Three ways to shift your organisation’s culture towards digital transformation

Unless you work in digital marketing or communications, you may not have heard of digital transformation. However, if you’ve recently logged on to for any number of life admin tasks, such as registering to vote, viewing details about your driving license or applying for a student loan, you’ve certainly witnessed it.

The government is just one of many organisations transforming its digital services, making them simpler, clearer and faster to use. UNICEF UK has spent the last few years spearheading digital transformation in the charity sector, and many more organisations are following suit.

Experts are telling us it’s time to change the way we approach digital technologies. But before you launch head first into a complex digital transformation strategy, let’s take a step back and consider the role behaviour and culture plays in digital transformation. There is little point in overhauling the digital tools and approaches you use as an organisation, if your staff don’t have the confidence or capability to champion this transformation.

Digital transformation is at least as much about culture as it is technology. How you approach this, will of course depend on where you currently are, and where you want to be.

At NCVO, we know that in order to become more open and networked organisation, everyone has a crucial role to play in connecting and engaging people more effectively online. While the majority of our staff are digitally capable, we have some work to do on building digital confidence and independence.

With this in mind, here are three things we’re doing to kick off our digital transformation journey that you might think about doing too.

1. Involve everyone

It sounds obvious but to change the behaviour of your workforce, you need to consider everyone. Recruiting people across different teams to celebrate and champion digital will not only encourage peer to peer learning, it will help bridge the gap between the digital team and everyone else, placing digital at the heart of your organisation.

Mencap have used digital champions really effectively to engrain digital across their organisation.

2. Build confidence

Support your staff and encourage them to try out different digital tools. People learn best from doing – let them know that it’s ok to make mistakes (within reason). Of course, you need to provide guidance, training or support to minimise risks, but if you’ve instilled trust, you’ve probably inspired confidence.

3. Demonstrate the value

If you’ve spent time with colleagues, honing their skills and building their confidence, the chances are you’ve got them excited about the possibilities of digital. But if you need an extra push, be ready to demonstrate how digital will not only help them achieve their own objectives, but also the wider strategy of your organisation. After all, it’s a win-win situation.

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Helen Ridgway was NCVO’s online engagement manager. Helen has worked in the voluntary sector since 2006, including roles at Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and St Mungo’s.

3 Responses to Three ways to shift your organisation’s culture towards digital transformation

  1. Mark says:

    This all sounds great and I am sure it is with the support and funding of a proper IT department etc. For us small orgs it is all a bit more haphazard and relies on a person searching for and implementing solutions, but this has limits. So for example we have a membership form on our website that is great, but it does not link to our database so info has to be copy and pasted across, similarly we have started using Eventbrite and Mailchimp but neither of these talk to our database, again more copy and pasting. We are looking for solutions to try and join all these up but with little budget and a steep learning curve it is a little hit and miss. we know we want a more integrated CRM, we are pretty sure we want to move to cloud based services, it would be great to link survey monkey responses into a CRM but…..
    And before I get a rush of consultants wanting to help, my total budget is less than the cost of your lunch! we will continue to muddle through and my only consolation is that at least we have a more user friendly system than the which is frankly useless 🙂

    • Darren says:

      Hey Mark,

      Would be good to know what database you’re using? The arts org I work for has recently pulled the plug on a bespoke database for similar reasons of integration. We’re now scouting out other options, the winner is looking to be Podio as it integrates with Google Drive, which we use for live documents such as worklists, and Dropbox where we store media that’s in-demand.

      The thing with ‘going digital’ is that there will be hard work involved in getting started, and no doubt a fair bit of cost (if not up front, then in staff time). But in the long run, if you can encourage organisational buy in like Helen says above, then you’re on to a winner with a much more agile team capable of adapting to whatever future changes you may face.

  2. Lyn Mynott says:

    We have to rely on our staff of three. We manage quite well and really want to move forward but we have hardly any budget. We use Mailchimp and are just about to scrape funds together for Surveymonkey – the recent survey we did online and hard copy took hours of staff time to input into a spreadsheet. We have been thinking of using cloud based services but it’s scary! 🙂