Many leaders, especially those who have overseen digital transformation within their organisations, will be keenly aware that technology is only a small part of what makes that transformation successful.

The outcome of a digital transformation hinges much more on the human component – or as Bernard Marr wrote for Forbes recently, “It’s All About the People”. But in practice, what does this really mean?

Writing in Econsultancy’s report, ‘Winning the Race for Digital Skills: The New Best Practices of Effective Learning’, Econsultancy’s SVP of Learning and Research, Stefan Tornquist, notes that, “Research has shown that the main stumbling block to effective change is internal resistance; as individuals and teams, employees are uncomfortable with change happening ‘to them’, leading to a transformation failure rate of anywhere from 35% to 85% depending on study definitions and methodology.”

Getting an entire organisation on board with change is a challenge, and isn’t something that can be achieved overnight. However, Tornquist advises that leaders have a key tool at their disposal: learning.

“Learning is the most powerful tool available to help a workforce change its mind voluntarily as it comes to understand the realities and prospects of a new strategic vision,” he writes.

The findings of Econsultancy’s research back this up, with 79% of senior executives surveyed saying that education and training are “essential” to their company’s digital transformation.

Learning is the most powerful tool available to help a workforce change its mind voluntarily as it comes to understand the realities and prospects of a new strategic vision.

What this looks like in action can vary from business to business, and the ‘Winning the Race for Digital Skills’ report explores numerous options for integrating learning and training into an organisation, from creating a learning platform to introducing live learning to implementing ‘multi-modal’ learning, which combines a variety of learning methods.

What makes a bigger difference is adopting an organisational culture of learning as a whole – also known as a ‘learning mindset’. We’ve dived into this more in a dedicated piece, ‘How does an organisation of learners become a learning organisation?’, but the short version is that an organisation that creates opportunities for employees to learn and grow will attract new recruits with a thirst for that learning, creating a virtuous cycle of talent and strong learning and development (L&D).

In addition, organisations with a learning mindset embrace change and innovation, putting them in a stronger position to respond to new developments in the industry and continually reinvent themselves.

As Tornquist writes, “Exponential technological change, digital transformation, shortening business lifespans and the increased importance of customer experience [all] mean that organisations and individuals need to adopt and maintain a learning mindset.

“… Mindset will make or break innovation and transformation.”

Digital transformation involves change of many kinds – changes in technology, changes in strategy, changes in organisational culture, and often changes in structure. Introducing learning and training throughout an organisation can equip people to adapt to this change – and give them opportunities to grow their skillset, knowledge and experience in the process.