Workers’ inertia hampers DX

Companies are increasingly embracing digital transformation (DX) but almost half (49%) of business leaders reveal that the top challenge for DX is employees’ resistance to change, according to a report from NTUC LearningHub.

Findings also show that almost half (47%) of employees are most concerned about their own lack of technology skills.

Nearly all (95% of business leaders and 89% of employees) either strongly agree or somewhat agree that there is a need for their organisation’s workforce to acquire basic technology skills to support DX at the workplace. 

Despite this, nearly a third of business leaders (27%) say that they have not enrolled their employees in any training related to DX in the past two years, while almost half of employees (43%) are unaware of the training programs available in the market.

The Digital Transformation Report 2023 is based on a survey of 150 business leaders and 300 full-time working professionals in Singapore.

In addition to the lack of technology skills (47%) – cyberattacks (43%), job security or being replaced by technology/ automation (42%), lack of adaptability (35%), and DX being unable to improve their daily work (29%), are the top concerns employees have about DX.

Also, a third of employees reveal that they do not use any technologies, such as cloud computing, big data, or Internet of Things (IoT) in their daily work (34%), and are unaware of DX initiatives at the workplace (31%).

About three quarters of respondents (87% business leaders, 74% employees) acknowledge that there is a gap in expertise on how to adopt DX in their organisation. 

More than four in five (84%) business leaders agree that their organisation requires external help to analyse the workforce’s skills gaps in order to implement DX.

Nonetheless, most employees agree (29% strongly agree, 66% somewhat agree) that it is important for their organisation to embark on DX. 

A majority (88%) also report that they are comfortable with using technologies and tools needed to support DX at their workplace.

Anthony Chew, chief core skills officer at NTUC LearningHub, said that knowing exactly what to transform and how to execute the DX plans can be daunting to leaders. 

As for employees, one of the main reasons for workforce resistance to DX is their concern over job security. 

“Thus, it is about building a conducive environment for workplace learning to empower employees with new competencies, assure them of job security, and enable them to pivot into adjacent job roles within the organisation,” said Chew.

“More importantly, leaders at the workplace need to ensure that every employee is aligned with the organisation’s business strategy and implementation plans towards DX,” he added.