Fixing the digital skills gap - Main Region
Fixing the digital skills gap
With the digital revolution continuing to bring new technologies and tools to workplaces on a regular basis, such as artificial intelligence, automation and big data, it can seem like an almost constant challenge to not only identify the right digital skills for business but also overcome widening gaps. After all, as job roles change and evolve in response to the adoption of new technology, employees require up-to-date skills to perform their new job functions or use new tools productivity and effectively.
What are digital skills?
These include, but are not limited to, the ability to communicate digitally, collaborate digitally, use new tools and apps, manage cyber security risks and gain insights from increasingly large data sets.
On top of these general skills, certain employees may require additional skills to complete specific duties and add value to an organisation. For example, your accountant could learn IT programming to contribute to system improvement projects as an organisation becomes more automated. Or your sales manager could learn to write blogs that engage your customers and bring new traffic to your website.
Identify the gaps
Next, consider your organisation’s objectives and the digital abilities your team requires to achieve them. Don’t forget to take into account the planned introduction of any new digital tools that necessitate the upskilling of staff and your existing talent management plan.
You can then compare the skills you need with those your existing employees possess in order to identify the gaps.
By linking your organisation’s objectives to the skills required, you’ll also identify the most time-sensitive gaps you need to concentrate on closing first.
Support your existing workforce
Another option is to employ contractors as a temporary resource to fill gaps while you upskill your existing team. Contractors can be a valuable tool in your upskilling efforts, too, since they possess the skills you need your team to learn. Therefore, contractors can pass on their knowledge to your existing staff to quickly close gaps.
Such actions allow you to support your existing workforce while simultaneously increasing their digital capabilities. With a lack of learning and development opportunities one of the main factors driving skilled professionals into the jobs market, these strategies also offer you retention and engagement advantages.
Utilise ‘hidden’ digital capabilities
Get your staff into the right mindset
Employees who can adapt easily will embrace digital change and quickly adjust to new processes or ways of working. Rather than resisting the associated requirement to develop new skills, they are open and receptive to upskilling and will proactively look for opportunities to utilise their new competencies.
Often, communication is at the heart of a successful upskilling drive, with employees needing to understand why the way they perform their job is changing before they can commit to developing new skills. So, clearly and regularly communicate with all staff the
benefits of new technological change, what’s required of them, how their day-to-day work will be impacted and how you’ll support their upskilling.
It’s also important to empower staff so they feel valued. This will motivate them to do their best. After all, employees must understand where they fit in with any new digital adoption, which can only be achieved in a culture that values trust, openness and clear communication.
Adopt a continuous review approach
Ultimately, rapid technological advances are a sign of our times. Legacy systems will continue to be updated and new technology introduced on a result basis. As a result, the need for digital skills in the workplace will only continue to grow, meaning that you need to be prepared to continuously monitor your organisation’s competencies and close new gaps as and when they emerge.