equipping employees with digital tools to improve their business processes. In other words: to do better, more effectively what it is paid for. Replace paper ticket punching machines in trains with barcode readers associated with terminals. Equip sales representatives with a CRM so that they can manage their customers more efficiently, etc. From this point of view, we have to admit that companies are not doing so badly. We cannot say that this is always done in a coherent and systemic way, hence some internal inconsistencies, but companies have been criticized so much for lacking “tactical” initiatives and for promoting pharaonic projects, too ambitious and too slow , that one cannot criticize a little pragmatism.

This digitization of the operational experience is often accompanied by organizational changes, process adaptations, decompartmentalization, on which here too the company has made considerable progress.

Stage 2 – The collaborative and informational experience

It is about transforming the way employees get informed, inform others and collaborate. This is an essential issue in the context of a continuous transformation of the company.
And here, it is clear that most companies, after years of effort, are pretty much at the starting point: emails, a large part of which is simply not or no longer read. No one is going to look at information on intranets; corporate social networks, beyond the hype of a launch, generate little traction.

It must be said that the site is super complex, first of all because the information is generally not compulsory. If the employee does not go to the company’s social network, he will still be paid at the end of the month. Worse: if he goes on the company’s social network, his manager is worried about the time he has available to do something other than what he “is paid” for. The non-alignment of the information experience with the operational experience is the tragedy of digital transformation.

Collaboration works when it is done directly around the artifact that is the object of the collaboration. Example: I am in marketing, I work with my supplier and my manager on a video in production, I do not go to a corporate social network to discuss it: I comment directly on the “timeline” of the video in mode collaborative. By seeking to deploy a collaborative solution decoupled from the operational experience, we multiply the risks of failure.

Stage 3 – The ambassador experience

This is the final step. The employee is an ambassador. First of all internally: he carries the voice of the company to other employees. External then: ambassador of the company on social networks, on the web, he is the “touch point” that the company needs to carry its vision, to dialogue with its customers, prospects, future collaborators. A company of 10,000 employees who each have 500 connections on social networks means 5 million potential points of contact. The collaborator would still have to understand his personal interest in the story. That management identifies the voice of employees outside as an opportunity and not as a threat.

After having spent most of my professional life helping companies at stage 1, I now devote a large part of my energy to stages 2 and especially 3. This is how we launched Sociabble, a platform for Employee Advocacy and Social Selling. After almost 3 years of existence, deployments in more than 60 countries, some lessons:

  • No need to French bashing. All large groups, regardless of their origin, face the same difficulties. United States, Europe, India… The same complexity everywhere. That of “moving” tens of thousands of people focused – and rightly so – on their operational objectives. That of aligning operational experience and information experience. That of motivating people on “non-compulsory” subjects, or even on areas that are almost the responsibility of staff (my social networks).
  • As always, if management does not believe in the importance of the subject, is not involved and does not set an example, this type of initiative is extremely difficult to implement. You can’t pretend on this type of project.
  • You have to be clear about the KPIs, the motivations / rewards. And decline them by population. We do not expect the same from a manager, a management controller, a salesperson, an employee on a production line. Show how stages 2 and 3 contribute to the achievement of the objectives of stage 1. A salesperson will get into Social Selling if he understands how it allows him to better achieve his number goals, to develop his network / his employability.
  • The quality of the content made available to the employee is essential. This involves company content, but also external content, which allows employees to keep watch, to open up to the world, to shine outside by sharing it to promote their expertise. Visual content that makes you want to.
  • All access barriers must be lifted: getting information, sharing internally or externally must be possible from your PC, your professional mobile, your personal mobile, in one click, very simply. Maximize engagement using levers such as gamification.

The good news is that by failing to be successful on these topics, most businesses are starting to properly diagnose the problem. A huge step forward. Many have launched initiatives which they know to be a long-term project. They continue to learn at the same time as employees learn. And progress a little more every day. You are part of it I hope!

The contributor:


Graduated from Ecole Centrale Paris, founder in 1994 of the digital agency FRA, sold 7 years later to Digitas, Jean-Louis Bénard participated in the implementation of the first e-commerce platforms in France, including Ooshop.

Since 2003, he has been Chairman of Brainsonic, digital agency, and CEO of Sociabble, an Employee Advocacy and Social Selling solution present in Paris, Lyon, London and New York. He is also co-founder of Novathings (connected objects). Author or co-author of several books including Extreme Programming (Eyrolles), he acts as an Advisory Board Member at Ecole Centrale Paris Executive Education.

Read also:

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FrenchWeb is mobilizing and organizing the sixth digital employment week (# SEN6) all week (portraits, interviews, job offers, round tables, etc.). The #SENFW operation, intended to promote employment opportunities in this sector, takes place every 6 months.

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