The digital age is upon us. Technology has already been progressing at an exponential rate, but since the pandemic, we are more reliant on technology than ever before. As a result, the digital skill gap in organisations is also bigger than it ever was.
Digital transformation can be broadly categorised into four different areas, namely technology, data, process, and organisational changes. Collectively, these technological advancements have completely changed the way we conduct business, right from client acquisitions and marketing products to the internal management of a company.
To keep up with rapid technological changes, companies must prepare their workforce to adapt to the new changes. They must also adapt their own talent management and practises to aid their employees better.
To do so, you must first gauge what your company’s existing strategies are to know how prepared you are for the digital change. Then, you prepare strategies to adapt to new technology and implement them at various levels. Lastly, you work toward building a culture of continuous learning amongst your workforce.
First things first, you need to evaluate what digital skills your employees already have and how helpful their skills really are for them and the organisation. This evaluation may take a while, but trust the process and don’t take any shortcuts. Any and all information your employees provide you will be helpful, no matter how basic.
Your employees’ knowledge can be pertaining to software use, or CRM experience, or basic Microsoft Office expertise. As you record their expertise, you will be able to see just how much of a digital gap there is. This will be imperative in preparation strategies.
You will also be faced with the question of whether your existing workforce can be trained for digital transformation or you need new recruits in some areas.
When you have sufficient data to have comprehensive knowledge of your workforce’s expertise with technology, you can start preparing strategies to build the digital gap. Create on-the-job training programs to enhance every employee’s skill set. E-learning whether in the office or in a separate institution can go a long way in enhancing an employee’s skill.
You can also consider enrolling your employees in a higher education institution to train them better. Remember to phase such training out instead of rushing your employees through them. Ask them what kind of environment they would prefer for their learning and ensure that they are comfortable through it.
The last step of the process is to promote a culture of learning. Identifying the needs of the future in advance and preparing for them beforehand makes the transition much easier. In fact, one could argue that an employee would not even realise that they have bridged the digital gap when the training is continuous and in small chunks.
Introduce the idea of the digital gap and your strategies to bridge it instead of springing it on your employees out of the blue. Keep them in the loop and explain to them why this is necessary. Encourage learning as a means to better themselves.
The idea is to motivate and groom your workforce to embrace the digital age and adapt themselves to it. They should not feel left out, rather encouraged to improve their skills and perform better. Champion a culture where people are willing to learn on their own instead of being forced to do so to keep their jobs.
Research suggests that new hires get paid around 20% more than internal employees to do the same job. You will be better served to prepare your existing employees for the digital transformation happening today rather than looking for new people.
It also serves as an opportunity for your existing employees to improve their skills and learn more on the job. Such exercises also help strengthen the bond between you and your employees as they are sure to appreciate the effort you put into their betterment instead of leaving them behind.