The digital tech movement is rapidly advancing — and with that — can come some challenges with digital literacy in the workplace.
Large and enterprise organizations have thousands of employees from all different backgrounds, age groups, and current digital skills that can create a disconnect internally, like between departments or even company-wide.
And getting your organization’s people on the right digital track can appear to be a daunting task, but it is also necessary to fuel productivity, creativity, and growth.
Below I’m going to explore the power of digital literacy including:
- What is Digital Literacy?
- Digital Literacy in the Workplace
- Ways to Improve Digital Literacy of Employees
- Statistics of the Digital Workplace
“95% of organizations agree that a digital workplace is important. (Source)”
What is Digital Literacy?
The concept is quite simple, but also can be very broad and many experts who focus on it, have various degrees of definitions.
But generally, digital literacy is how proficient you are in using technologies to either find, assess, create, or communicate information. This usually means being able to find digital information, creating digital content, or sharing it.
Digital literacy also includes the knowledge and skills with using technology like smartphones, tablets, computers, social platforms, and software for purposes of communication, expression, collaboration and more.
And digital literacy applies anywhere, like your within your personal home, at schools, for your own hobbies, and in the workplace.
Digital Literacy in the Workplace
Digital literacy in the workplace can be a bit tricky. As I mentioned in the intro — for large and enterprise organizations with thousands of employees — digital knowledge can vary between people and departments.
Many will be able to adapt and easily implement tools or platforms, while others need to be educated and trained more thoroughly.
Here are a few key areas that will show the level of digital literacy in the workplace. These can also help your organization figure out any current gaps, how ready for new technologies your company might be, or where training needs to improve.
- Using digital tools and technologies – How comfortable are employees using tools and technologies currently? How do they adopt to new tech that is introduced? Your employees should be comfortable with basic tools, but it’s also important to see how well they can adjust to other platforms without tons of training.
- Understanding how digital helps their work – Does your company’s employees understand how digital platforms and processes are advantages to their work and professional growth? Many technologies are used to make tasks and their work much more efficient.
- Social media literacy – Although it can be stand alone, social media is ingrained with digital literacy too. Social platforms have become important for building personal brands and helping your brand grow. How comfortable are employees on social media? Do they know how it benefits them and the company? Do they have direction on how to use it in the workplace?
- Cloud-based software and multi-device – Most large businesses have made the switch to cloud-based programs, which offer more functionality and ease of use for team collaboration. Additionally, employees must be adapted and familiar with multiple devices beyond the computer. Items like tablets, mobile phones, and devices similar.
Improving Digital Literacy of Employees
Digital literacy continues to evolve and grow, which means many employees fall behind with their digital skills. It’s why company’s (including your organization) must work on improving the digital skills of employees, no matter their department.
Here are a few ways to help foster digital literacy and continue to keep up with the fast-moving and huge range of the digital landscape.
Communicate the value and purpose
Don’t assume everyone has the right digital skills or knows why it matters. Even though younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z have typically grown up with tech, it does not mean they value the benefits.
Your organization has to show employees why digital changes benefit them, like impacting their performance, increasing knowledge, and improving job productivity.
Successful companies that ensure their digital workplace is strong, make digital skills a part of their culture. Something Dell has done well with, like being one of the first to adopt an employee-driven social media program internally.
Assess digital skills
There are periodic times where your company should be assessing the current levels of digital skills. This is not to scare employees or make them feel less valuable, it’s to figure out how to make your people more digitally aligned.
Before you blindly offer training or support, your company must know what kind of levels of digital literacy you might be facing. Your organization can assess through surveys, simple digital tests, or even opinion polls. There honestly is a lot you can — and should cover — like:
- Cybersecurity (Spam, security risks, hacks)
- Digital collaboration (Social media, digital tools)
- Ethics of being digital (data privacy, sharing info)
Provide Training and on-going support
Once your organization evaluates and assess the digital skills of employees, this helps guide your company towards the right training and support. When your company offers these initiatives, it helps employees develop professionally and see that their company cares about nurturing their skills.
However, when it comes to training, your company cannot just approach with one learning style. Similar to everyone’s unique digital skills, everyone also retains info and learns differently. Yes, it can get tricky, but if you blend the learning opportunities in different ways, results will be much stronger.
What does this mean? Certainly offer some training sessions like a classroom setting, but add in visual learning (videos or presentations), online classes, let other employees become the teachers, bring in experts, 1-1 sessions, etc. Combine different training and support or do them all.
Measure and adjust as needed
Like any other strategy or tool, your company needs to measure the digital literacy in the workplace. Create a baseline measurement of the current digital skills, then use that to monitor progress, new growth, or any setbacks. This can help your team adjust and training or initiatives that are working or are not working.
There is a great framework that your organization can implement to make this assessment and measurements a bit easier. It is called The Digital Workplace Skills Framework.
Statistics of the Digital Workplace
I wanted to end this article with some statistics about the digital workplace and digital literacy. Many times, data can really put some value behind the conversation. Take a look at these ten interesting stats below:
- 44% of workplaces have some form of digital workplace programs in place. (Source)
- 17% of organizations have plans to create a formal digital workspace strategy in the next two years. (Source)
- Organizations use an average of 16 SaaS applications (up from an average of 8 in 2015). (Source)
- 87% of CIOs believe digitally empowering employees can drive at least 5% additional revenue growth over 3 years. (Source)
- By getting to the point where 6 in 10 employees strongly agree they have the materials and equipment they need to do their work right, organizations could realize an 11% increase in profitability. (Source)
- 74% of workers say that employers do not give them access to the latest technology to help them do their job more effectively and efficiently. (Source)
- Only 18% of companies provide the apps workers want and need AND make them readily accessible anywhere, anytime on any device. (Source)
- C-level executives (often CEOs and CIOs) are the champion of digital workplace changes in 65% of organizations. (Source)
- Two-thirds of organizations need support from external partners when planning, designing, deploying and benefiting from workplace technology solutions. (Source)
- The top three challenges to creating a digital workplace are: Budget constraints (41%), Lack of cross-departmental collaboration (31%), Limitations of current platforms (30%) (Source)
How digitally literate is your organization? Hopefully the above helps you realize the value and some tips to get your team up to the digital speed.