How to Breach the Digital Skills Gap

Amy Hodgetts

Amy HodgettsCopywriter at Mediaworks

Friday, October 4, 2019

For those who were born in the 90s, technology is an easy thing to navigate. After all, they grew up surrounded by technology. But for older people, particularly in the workplace, technology can be something of a digital barrier.

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From digital HR tools to electronic signature software, this technological knowledge gap can be difficult for older people to address. But there are a number of ways that HR can help the older generations can quickly get to grips with the digital age.

Recognize the digital divide

The digital divide is proving to be a problem across many sectors. Although once it was due to financial inequalities disabling the access to technology, it has now shifted towards a knowledge gap. There is a huge effort to develop new innovations in technology but those with the necessary skills for the job are lacking in numbers. Thus, creates the digital gap, where the demand for digital skills has outstripped the supply. With so many jobs now reliant on technological skills, the efforts to bridge that digital skills gap is gaining pace.

Teach them about new technology

It’s no surprise the younger generation employees tend to take to technology much faster due to their upbringing. For those that didn’t go through childhood and adolescence whilst the digital boom was underway, learning about what the latest technology has to offer can be an intimidating experience. Coming into the workplace, Generation X would’ve felt intimidated by the thought of learning how to use Microsoft Excel. Now, it’s virtual reality, voice activated domestic robots, and wireless charging.

Building on previous knowledge is a great steppingstone. Use analogies where possible to help employees better understand how the technology works by comparing it to their familiar, everyday life.

Simplify the language you use

The digital age has changed language forever. Implementing technologically-orientated words such as selfie or emoji may have reluctantly made their way into the Oxford Dictionaries at the displeasure of traditionalists, but that’s an indication of how much influence the internet has had on our lexicon. As digital natives, we’ve adopted this as if it were a second skin, so when it comes to communicating with other generations on the topic of technology, be sure to use simplified language. Although using jargon is usually deployed to make the explanation process more concise, it’ll stall or confuse the listener and cause the teaching to slow down.

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