What’s the biggest learning challenge in your organization? Many training teams will say digital transformation, as technology has changed the way that every business is run. In today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world, your employees need new skills and capabilities if your organization is to survive and prosper.

A digital workplace will need both hard and soft digital skills. Hard technical skills will be required in new and leading-edge roles such as data architects, data scientists, artificial intelligence experts and cognitive technologists. However, almost every employee now needs a range of complementary soft skills, capabilities and behaviors if he or she is to flourish in a digital workplace. These skills include the ability to perform tasks, manage information, share knowledge, interact with others, solve problems and work in an agile way. The key competencies that underpin these skills include a willingness to learn, an openness to change, agility and flexibility, curiosity, and resilience. The responsibility of L&D is to shift the mindsets and skills of employees so they can engage with and confidently deploy digital technologies and practices in their everyday working lives.

One challenge, according to a study by Capgemini and LinkedIn, is that nearly half of today’s digital talent (45 percent) describe their employers’ development programs as “useless and boring.” Clearly, there’s a need for blended programs, including e-learning and distance learning, which will excite and engage employees – and help them to embed their learning.

If you are training people to be adept in a digital world, it makes sense to use digital learning resources to do so. For example, you can mirror the requirements of the workplace by using virtual workshops to teach the skills that are needed for virtual teamworking. E-learning and distance learning resources offer a practical and relevant solution when it comes to learning the required skills. Your employees can learn digital skills by learning through digital media. In other words, the learning message is reinforced by the learning approach.

Your digital training and development interventions should help your leaders, managers and individuals to:

  • Understand what digital working means and why it’s important
  • Develop a digital mindset, which will stimulate innovation and learning
  • Continuously improve and cope with ambiguity and constant change
  • Question the status quo and look for new opportunities
  • Collaborate with and empower others to solve emerging problems
  • Adapt quickly and make adjustments when faced with new situations

Online learning can help training teams upskill employees quickly and effectively and support them at their point of need. However, to achieve successful digital transformation, your organization’s mission must emphasize that digital skills are critical at all levels. When an organization has established clear and definitive goals, it can develop agile work processes and practices to support digital working and assign resources to accomplish the mission.

Digital working involves the ability to quickly realign priorities and actions and alter work practices. It’s about empowering people, breaking down barriers, collaborating in self-organizing teams, welcoming diverse ideas, encouraging mistakes, proactively making improvements and interpreting customer needs. To facilitate agile work practices, you may need to redesign certain aspects, such as job descriptions, recruitment practices (to hire “trainable” individuals), reward packages and performance management processes.

Interestingly, Capgemini and LinkedIn’s study also revealed that 55 percent of digital talent would leave their organization if they felt their digital skills were stagnating, and 47 percent would move to an employer that offered better digital skills development. In other words, providing robust digital development will not only help you to retain your talent, but it will also enhance your employer brand and position your organization as a more attractive environment for skilled digital workers.

If you’re unable to bridge the digital skills gaps in your workforce, your organization’s future is in jeopardy, because it won’t be able to respond quickly or appropriately enough to compete. Nurturing and developing digital skills is particularly important if you want to unleash innovation and free people to think differently, so they can respond more effectively to customer needs. Developing the necessary hard and soft digital skills in your organization will not only enhance your employer brand, but it can significantly enhance productivity, engagement, innovation and customer satisfaction.

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