Mark, a team manager (aged 47), checks the time sheets of his reportees every morning to make sure everybody has filled in their number of working hours. He often notes that his reportees (aged 25 – 34) fail to update their time sheets on a daily basis. To ensure this is done without fail, he sets up a call with his reportees and probes into the reasons for non-compliance. Much to his dismay, he gets the following feedback from his reportees, who are mostly millennials:

  • Why isn’t the process automated?
  • Why can’t we have a mobile app for the time sheet, which we can update while on the go?
  • Why isn’t this incorporated in our e-mail application?
  • This tool is too slow. Can we have a faster digital application?

While Mark is still thinking, there remains a long pause on the call…

Today, a lot of managers around the world face such dilemmas, while trying to attract and retain young people who are mostly millennials. With the arrival of smart digital applications and processes, the role of a manager has dramatically changed over the past few years. While technology was once used for streamlining manual tasks, it has now evolved to create a digital work environment that millennials expect to have at their workplace. However, carrying out a large scale digital transformation across an entire organization isn’t an easy task and this may give rise to a competitive disadvantage. Large companies with hierarchical mindset and age-old systems and processes find it even more difficult to execute a digital drive.

Capgemini Consulting’s Digital Transformation Review—10th Edition (DTR10) named “The Digital Culture Journey: All On Board!” shows that culture is the number 1 barrier to digital transformation of organizations. The report helps address questions such as: What are the attributes of digital culture? Is ‘culture transformation’ essential for organization’s transformation? How do you measure your progress on culture transformation? How do you evolve a company’s culture?

A tête-à-tête with Janice L. Semper, GE’s Culture Transformation Leader, unveils interesting thoughts and ideas around the culture and behavioral adaptability. As a chief architect of culture transformation at GE, Janice and her team run experiments focused on culture change. Janice wants to create a culture that is focused on doing things as simple as possible and be extremely disciplined about stopping activities that don’t add any value. According to Janice, it’s a culture that is customer-driven, where we create a mindset that is obsessed with customers’ pain points.

When asked about measuring the progress on culture transformation, Janice mentions a tool within GE: The Culture Compass. It’s a simple 10-question survey that GE administers twice a year. It gives the company a gauge as to where it stands at any point of time. It is also meant to be a culture change tool that teams actually use. The recent results from the Culture Compass reveal that the GE is making progress in shifting from a more historic command-and-control leadership style, which was synonymous with the industrial era, to an empower-and-inspire” leadership model, which is aligned with a digital industrial organization.

In an interview with another GE executive, Jennifer Waldo, Chief HR Officer at GE Digital and a board member of the Internet of Things Talent Consortium, DTR10 found noteworthy points on driving the digital culture. Jennifer speaks of GE as a company undergoing large-scale cultural change over the last several years. The company moved from the GE Values to the GE Beliefs, which leverage many of the great principles found in start-ups and tech companies. GE created FastWorks, based on a philosophy of constantly experimenting, learning, iterating and putting the customer at the center of everything. Today, FastWorks is inherently woven into every day’s work. According to Jennifer, to carry out a large scale transformation, the person at the top of the organization needs to be the biggest and best example of the change that needs to be implemented.

Clearly, to change the workplace culture and make it right to attract and retain millennial talent, organizations have to think beyond the obvious. Our Digital Transformation Review No.10 brings you in-depth interviews with senior leadership from leading global organizations.