Employees are the lifeblood of any organization. Whether they’re in the office, working from home, or on the go, your people need to be able to connect and collaborate digitally. The recent digital transformation movement has caused more companies to look toward new ways to save time and money while also providing a better customer experience. And, as companies are undergoing digital transformation at a faster rate than ever, the struggle for digital adoption has become all too real.
In fact, McKinsey reported that 70% of digital transformation initiatives fail. The issues that contribute to these failures are broad, but in the end, it usually comes down to a lack of adoption that keeps companies from seeing a positive return on investment from those new tools.
For most companies, when a new tool is introduced, employees are given access to a new training module in their company’s LMS and may be invited to attend hours-long training sessions with a PowerPoint presentation that is 30 slides too long. Six months later, the tool’s digital adoption rate is less than stellar as people haven’t been able to effectively learn and implement it into their day-to-day workflow.
Some companies, however, have successfully implemented the same tool with positive returns. In fact, that’s what draws people to adopt those new solutions in the first place. Surprisingly, the problem isn’t with the tools or digital adoption platforms in general. The problem is more so with the outdated, one-size-fits-all approach companies use to teach employees how to be more effective in their jobs.
In our digital-first world, learning and development experts and enablement teams need to quickly and successfully implement new digital enablement solutions that extend beyond initial onboarding by creating a digital enablement environment.
What is digital enablement, and what makes it so important for digital transformation success?
In essence, digital enablement is the framework through which digital transformation can successfully happen. It occurs when a company gives its employees the skills, knowledge, and tools to succeed in an ever-changing digital world, which is crucial for any business looking to stay competitive in the marketplace.
At its core, digital enablement is the methodology behind how to best enable sales people to adopt and use new technologies. It’s a philosophy that embraces digital adoption as an ongoing process of empowering employees through repetition, reinforcement, and contextual, continuous learning.
It’s more than just getting your sales team up to speed with Slack or training them in Salesforce —it’s also making sure they understand WHY those things are essential for their job success. When this "lightbulb" moment occurs, employees are more likely to stay. Conversely, not giving employees opportunities to learn and grow in their roles can lead to a potential loss of 60% of your entire workforce within four years .
Think of it like digital adoption meets sales enablement —people learn new software by having the exact information they need, when they need it, and where it’s most useful to be successful at their jobs every day.
How do you get people to actually learn and adopt new tools?
The short answer: reinforcement through repetition.
It’s the old “habit-forming” concept—you have to repeat something so many times that it becomes a habit.
This is true in both digital and traditional settings, but we’re living in an era where technology is changing rapidly, and new tools are coming out constantly—so it can be challenging for employees to keep up. This is why the old-fashioned style of corporate learning through outdated LMS systems and long presentations doesn’t work. Instead, repetition is the key to genuinely getting things to stick.
In this ebook about Digital Enablement , our CEO and Spekit Co-founder, Melanie Fellay, likens this phenomenon to how basically everyone knows the words to the song Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star . She says, “To shift information from short-term to long-term memory, people require repetition and reinforcement. You remember the lyrics to ’Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ because you’ve heard the simple lyrics hundreds of times before.”
The best way to get employees to learn and adopt new tools is through a digital enablement platform that complements various software tools through reinforced training and provides a portal for sales enablement content. The latter can be a game-changer for sales reps' productivity, as the Aberdeen Group cited that sales reps spend an average of 440 hours each year searching for the right content to send to their customers and prospects.
How do you measure the benefits of digital enablement?
Executing a digital transformation initiative is an immense undertaking for even the most experienced team. But, even with a successful implementation, the work doesn’t stop at launch. There are still many hurdles to clear, including establishing meaningful KPIs that measure the effort’s progress and ensuring it’s not forgotten about once your launch ceremony wraps up. But how do you measure the benefits?
This is a difficult question because it depends on what outcomes you want to measure. One company’s initiative may have the goal of empowering employees to spend 20% less time looking for information . Another business may seek to use self-service and automation to reduce the context-switching of asking another team member by 25%. Still, another organization may track success to revenue by determining that since employees spend 20% less time looking for information, they can spend that time talking with more prospects and closing more deals.
But in each of these, the goal always boils down to the same thing: increased productivity to lead to better bottom-line results.
When you look at it through that lens, digital enablement can positively impact all aspects of an organization. The important thing is to establish a metric that can act as both a baseline measure and to track alongside your initiative.
Where do we go from here?
Digital transformation is a big deal. And while a lot of money is going into it, not enough people are learning the tools in a way that tangibly increases adoption or productivity. The problem? The outdated way by which we deliver training to employees has been one-size-fits-all for too long.
The future of digital adoption is not about the software itself; it’s about how we enable people to adopt and use new technologies. Digital enablement solves for this when you embrace digital adoption as an ongoing process of empowering employees through repetition, reinforcement, and contextual, ongoing learning.
Think of it this way—digital enablement isn't just a catchphrase or buzzword. It's a concept that makes learning fun, teaches employees the why behind a new tool and shows them how it impacts their job. It provides the exact information they need, when they need it, and where it’s most beneficial. It’s the framework for which companies achieve successful digital adoption.
If your organization struggles with digital transformation, then you're not alone. To become a proactive business that embraces innovation with a content-driven, digital enablement platform, download our free ebook, The Future of Digital Adoption is Digital Enablement , to learn more about how digital employee enablement is shaping digital transformation and adoption