Trust in transformation:

Winning the trust of key stakeholders is critical to success during digital transformation programmes

By Donna Forsdyke

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

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

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

To succeed in this new environment, it is important to find ways to sustain energy and commitment for the long term, but also 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 tailored communication and engagement plan for those groups?


C-suite must take a visible and active role in advocating change. Employees want to hear from senior leadership, and executives must communicate regularly 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 reason for change. All members of the executive leadership team should use consistent and coordinated messaging so that employees hear the same thing, regardless 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, including 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 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 messages 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 the 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 what’s in it for them. 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 supports them to do that.