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Staff crave positive digital leadership

While people are comfortable using digital technologies at home, the majority don’t have access to, or have a negative view of, technology at work, according to a survey

Only a quarter of the UK workforce is confident in the digital vision of senior management and 29% don’t have digital tools at work, a survey has found.

According to the Digital Culture Clash report by Cisco and the Institute of Cultural Capital, a positive culture and making sure employees are confident in the tools they use are key to ensuring digital roll-outs work.

The survey, which asked 3,000 UK workers about their views on digital technologies in the workplace, found that 52% either “do not have access to” or “hold negative views of” digital technologies.

It also found that the majority (64%) of employees were not consulted prior to the deployment of new digital technologies.

“We have already learnt that the UK workforce wants greater dialogue on the digitisation of their organisations, with 40% stating that the digital technology being rolled out wasn’t explained effectively to them and 57% stating they would have liked more information on how to use the new technologies implemented,” the report said.

Simeon Yates, director at the Institute of Cultural Capital, said the survey showed that “digital access at work is lower than at home”.

“This report has found that the key to successful digital roll-outs is the intangible characteristics of culture and leadership, more so than the tangible factors of having access to the right technology,” he said.

“It consequently means that organisations’ ability to become digitally ready is firmly in their own hands,” he added.

“Just short of a third (29%) of respondents stated that they thought the leadership team was struggling to push through new digital ways of working. The same proportion (29%) stated their organisation is not ‘culturally ready’ to embrace digital solutions,” the report added.

Read more about digital transformation

Some 19% of people surveyed said they were concerned about their company’s digital future, and the report pointed out that getting digital culture right is key to the success of bringing in new technologies.

Phil Smith, chief executive for Cisco UK and Ireland, said employees craved clear digital leadership.

“Our research reveals that without first fostering the right culture in the workplace and following a few golden rules when engaging with employees, it’s possible for digital roll-outs to go off-track,” he said.

Read more on CW500 and IT leadership skills

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Whether we we’re dealing with other technical people in IT or with delivering systems to the end users, IT as whole has the bad habit of forgetting that the soft skills are as important as the technical skills required to deliver those systems. I suspect that’s one big reason why the “CIO as business partner” paradigm is so successful.
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