Looking around your workplace, it may appear that everyone on staff is now a digital native. In fact, if you’re a manager, your biggest challenge may be peeling your employees away from their phones, tablets and computers long enough to have a meaningful face-to-face meeting. The situation is so dire, some senior managers have even resorted to forcing employees (at all levels) to check their electronic devices at the door when they hold meetings. But don’t kid yourself–employees who know how to text or waste time playing Candy Crush on their phone are not necessarily digitally savvy. In fact, most of these employees are simply digitally distracted. This means that organizations now face a growing challenge: How to scale up digital skills within one’s established talent pool.
Understanding the Deficit by the Numbers
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review brings the current digital deficit into focus. As Jeremy Goldman reports: “On a global basis, companies are losing faith in their digital smarts. In PwC’s 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey, 52% rated their digital IQ as strong. Compare that with 67% and 66% in 2016 and 2015, respectively. The survey, conducted among 2,200 technology executives, identified critical skill gaps such as cybersecurity and privacy.” Goldman further observes, “It’s not that employees are getting less tech-savvy; it’s that the market demands more of each and every one of them. The word ‘digital’ used to mean your company’s investments in IT, and perhaps social media readiness, but now it’s bigger, touching on your company’s overall culture.”
Scaling Up Digital Training
Step 1: Identify your digital deficits: Carry out an organization-wide audit to identify your organization’s major shortcomings in terms of digital talent. Use eLeap’s observation checklist to carry out your audit and start building a viable training strategy to fill notable gaps.
Step 2: Find out who already has digital knowledge and skills not being put to use: You may have someone working in reception or shipping who also happens to be trained as an ethical hacker or have someone working in your cafeteria who was trained as a programmer prior to immigrating to the United States. If you do, you are not using your talent where it is most needed: cybersecurity. An audit can help you identify underused human resources, especially digital talent, and realign to ensure no digital talent is being overlooked.
Step 3: Support further training: Find out who on staff is eager to gain more digital skills, especially in cybersecurity, which is one of the most under-staffed and urgent areas of digital knowledge. Offer on-the-job training to staffers who have the capacity and desire to learn more and move into key digital roles, including those connected to securing your organization’s digital assets.
Step 4: Provide employees with access to training on their own schedule: Scale up training on the job by offering flexible online courses that aim to enhance employee’s digital skills.
Step 5: Adopt a learning management system: By adopting a flexible learning management system, you will be able to roll out targeted courses to build digital skills across your workforce. Employees will also be able to complete training anywhere and anytime using a wide range of platforms.
Step 6: Recruit outside talent: After you have identified your existing digital strengths, recruited employees who are eager to scale up their digital skills and knowledge, and rolled out targeted training for existing talent, turn your attention to recruitment. Bear in mind that recruiting top digital talent is difficult (in part because the largest tech companies tend to take the top talent directly out of college). Paying more to hire mid-level to senior talent with a training background (experts who can also support internal training efforts) may ultimately yield a better return on investment. If you do this, you’ll not only be acquiring digital talent but expanding your capacity to build a strong digital talent pool from within your existing ranks.
For more information about how to get started, try eLeaP’s free trial now.