Unleashed has always been at the forefront of digital transformation. Our business centers around enabling our clients to take their most crucial and personal engagements and make them even more impactful digital experiences. Our clients choose us because we are a digital strategy and web development company that seeks to understand and learn their business and customer before offering solutions. With our Growth Model serving as a foundation, we live in the sweet spot where our dedication to education and continuous learning meets with a commitment to assess innovation and strategically adapt and evolve. This creates our digital-first culture and has been part of Unleashed’ success.
However, digital-first culture is not reserved for technology companies. It can be utilized by any business regardless of industry, and fuel innovation and agility for your organization.
What is Digital-First Culture?
When I first started hearing the phrase digital-first culture, I assumed it was just another buzz word to describe something already shared by nearly every successful business in the 21st century. In reality, it is a different approach and a notable shift for many organizations. What I also learned was that digital-first culture does not mean utilizing the latest virtual meeting program or installing the most popular digital management software.
Rather than just having the latest tech, digital-first culture is more about having a company-wide mindset that appreciates the importance of knowledge and assessing technologies’ value. A business with a truly digital-first culture will put education at the forefront of digital evolution while remaining nimble enough to align with the needs of a continually evolving world.
Why Is It Important?
As digital disruption becomes part of doing business in every industry, one thing is clear: the future belongs to those organizations that are agile and willing to transform. Companies that are slow to undergo adapt or refuse to innovate will be left behind. The most intuitive group of people cannot compete against data, just like the most knowledgeable can not compete against Google.
For an organization to succeed, the culture must be centered around using digital tools, innovation, communication, and customer satisfaction. A digital-first culture done correctly will improve your business model and offer a stronger, more resilient competitive edge against the competition. It will also increase employee satisfaction by empowering them to find and share solutions, that drive the company’s mission and values.
How to Transform into A Digital-First Culture
Although many organizations are increasingly reliant on digital programs and tools to perform daily tasks, most organizations have not set aside the time to lay out a structure for employees to understand each digital tool and why they are utilizing it. Without a proper roadmap of your organization’s mission, goals, and digital strategy, employees are unprepared to succeed.
Digital-first culture starts with education. Setting aside time for team members to work with new tools, read about technological trends, or experiment with their current technology set will provide them with the confidence and understanding to strategically use their digital tools to meet business goals. It can be difficult to justify this open learning style time, so here is a list of ways to incorporate continuous digital education.
- Encourage and sponsor employees who want to get certified in a specific program or skill. Every Unleashed team member has at least one certification in their technical field and is always encouraged and supported as they pursue others. Drupalize me and HubSpot Academy are just a couple of our favorites!
- Host workshops to teach and develop skills. At Unleashed, each department takes a turn demonstrating expertise related to their job, and we turn them into blogs or webinars. For example, check out the lesson on "Twigs and Tricks you Need to Know" in Drupal 8 by our Jenna Shenk.
- Schedule regular development meetings where employees can share what they are learning, how it relates to their work, and get other team members interested in what they have learned. This group connection encourages information sharing and keeps the staff engaged and excited about their education.
As your office learns to embrace the educational requirements of a digital-first culture, you also need to keep communication flowing. Each employee's understanding of how to utilize their technical tools is only half the battle. They need to know the goals your organization is trying to achieve with those tools. Productive meetings, collaborative education assignments, and team-building exercises centered around the new technology can ensure the communication piece is set in building your office's digital-first culture. For example, Unleashed offers a voluntary tech-centric book club that engages employees and allows them to share ideas in a less formal setting.
Culture starts from the top and permeates through the organization. Executive leadership must have a clear mission and goals, stating what the organization is trying to achieve and what expectations they have of team members. When employees know the organization’s ultimate goals and understand the tools at their disposal, a higher level of collaboration is born that will breed success in ways that you never thought possible.
Fluid and Always in Motion
For more than a decade, Unleashed has described digital technology and the web as fluid and always in motion. That is true now more than ever.
Digital transformation is happening in every industry, and the technology-centric sector is continuously evolving. To remain competitive organizations, need to be innovative, agile, collaborative, and customer-centric. Cultivating a digital-first culture in your organization will enable your workforce to embody these ideals so that at every decision point large or small, the principles of success in this digital age will carry through lifting your business each day.