Understanding the digital skills required of today’s workforce & how to develop a plan to address the digital skills gap in your organization
Labor productivity growth in the US has slowed to levels not seen since before the digital revolution.
At the macroeconomic level this decline in the growth rate in productivity is worrying economists and policymakers alike: labor productivity growth is a key ingredient in economic growth, and in raising the living standard of the population.
The issue is evident at the firm level too: during the 1990s and early 2000s, in the early years of the digital age, managers could reap the low hanging fruit that new technologies made available. But getting more from their employees today is proving more challenging even as the cloud promises the “next stage in the digital revolution.”
“ Productivity growth is the most important ingredient for raising living standards in rich and poor countries alike. If overall productivity growth disappears in the years ahead it will dash hopes that rich countries can improve their population’s living standards. ” - The Financial Times
More than 200M adults in the US are part of the digital workforce, yet only 1-in-10 rate themselves as very proficient with the digital tools they use every day at work. Training has not kept pace with technology, and workers, businesses and the entire economy are paying the price.
Digital products and topics are rapidly proliferating and evolving, and yet there is virtually no professional development focused on these 21st century skills. For instance, organizations are using Dropbox and Box for file storage and sharing, Twitter and Facebook to connect with customers, and Google Docs and Analytics to run their businesses. These tools serve essential functions but they can only improve productivity with the right training.
A recent study by Deloitte, a consultancy, states that the rapid pace of technological change in the workplace is leading to a skills half-life of only 2.5 years. Organizations are failing to adapt their training programs quickly enough.
Indeed, policymakers are waking up to the fact that digital skills are key to competitive advantage in the global knowledge economy. Governments all around the world, from Canada, to the UK and European Union, and all the way to New Zealand, have recognized the challenge. Government policy, though, is only likely to be able to have an impact through the education system in the long term and it is individuals and firms that must look to fill the gap that exists today.
"To be innovative and competitive in today’s global digital economy, organizations have little choice but to invest in information and communication technologies (ICT). However, without the proper skills to put these technologies to effective use, firms are at significant risk of wasting their investments and missing key opportunities for growth and competitiveness." -European Commission/INSEAD
A study by IDC, a tech research company, suggests that time wasted due to inadequate digital skills adds up to 21% of total productivity for digital workers.
This implies that every year the digital skills gap drives an estimated $1.3 trillion loss in the US economy…
And for a firm with 1,000 employees this translates to an annual loss of ~$10 million on a compensation basis alone, based on an average annual wage of $50K.
"Digital offers the chance to drive sustained economic recovery [in the UK], but this will only be realized if we become a nation of digitally confident businesses with a digitally literate workforce... businesses [need to] invest in more training programs." - Ronan Dunne, Chief Executive of O2, a UK mobile telecom provider
Working with documents is the ability of employees to efficiently create and navigate digital documents using a business’s chosen set of programs.
Digital documents are the backbone of the modern workplace. They are the tools used to store data, conduct analysis and communicate ideas and outcomes within almost every business.
Failure to master working with documents can lead to time lost, poor communication and errors in analysis, all of which ultimately have a big impact on business profitability and outcomes.
Project collaboration & management is the ability of employees to get things done as a team.
Project collaboration & management has always been an integral part of the workplace. Increasingly employees are required to collaborate on projects both across departments and with colleagues working remotely, both in other offices and working from home.
In today’s workplace team members are required to exercise traditional business competencies alongside technical skills to achieve the desired outcomes.
The Internet and the range of technological developments that characterize the information age have brought a new set of challenges. Today we are bombarded with stimuli from all directions with multiple devices, apps and information services all demanding our attention.
Managing our time and attention has therefore become an essential skill. Failure to do so affects our ability to get things done as distractions take their toll on productivity. Equally important is the ability to identify priorities.
There are a range of programs to assist with attention management but without the right training these programs can become part of the problem rather than the solution.
Communication skills are required to time-efficiently manage inbound and outbound communication, and to be able to clearly and effectively relay the desired information.
According to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute, which uses proprietary data from McKinsey as well as from the International Data Corporation, we spend 28% of our workweeks reading, writing or responding to email. Even modest efficiency gains would free up substantial resources for other tasks.
Timely and effective digital communication with customers is now an essential part of quality customer experience. Firms placing insufficient emphasis on providing the necessary skills in this area risk driving away repeat business.
Digital etiquette, sometimes referred to as ‘netiquette’, is the dos and don’ts of online communication. Netiquette covers both common courtesy online and the informal “rules of the road” of cyberspace.
An increasing proportion of workplace and customer service is conducted online. As social media continues to grow it is essential that organizations maintain multiple social media platforms.
It is integral that organizations understand the risks and train their staff appropriately, as mistakes and inadequate control can have a very damaging impact.
Search & research skills are those required to effectively harness the wealth of digital information available both online and via a company’s internal databases.
Today we face both the challenge of information overload and the challenge of quickly retrieving information. Without the skills to effectively tap into the relevant information the quality of outcomes will deteriorate.
Lack of understanding on how to use research tools, and employees failing to recognize the most relevant data, have an impact on the quality of business outcomes.
Platform flexibility skills are the skills required to be comfortable using the growing range of devices, operating systems and platforms integral to modern business.
The variety of hardware and software used by business has never been greater. Microsoft is no longer the dominant player in business software, with new cloud-based solutions that rival Microsoft Office. Smartphones and tablets have transformed the hardware landscape.
Failure of employees to adapt leads to time lost from compatibility issues and the inability to leverage the tools available.
Managing security and privacy is the control of access to proprietary data and company IP.
Security threats to business are increasingly sophisticated and the impact from breaches are increasingly severe. However, a majority of breaches continue to happen as a result of human error.
A lack of training in security and privacy awareness is costing businesses worldwide from a wide variety of sources. For example, time is lost repairing computers affected by viruses, proprietary data is leaked to competitors and, in severe cases, reputational damage results in lost customers.
Grovo teaches Internet and modern professional skills with 60-second videos. The videos follow Grovo's proprietary microlearning methodology and are delivered in a beautiful and effective training platform. With more than 4,500 video lessons and assessments covering 150 Internet tools, cloud services, and professional topics, Grovo makes it easy to learn the critical digital skills needed to succeed in today's world.
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