More than 30% of employees lack a basic level of digital literacy while a staggering 35% have just baseline competency.
77% of the workforce do not have a clear understanding of digital skills and think it is the same as technological skills.
Post pandemic, businesses around the world have moved on to digital platforms. Many organizations are completely relying on technology and virtual offices to function.
But is the workforce and even the organizations truly ready for this setup?
What is digital fluency?
More than 2 billion people worldwide work in the industrial and service sectors. People working in the information and communication technology (ICT) industry stand at slightly more than 55 million. A vast majority of the world’s workforce are in roles that use technology but are not directly involved with its development and management.
Technical training for organizations can not be about the new software, AI, programming languages, and the like. There are more people using technology to get their job done. Usage of technology varies depending on job role or department.
A person working for the accounting department will use software differently than a person working in sales, even if they use the same application. Therefore, digital literacy training that aims for increased employee productivity can not be generic or standardized for all employees.
70% of young employees expect the organizations to train them on new digital skills. Most C-suite executives, around 90%, say their company pays attention to people’s needs and provides appropriate training when introducing new technology. However, only 53% of the employees agree to this.
Lack of proper training can make employees burdened and overwhelmed. They might not know how to use the software or application they are meant to use. Thus, they might start doing independent research on their own to learn it.
This trend of self-learning creates a peculiar situation. Each person is self-taught in their ways, leading to differences in the use of the technology. There is no particular standard to learn and employ the learning. Everyone uses the technologies as per their way and achieves varying levels of proficiencies. This variation affects individual performance and hinders organizational productivity. Thus, it is important to focus on every employee’s digital fluency.
Why does it matter?
Even if most organizations understand the importance of digital literacy, not many give due diligence to relevant employee training.
Digital skills are becoming part of essential skill sets to stay functional.
Organizations with high data understanding among employees see increased revenue, customer satisfaction, and market share. These companies also report increased employee satisfaction. In comparison, organizations with sparing data utilization fall behind in most aspects.
Digital literacy boosts productivity among the workforce. By employing digital technology, organizations can streamline their working model and eliminate time-consuming redundant work. If employees are not engaged in repetitive manual work, they will focus on the things that matter most to the company. 73% of employees agree that technical solutions help them to be more productive.
Lack of digital knowledge can pose a security risk for companies. Elderly people getting scammed because of little knowledge is one glaring example. Organizations can face similar problems if their workforce is not properly trained about the software or applications use and other features. Employees should be well aware of the use of firewalls, VPNs, various threats, and how to spot scams.
The digital world is turning into a data world. Data of the organization, data of clients, data of employees, and data of others. For ethical and secure management of all this data, the employees should have a clear understanding of various data protection laws and fair usage of the data collected.
The Way Forward
Companies with employee digital fluency experience 2.7 times growth. 69% of such companies are favored by their employees. 62% of companies lead innovation in their domain and 68% project higher customer satisfaction.
Thus, to remain competitive, organizations must close digital skills gaps, and this requires starting with the basics.
Employees must have a fair foundation of digital processes. They need to develop an understanding of various technologies, applications, and tools. Learning how to use these tools, visualizing data, and interpreting the said data, are some of the core activities that most employees need to learn.
A successful digital transformation of any organization demands employees of all levels to comprehend and use technology tools and data as per their job role.
But how should the organizations train their employees towards digital fluency?