6 tips for promoting mobile development transformation among employees

By Jasmine Henry

Achieving digital transformation is more than just mobile development or adopting the right post-app technologies. Today’s executives are constantly moving the goal posts for innovation by adopting a mindset focused on mobility, constant evolution and technical innovation. Sixty-eight percent of CEOs are champions for digital while 43 percent of CIOs are shifting toward increasingly strategic roles, including taking sole responsibility for internal transformation.

Resistance to technology-driven change is common at all levels of the organization, including the C-suite. A Wipro Digital study notes 39 percent of C-level executives cite mindset and skill challenges as key barriers to transformation, including internal resistance to technology-driven change.

However, change isn’t optional. Everyone within the enterprise understands this truth. In a 2016 article, research firm Gartner reports nearly 80 percent of employees believe their skills and knowledge will bear little resemblance to their workplace skills in a decade.

Download Gartner report on managed mobility services

Though mobile transformation is inevitable, not everyone in the organization feels they’re ready for it. Here are six ways C-level executives can promote the transition and manage employees who are reluctant to transform:

1. Continually Educate

Education should play a central role in your change initiative. Knowledge is the enemy of resistance, which is why executives should take a benefits-driven approach to teaching employees about the value of mobile transformation. CITO research reveals high employee satisfaction with mobility, including the following reported benefits:

  • 30 percent reported improved business processes
  • 23 percent reported increased productivity
  • 20 percent reported competitive advantages
  • 14 percent reported greater satisfaction as employees

2. Get total executive buy-in

“Transformations require overt, continuous support from the senior management team to succeed,” Stephen J. Andriole writes in MIT Sloan Management Review. Not only is total executive buy-in vital to securing the funds necessary for mobile development, but a supportive leadership team is crucial to creating the cultural change.

Forbes’ Daniel Newman recommends thinking like a venture capitalist when it comes to selling mobile transformation. Be prepared to illustrate the necessity of adaptation with data and answer hard questions about enterprise mobility trends.

3. Create connections with customers

Customer focus is at the core of some of the most successful transformation initiatives. Organizations are implementing new tools and tactics, such as customer empathy maps and design thinking programs, for more effective innovation. Connecting resistant employees with customers can reveal why you’re pursuing change.

In an article for Harvard Extension School, Dave Power points to 1993’s Operation Bear Hug as an example of creating customer connections. The program required top executives to visit five customers a week.

4. Create room at the top

“Make sure you have someone on board who knows how people’s minds are changed and how to adapt to new business models,” Marc Cecere of Forrester Research, Inc. recommends in a ZDNet article. Though not every organization has room at the top for a dedicated change agent, boardrooms are increasingly making room for chief transformation officers or chief digital officers — individuals skilled in the human side of change management.


5. Address fears head-on

Though change starts at the top, according to Nous Group research, an overtly top-down approach to transformation breeds cynicism and resistance. Communicating proactively, consistently and transparently with employees about changes to your global mobility strategy can reduce fears of the unknown.

6. Invest in technical talent

Though mobile development teams face significant challenges related to talent shortages, executives should consider the talent crisis a motivating factor for mobile management and improved mobility. Drawing from a global talent pool might be a necessity to get the right people in the right seats. With better technical talent, the enterprise might reduce resistance to change by creating the internal capacity to deliver higher-quality mobile technology.

Resistance to change isn’t simple

Though management science has traditionally dictated employees resist change because they don’t want to leave the status quo, that belief might not be true. Leadership IQ research reveals only 45 percent of front-line professionals believe people don’t like to leave the status quo, compared to just 37 percent of senior leaders. Your employees might not fear change through mobile development, but they might fear the unknown impact on their roles, duties or potential within the organization.

Any change management program surrounding a mobile transformation initiative should focus on employee education and the benefits of mobility. With a commitment to transparency and frequent communications, executives can achieve the culture necessary to support evolution in the enterprise.

Written By

Jasmine Henry

Jasmine E. Henry, MS

Jasmine is a commentator on emerging technology and freelance writer in the greater Seattle area. With a professional background in analytics, big data, mobility, and security that spans both the for-profit and government sectors, her professional interests include artificial intelligence…

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