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Digital Maturity Insight

Improving Digital Literacy of Employees

by Redweb, 24 June 2020

Read Time: 5 minutes

Gauging the digital expertise of an organisation – particularly large ones – can be a challenge, as the range of digital knowledge and skills can vary greatly between people and departments. On top of this, some of your colleagues will find it easy to adapt and learn new tools or platforms, whilst others will need in-depth training and support.

As you prepare your organisation for digital growth you will want to measure, monitor and improve these collective skills alongside breaking down the silos that are barriers to transformation as you begin creating a digital first culture.

How to measure your organisation’s digital skills

There are four key areas that you should focus on when conducting an audit of your workplace digital literacy. These can also help you spot knowledge gaps, get an indication of how ready you are for new technologies, or where to invest in additional training.

Digital tools already in use

How comfortable are teams using the tools already available to them? How have they adapted to new technology previously when it has been introduced? Employees should be at ease with the basics, but it’s important to understand how well they adjust to new platforms without a lot of training. Does digital help people work?

Does everyone understand how digital platforms and processes are complementary to their daily work and professional growth? Technology is often about helping to drive efficiency and collaboration rather than slowing down or complicating process.

Social media maturity

Social platforms are important brand building tools for your business and the individuals within it. How comfortable are employees on the key social channels relevant to your organisation? Are they clear on how it benefits them and the business, and is there clear direction for how it should be deployed for work?

Going beyond the desktop

Many organisations now follow a thin client model, with software and collaboration happening in the cloud, instead of locally on a hard drive. What has the uptake and appetite been for these types of services? Employees are often issued with smartphones, tablets and expected to use interactive screens and smart conferencing facilities. How supported are they when it comes to a change in hardware and in-office equipment?

How to improve the digital literacy of your business

As digital in general continues to evolve and grow, many employees will fall behind with their digital skills. Here are the key ways to help foster digital literacy and continue to keep apace with the ever-changing face of technology.

Over communicate the value and purpose

Don’t make the assumption that everyone is aware of the skills that they need or even knows why digital skills are important. Even though younger generations have grown up with technology and the internet, this is no guarantee that they see them as valuable tools.

You need to show, not just tell, employees about the benefits that improved digital literacy can bring to performance, knowledge and productivity. In order to strengthen your workplace, digital skills need to become part of your culture.

Review the collective skillset

There should be regular reviews (the frequency will vary between organisations) where you should be reassessing the levels of digital skills. The aim is to ensure that the business is digitally aligned without scaring people or making them feel devalued.

In order to define the level of training and support required, you will want to know the levels of literacy that you are faced with. These can be measured through surveys, simple digital tests and polls. This can cover everything from security and ethics to collaboration and social media.

Offer training and support

Post-assessment, you can guide teams to the right training and support. When you offer these initiatives, either internal or external, it helps employees develop professionally and see that the business in investing in them and cares about improving their skills.

It is important to remember that people have different learning styles and ideally the training should be offered in different formats. This does add complexity, but if you blend the learning opportunities, the results will be much stronger.

This could mean offering traditional classroom training, visual learning, online classes, train the trainer (where other employees become the teachers, bring in experts, 1-1 sessions). You could combine different training and support or do them all.

Measure and course correct

If you create a baseline measurement of the current digital skills in your workplace, then you can use that to monitor progress, new growth, or any setbacks. This can help teams adjust and highlight training or initiatives that are working well or are not working at all.

Researcher and author Elizabeth Marsh has developed The Digital Workplace Skills Framework, which you can implement to help make assessment and measurements more straightforward. It’s designed to enable organisations to understand, assess, and improve across reflecting, finding, creating and using digital skills – particularly helpful if you’re just starting out with benchmarking.

Summary

Gauging the digital expertise of an organisation can be a challenge – and the cost of training can be a barrier for many – but those who spend the time and money on raising their digital literacy will reap the rewards.

Marsh’s research discovered that one of the key benefits experienced by businesses is higher employee satisfaction. By focusing on developing organisation-wide digital skills, no-one feels left behind or forgotten. Companies who provide opportunities for broad, well-rounded digital literacy inspire greater confidence amongst their staff.

In the next article, we discuss how combining digital skills with the breaking down of internal silos will help you on your path to digital growth.


Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

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