Got Skills? Digital Literacy to Close Workplace Knowledge, Competency Gaps

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August 10, 2017 | Skillsoft | HCI

Much of the millennial generation says they can’t describe their jobs and professional roles to their parents and grandparents because their older family members just don’t get it.

Millennials have a higher degree of digital literacy than their parents and grandparents, which means they’ve been trained and have the ability to use digital devices at work to fill needs of quick communication, efficient collaboration and stellar performance.  Technology and the speed, proficiencies and capabilities that younger employees bring to work just weren’t there for Baby Boomers and Generation X.

The gap shows up in today’s workforce, as members of all three generations report to work, under the same roof and for one common company mission. But the digital skills gap in today’s workforce causes organizations large amounts of money and big downfalls in workplace performance.

How can organizations get everyone up to speed with new technologies, automated tasks and demands of a faster pace – all brought on by the need for digital literacy across the organization?

It’s the time for digital transformation - a time when every team member picks up skills needed for modern, technologically advanced expertise. The skills gap that exists from the least digital literate to the most literate must be closed.

The Digital Marketing Institute in Oct. 2015 found that 27 percent of organizations have a clearly designed plan for implementing their digital strategies, while only 17 percent claim to have the right talent with the right skills to help make digital transformation happen.

The digital literacy gap in the workplace must be reduced by bringing new skills to employees who lack them, and in the end, creating an organization that’s “all skilled up.”

Three ways to shrink the organization skills gap:

1. Consider digital capabilities across the board

Perhaps you’re having a hard time bringing talent with digital literacy to your team.  Technological advancements with data and analytics, capabilities on multiple digital platforms and performance optimization are hard to find, especially in such a competitive, expensive market.

Let talent mobility play its role, here. “Focusing on people [who] are already in your business who know what makes it tick and are committed to your brand can prove to be a more fruitful path,” author Clodagh O’Brien wrote for The Digital marketing Institute.  Chances are, your in-house talent can bring more to the table than you think…and all you have to do is ask.

2. Invest in digital training

Investments are called investments because their return likely comes in the long run after considerable risks are taken.

Too often, companies spend money on short-term gains. Instead, put your organization’s money where it’s going to have the most profound impact on performance. Digital convergence won’t be cheap, but according to O’Brien, it’ll alleviate digital disruption pressures, support organizational learning and enable your workforce to compete in a world of highly-demanded digital proficiency.

3. Be agile during the digital world culture shift

A digitally-educated team is one of great bravery in the face of a workforce culture shift.

“In order to recruit and retain talent,” O’Brien said, “The workplace must become more open and less linear – a place where people can collaborate, communicate and most importantly, share information.”

Agility is required when new hurdles must be jumped, roles and responsibilities change and innovation means all hands on deck. It’s about creating a sense of community through times of big change rather than isolating according to skill level. Everyone becomes a force behind digital literacy in which creativity flourishes, plenty of chances are taken and contemporary ideas are brought to life.

For more on digital literacy and how to bring today’s digital skills home, REGISTER ONLINE for the Aug. 22 webcast, “Digital Literacy: Building Expertise in Critical, Everyday Digital Activities.”