walking in front of graffiti that says "good"
PHOTO: Volkan Olmez

Balance sheets are not the sole determinants of success for today’s organizations. Leaders envision growing earnings and customer satisfaction while they create greater efficiencies and reduce costs.

Achieving those goals in parallel requires quality and performance excellence. In many organizations, it also requires a cultural shift which involves three key components: 

1. Breaking Down Barriers Through Digital Business Transformation

Breaking down barriers between people, businesses and things to create new products and services and find more efficient ways of working is essential to quality and performance excellence. Digital business transformation, for many industries, is a disruptive force that is instrumental to inspiring this kind of change. 

When organizations step back, examine their objectives and map out their people and processes clearly, they can envision new connections and capabilities, and they can find ways to use technology to unite how they operate and engage. Amazing things can happen.

Here’s an example: When Dundee Precious Metals connected equipment across its mining operations, it enabled real-time sharing of information, such as miners’ locations, equipment updates and the number of buckets filled. This capability made it possible for employees to troubleshoot as they worked, not just at the end of their shifts, so crews were better able to track and meet daily goals. As a result, Dundee quadrupled production of precious metals annually, saved $2.5 million over two years and improved safety conditions for miners.

For digital business transformation to occur, it’s crucial that talent, technology and teamwork are aligned.

Related Article: Your Digital Transformation Won't Succeed Without Cultural Change

2. Developing Talented Teams

It is commonly believed that technology alone drives digital transformation, and it’s certainly true that technology plays a role in the digital transformation equation. But what’s below the surface, driving digital business transformation goals? Talent, technology and teamwork working in lockstep to move the organization forward.

A lack of any one of those elements can cause a holdup, and it appears that in many organizations the missing link is talent. In a recent study from Technical University Munich, 64 percent of companies surveyed said they lack employees with the skills needed for digital transformation. However, only 16 percent of the respondents said their organizations had dedicated programs to either train current employees or recruit new employees with the necessary skills.

While organizations say they are lacking people with technical skills, Forrester Research analyst Nigel Fenwick recently reported that 86 percent of mature companies see technology as the most important driver of business strategy. That skills gap is evidence that there is a disconnect between need and action. It’s a conundrum that speaks to the need for investment in developing, training and retaining talent. It’s an ongoing process to drive continuous improvement while also keeping your workforce engaged.

What separates an average team from a high-performing team is when team members feel like they are empowered to do their best work. That is, they get to play to their strengths every day. And one of the things that helps high-performing teams work better together is providing ample opportunities to collaborate, learn and grow together.

Related Article: 6 Factors for Organizational Innovation

3. Sustaining Engagement

To keep the workforce engaged, continuous learning is critical. In a recent study from LinkedIn and consulting firm Capgemini, 55 percent of digitally talented employees said they would be willing to move to another organization if they felt that their digital skills were stagnating in their current jobs. Modern workers, millennials especially, crave professional growth opportunities in their jobs.

In his book “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” Daniel Pink identifies three factors that increase employee performance and engagement: autonomy, or the desire to be self-directed; mastery, or the urge to acquire better skills; and purpose, or the desire to do something that has meaning and is important. Businesses that only focus on profits without valuing purpose will end up with poor customer service and unhappy employees — the opposite of what a culture of performance and quality intends.

Progress is a powerful motivator for employees. When people have the sense they’re moving forward and achieving a greater goal through their jobs, or when they receive support that helps them overcome obstacles, their drive to succeed hits a peak.

Given the rapid rate of change in business and technology, learning can no longer be treated as a point-in-time undertaking. Providing ongoing learning and growth opportunities is one of the best and most important ways to boost employee engagement, and ultimately foster long-term company success.

Related Article: How to Beat the Employee Engagement Slump

Create a Culture of Quality

Organizations intent on creating a culture of quality and performance excellence must be active and agile change agents. Digital business transformation provides a strategic framework. Talented teams, nourished by ongoing learning opportunities, become linchpins for success. And when talent, technology and teamwork are aligned, organizations optimize their value, both on and off the balance sheet.