How to Upskill Your Employees in Digital Literacy


HR Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for HR pros

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Digital literacy is growing in importance and its requirements are constantly changing, meaning many employees do not have the digital skills required. Implementing training within a company can help address this gap.

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How to Upskill Your Employees in Digital Literacy
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The requirements of digital literacy are constantly changing in line with the ways in which technology is being used and how to get the most out of it. This means that improving the digital literacy of employees is key when it comes to ensuring your company can remain competitive and incorporate new technologies into daily processes.

Upskilling employees needs to be an ongoing goal in order to respond to the needs of the business. From creating and sharing content to being able to tell whether a website has a good level of authority, digital literacy encompasses a huge range of subjects and you need to assess which skills departments or individuals require.

As 50 per cent of employees are seen as having a digital skills gap, looking at ways digital literacy can be improved is highly beneficial. Here are some options that could help boost the digital literacy of your workforce:

Communicate the reasoning

Not every employee is going to instantly see the benefits of improving digital literacy. As with any training, if individuals do not see how it will directly impact their role or day-to-day activities, there is likely to be resistance, which can affect how well the training goes.

New Statesman highlights the importance of communication when it comes to upskilling employees, primarily, letting them know exactly why the move is good for them, how it will result in positive changes to their job and the ways in which the knowledge will make their tasks simpler.

This should be the initial step you take, ensuring each person has a good understanding of what the training will entail and what they are expected to do as part of it. Putting some form of forum in place for people to raise concerns and get more information will also help to reduce resistance.

Assess existing skills

In order to see what areas need improvements and who needs to undergo what training, you need to first assess the existing digital literacy within the organization. This means creating tests and/or opinion polls to see where people believe they need to make improvements and to get an accurate idea of existing skills.

You should do this by covering three key areas of workplace digital literacy:

  • Communication and collaboration
  • Cybersecurity
  • The law and ethics

This will allow you to see what basic knowledge employees have and what areas could affect the day-to-day running of the business.

Communication and collaboration should look at:

  • Social media
  • Digital tools
  • Concepts around the digital era
  • Skills needed for digital engagement

Cybersecurity should look at:

  • Knowledge of possible security risks
  • How to reduce them
  • What to do in the case of a cyberattack
  • How employees actions can cause risks

Law and ethics should look at the understanding surrounding:

  • Sharing information via email
  • Discussing the company or clients on social media
  • Issues surrounding confidentiality

Reactive teaching

Once you have a better understanding of individuals' or departments' knowledge gaps when it comes to digital literacy, you can develop training that will bridge them. Some employees may require basic skills and knowledge, while others may be able to go straight into advanced subjects.

Creating a method to track progression will help you to see if there is anything they need to go back over, as well as show you when refresher courses might be beneficial.

Following on from this, it is important to maintain training and have regular sessions that are reactive to changes in your industry or the technology the organization is using in order to ensure all employees continue to possess a good level of digital literacy.

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