Promoting Digital Literacy in the Workplace: Why it’s Important and How to Increase It
Seemingly overnight, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many in-office workers to become digital-savvy remote workers. This was easier done for some than others, but it highlighted the necessity of a digitally literate workforce.
Digital Literacy, or the skill and ability associated with using digital technologies, has long been important for individuals and businesses alike. Now, as technologies advance at greater and greater speeds, organizations have a responsibility to take a more active role in maintaining and advancing digital literacy beyond tech support professionals to members in all departments of the organization.
Why is it so important?
Improving digital literacy can reap benefits for individuals and the business as a whole.
The catchphrase of the last few years could have been “Pivot!” – as quickly as there are shifts in the global economic, political, and health, successful organizations must change at the same pace. When a workforce is digitally literate, they are much more capable of changing systems and workflows quickly, to keep up with whatever the business needs might be.
Cybercrime has become incredibly sophisticated and difficult to combat. It seems as soon as new technology grows to prominence, cybercriminals have already figured out ways to exploit it. Employees are often your first defense in defending an organization’s data and finances. Educating a workforce about tech security, common threats, and how to spot them is of the utmost importance.
3. Employee happiness
Change can be scary for any person, but this is especially true when the change feels like a threat to one’s livelihood. Unfortunately, that’s how some people view emerging technologies. However, when organizations invest in tech education for their employees, it shows them they care about them and want to keep them around. Additionally, through learning new technologies, employees can gain confidence in their own abilities, not to mention become more efficient workers.
How can you increase digital literacy?
Getting buy-in for continuing education can be difficult for any organization, but it is possible.
1. Understand your baseline
Before beginning any educational initiative, it is important to understand your current level of digital literacy. To do this, you can conduct surveys, quick tests, or ask for feedback. After getting a good understanding of your baseline, you can decide where to start expanding.
2. Provide and facilitate resources
Once you understand where the weak spots may be, you can start organizing resources for your employees. If the skills already exist within the organization, you can host skill-sharing meetings between employees. If not, LinkedIn Learning and Coursera are great resources for courses about many different technologies. Additionally, many software companies like Adobe or Salesforce host their own training you can utilize.
3. Solicit feedback
As with any new program, it is important to ask for feedback from your employees to see how their education is going. With this information, you can continue to tweak and improve your efforts to make sure everyone is getting the most out of their digital education.