Trust in transformation:

Winning the trust of key stakeholders is critical to success

By Donna Forsdyke

There is a high rate of digital transformation across all sectors, and this isn’t surprising given the benefits that organisations are realising. C-suites and tech teams now have urgent and multi-faceted mandates that include; deployment of virtual services, enhanced customer experience, greater engagement, and increased accessibility.

While technology is critical to this transformation, the key to demonstrating value is adoption; if you build it, there are still no guarantees that employees or customers will align with you and use it. People are the key ingredient in making these transformations successful.

Programme sponsors, managers and decision makers who focus on the people elements, to ensure successful adoption, will stand out from their peers and demonstrate their value.

To succeed in this new environment, it is vital to find ways of sustaining energy and commitment for the long term, but also to engage, educate, and equip the organisation’s primary stakeholders.

Each key stakeholder group (below) has their own unique needs, and each can help the organisation achieve the strategic goals.

So, how do you create a tailored communication and engagement plan for these groups?


C-suite must take a visible and active role in advocating change. Employees want to hear from senior leadership, and executives must regularly communicate in an authentic and inspiring way that links tactics to outcomes and the organisation's fundamental purpose.

To help build awareness and support across the organisation, C-suite leaders need to communicate their vision, along with a compelling motivation for change. All members of the executive leadership team should use consistent and coordinated messaging so that employees hear the same thing, irrespective of where they sit in the organisation.

Directors & Heads Of

Report into the C-suite and help drive strategy. Directors are uniquely positioned to make things happen. They are close enough to the day-to-day business as well as employees and the end customer and, as a result, they become the eyes and ears of the organisation.

They are often tasked with translating company initiatives in ways that inspire action and commitment. By investing in training for this group, even if that is comprises of simple key messages, basic presentation deck, and frequently asked questions; they have consistent messages and answers that they can cascade to their teams.


Managers help employees make the transition to new technologies and ways of working by role-modelling new behaviours, coaching conversations, and by providing incentives and rewards. They help employees understand the essential role they play in driving successful change adoption by providing specific training and tools.

Here it is important to create collateral that echoes the same key messaging about the vision for change that were communicated at higher levels, but also provide more tactical, hands-on information related to the new behaviours and processes required to implement and sustain these changes.


When you place employees at the centre of communications and training activities, you can set clear expectations and encourage them to be a part of the transformation process by conveying to them the benefits they'll see. Make sure you understand who is directly and indirectly impacted and involve them in your engagement initiatives. It’s important to pay attention to resistors, those closest to the change, who may have good reasons for being concerned about the potential outcome. It is, therefore, very important to create regular feedback opportunities.


You must bring your people along on the journey. It is their work that goes through an evolution. In combination with the technology, they create better customer journeys and experiences. It is people who will make or break the organisation’s success, technology is what supports them to do that.