How to Enhance Digital Literacy Across Remote and In-House Teams

Improving digital literacy among employees is crucial in creating opportunities for sustained growth and rewards for organizations. Yet, companies are struggling to reskill their workforce and close the digital literacy gap to progress.

We are at the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution – with emerging technologies leading the way for high growth and productivity. Organizations across industries and lines of business are on the path of digital transformation – implementing innovative applications, platforms, and business models.

But a study cited by HR Technologist reveals that only 37% of these initiatives are successful, and the lack of transformation in the workforce is the surprising cause. In fact, a Capgemini research drilled down on the likely culprits and found that 62% of the time cultural issues hold back transformation initiatives. A lofty 43% say the lack of digital skills is the most important hindrance in digitization projects. Together, these two are emblematic of the digital literacy gap in the workforce today.

Companies like Cloud Academy offer hands-on cloud training programs that drive digital literacy. With an all-in-one online-based solution to uplevel skill gaps, enterprises and individual users can quickly uplevel their technical capabilities on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, DevOps, Programming, Security, and much more.

Cloud Academy Enhanced Digital Literacy

With historic low unemployment rates and the rapid transformation of companies – there’s a huge tech talent shortage in the country. Even with the rise of remote employees and freelancers, there remains a huge gap in the potential of digital transformation.

That’s why enhancing employees’ digital literacy is crucial for companies to grow. The need for an employee base that can do new kinds of work and fill emerging roles is not optional for today’s modern enterprises.

How do you do enhance digital literacy?

1. Train beyond competence
2. Deploy a holistic approach
3. Leverage peer learning
4. Employ blended techniques

1. Train beyond competence

For the emerging tools to be used and positions to be filled, you just need to teach your employees how to use them, right? Yes and no.

Clemson University notes that digital literacy programs need to focus less on the devices and more on the digital thinking of the trainees. They say it’s about encouraging people to use the tools, changing the culture, and building effective teams so that it goes beyond competence to motivate innovation.

A practical way to do this is to map out the current and emerging gaps between the unfilled positions and the potential of your workforce to fill them in. Companies like Amazon, JP Morgan Chase, and General Motors have recently opened up career training programs for their employees. Amazon’s 16-week certification program, for example, is aimed at upskilling their warehouse employees and giving them the opportunity to be hired as data technicians. By giving employees platforms to learn and assess their potential, you are demonstrating your confidence in them.

2. Deploy a more holistic approach

More than upskilling and filling roles, digital literacy should encourage smart innovation and foster a culture of learning. As many of the technologies we use today are constantly developing, a workforce with high digital literacy is the best way to future proof your workforce.

So, while a significant portion of digital literacy initiatives is directed at crucial skill sets that the company needs, a more holistic approach to fostering a culture of innovation and learning should be prioritized. This is especially vital for promoting a positive security culture, as mentioned at the AWS Summit.

This means digital literacy initiatives should veer away from one-shot training sessions and conferences but instead be embedded into the company’s activities. Events and webinars communicating the value proposition of change should be done both for in-house and remote workers. The Collective NWX’s coworking spaces in Central Oregon notes that workers need a place to gather and find synergy. In these venues, employees get to understand the concept and requirements of a culture shift.

3. Leverage peer learning

Another central concept in the best practices developed at Microsoft Stanley Black & Decker is effective peer learning. Experts suggest that cultural shifts give rise to a divide between people with growth mindsets and fixed mindsets. Identifying these digital advocates and leaning on them to catalyze learning is key to maximize peer coaching.

These activities are also best done outside the confines of the office to break the monotony and give them the participants a change of pace. Tine Thygesen writing for Forbes explains how coworking spaces are great choices for these peer-to-peer workshops and are indeed something many managers today consider. She notes: “the concentration of similar people also attracts external knowledge to your doorstep in the form of visitors and events, increasing the propensity for professional development.” And coworking spaces across the country have adapted to this demand. Industrious’ coworking spaces in Chicago symbolize how many of these locations are designed for companies of all sizes, with all the amenities of a modern office included. An inspiring environment can elevate the learning experience for your teams, especially if they work remotely and don’t often see each other.

4. Employ blended techniques

To make digital literacy spark innovation and learning culture, you should consider how you can cater to different learning styles. While some might be better at learning from structured courses, some need other methods like visual-spatial or a hands-on approach to learning.

Set clear but flexible learning goals. This is especially true for companies with remote workers and a level of decentralized operations. Measurable improvements and parameters should be set while not impeding the advantages of an already nimble workforce. After all, WeWork’s coworking spaces in New York emphasize the need for more flexibility and mobility of employees. So, building a rigid curriculum would not be compatible with today’s modern workforce.

Use tech to teach tech. Today’s tools include an array of learning platforms that can aid employees in continuous learning. Some companies like PWC and Shell have launched apps and specialized platforms that caters to both their in-house and remote employees. A blend of videos, podcasts, webinars, and open-source lectures can be deployed to give employees more channels to learn.

Measure and evolve the program. Your digital literacy initiatives are just as good as the feedback mechanisms attached to them. Make sure you have feedback meetings or employee consultations to clearly measure and develop the efficiency of the programs you employ.

Digital literacy will give your workforce the foundational skills and confidence to tackle new technologies, tools, and processes as they arise. By acknowledging these gaps and proactively addressing them, you avoid a steep learning curve in the future and improve your growth potential.

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