Employees’ Fear of Change Putting Competitiveness of British Firms at Risk

Organisations failing to realise value of digital transformation
programmes due to a lack of investment in cultural reform

READING, United Kingdom–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#FutureDecoded–Employees’ fear of change is putting British businesses at risk,
according to a new research report unveiled today by Microsoft.

The study – conducted in collaboration with Goldsmiths, University of
London, and YouGov – found that the majority of businesses investing in
digital transformation programmes face a common challenge in realising
value from their investments: the human factor. Findings reveal that
moves to improve how people work by introducing new technologies creates
anxiety among employees (61%), the automation of tasks creates fears
about job security (59%) and staff express a fear of change when digital
transformation initiatives are introduced (49%).

The report, entitled Creating a Culture of Digital Transformation,
is based on interviews with more than 1,000 business leaders and
employees in organisations across the UK, making it one of the most
extensive reports on the country’s digital transformation to date.

“Digital transformation is not just a technology deployment or an IT
exercise, it’s a people exercise. Leaders of all organisations must
therefore embrace cultural transformation from the top and explore the
behavioural shifts needed to bring about lasting change,” said Cindy
Rose, Microsoft UK Chief Executive. “This comprehensive report shows
there is a deep-rooted connection between those organisations that
invest in nurturing cultural change and those that are able to fully
unlock the value of their technology investments.”

Despite the concerns shown by employees and the impact this is having on
organisations’ ability to boost productivity, less than a quarter (23%)
are investing in cultural change programmes to help their workforces
adapt to changing working practises and realise the value of investments
in technology.

Clare Barclay, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft UK, says: “We are
seeing a growing divide between those organisations that are geared
towards driving the cultural change that supports technology
investments, and those that aren’t. This is a major concern – evidence
suggests that if you don’t address the human elements of change,
successful transformation is unlikely to happen. Organisations must have
the right culture and change programme in place to unlock the true value
of technology. Creating a culture in which technology blends with human
potential is where the magic happens.”

The report also reveals that just 53% of organisations are currently
investing in digital transformation programmes, despite the same number
(53%) expecting their industries to face disruption within the next two

Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology, Stanford University, says: “Some
people are afraid of the technology, don’t want to use it, don’t feel
comfortable with it, and want to keep using their old skills as long as
possible. It’s vital to shift the ethos from being outcompeted or
sub-genius in a genius culture, to the idea of a shared struggle where
mistakes are inevitable and your team members and company have got your

Patrick Murphy, Director of Finance and Corporate Services, British
Medical Association, said:

“Four years ago, our workforce had not experienced technological change
like what we hoped to undertake. We needed to pave the way for change
and invest significantly in change management to see the transformation
required. It takes time to embed itself into people’s daily work lives
but, by getting an insight into how people use our systems, we reframed
the way our staff do things. It is critical to create an environment
that allows for positive engagement so people are more informed, know
what’s going on around the business and what we’re saying to the outside
world. We created a sense of engagement, which enriches the experience
of working in any organisation.”

To download the full report please visit

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and
productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its
mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet
to achieve more.

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Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of
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*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample
size was 1,003 Business leaders in middle management or above in UK
businesses with 500+ employees. Fieldwork was undertaken between 22nd
September – 3rd October. The survey was carried out online.


Assembly for Microsoft
Alvin Teeluck, (+44) (0)78 9673 1616