As L&D leaders, it can be difficult to keep up with the rapid pace of digital transformation in the workplace.
In fact, 92% of UK organisations agree digital skills are key to future success, but nearly 25% lack the workforce to meet demand.
The good news is that businesses can ensure they are prepared for future technological changes by upskilling their employees in digital skills, leading to a happier workforce and better business outcomes.
But there’s a big hurdle–the digital skills gap.
What is the digital skills gap?
The digital skills gap is the difference between the technology skills employers need and workers’ current skills.
The digital skills gap is currently driven by the lack of digital skills in the existing workforce and the lack of adequately trained graduates to fill positions. And these are more than just hard digital skills such as HTML competency.
A recent report finds that £240 billion a year is at risk because businesses only focus on hard digital skills. In fact, the most effective digital training programmes teach employees both technical and soft skills, such as collaborating as an asynchronous team.
The digital skills gap will continue to cause issues unless L&D departments and organisations make changes. If the problem is left unchecked, $285 billion of Britain’s economic growth is at risk between now and 2026.
So, how do we close the gap? Well, we start with upskilling our workforce on digital skills.
What are the benefits of digital upskilling?
Digital upskilling is the continuous learning opportunities that L&D teams create for employees to gain new skills and improve job effectiveness related to new and evolving technologies.
The benefits of digital upskilling are twofold, with significant advantages for employees and the workplace.
Benefits for employees
Digital upskilling boosts employees’ productivity by empowering their confidence in their ability to perform on the job.
By helping the workforce embrace artificial intelligence, digital upskilling lessens the risk that automation will replace roles. Upskilling, more generally, is also great for career growth.
Benefits for the workplace
Digital upskilling helps foster a culture of continuous learning where employees seek out learning experiences in their own time.
The process also improves employee retention by supporting them and helping them with professional development–saving the business money in the long term.
4 examples of digital skills
In an increasingly digital world, ensuring everyone has the skills to use technology to enhance their performance and not hinder it is essential.
Digital skills range from the essential to the advanced, and we’ve gathered two of each here to help illustrate what digital skills are as well as why they are important.
1. Computer literacy
Computer literacy refers to efficiently using computers and related technology, ranging from basic use to problem-solving and software skills.
As a digital skill, computer literacy involves proper file storage, efficient typing, and access to frequently used digital channels like Slack and email.
2. Social media basics
A basic understanding of the difference between social media platforms is crucial for communicating and engaging with customers as well as online brand promotion.
When delivering your digital upskilling, design ways to help your employees understand the differences between platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
3. Artificial intelligence
Having the skill to use and understand AI technologies will boost your employees’ performance when solving problems and automating tasks.
Your employees will need training on using AI-powered tools efficiently and confidently, including generative AI or predictive analytics.
4. Project management
You can empower employees to meet objectives and minimise costly delays by delivering digital upskilling in these areas.
Support digital upskilling with a collaborative learning platform
L&D is at the forefront of the digital skills gap, and we have the opportunity to make a real impact for our organisations and learners through our digital upskilling efforts.
The right learning strategy and a modern learning management system (LMS) focused on collaborative learning are crucial for designing, delivering, and managing digital upskilling. To truly make a tangible and achievable difference, seek out LMS platforms with features that:
- Allow employees to declare their digital learning needs in real-time
- Are simple and effective for in-house subject-matter experts to design content in collaboration with L&D.
- Encourage open communication among workers and keep learning content relevant.
- Make every learning process step engaging with interactive elements like badges and leaderboards.
By leveraging the power of collaborative learning and a modern LMS, you and your team can impact the digital skills gap in your organisation and enhance your learners’ digital skills and boost performance.