Digital dexterity refers to the ability of the human resource in a business to adapt to existing and new technology. It’s an essential element in the process of successful implementation of digital solutions in an organization. Without digital dexterity, an enterprise can not fully maximize the value of technology.
The pandemic-induced uncertainties have reduced the employees’ ability to absorb change at a time when change is happening rapidly and continuously everywhere. Therefore, in 2022 and beyond, business leaders need to focus on improving their digital dexterity to avoid employee pushback and ensure seamless digital transformation.
This article explores 3 ways of improving digital dexterity in a business for a successful implementation of digital technologies.
1. Understand the type of users
The initial step of improving your digital dexterity is to obtain a clear understanding of the types of technology users in your organization. Gartner identified 5 types of employees in a business that have different styles of using technology (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. Five types of digital users in a business
Before making any efforts towards improving your digital dexterity, business leaders need to understand their employees and know the attributes and styles of using digital technology of these 5 types to more accurately target their efforts.
This knowledge can be obtained by doing online surveys in organizations with a large workforce. Small and medium-sized businesses can also conduct one-on-one interviews.
2. Adopt a digital mindset
Having a digital mindset is an essential element in a digital dexterity strategy. Business leaders need to understand how important digital solutions are for them, and they need to transfer this understanding across the organization.
The digital mindset of the leadership
An organization must start applying the digital mindset from top to bottom. If the leadership understands the importance of digital it will become easier to spread it across the organizational network. Hiring a chief digital officer (CDO) can be a step towards this goal.
However, it is also vital for CDOs to have a clear understanding of what is required from their roles. In the current business environment, CDO’s are required to even rebuild business models while working collaboratively with the C-suite. Having a competent CDO working with the other C-suite can help an organization achieve a digital mindset.
Appointing digital translators can also be an effective way of improving leadership’s digital mindset. A company can identify and appoint an employee with the relevant digital skills to help the leadership during digital initiatives and projects.
The digital mindset of the employees
Another way of achieving a digital mindset is to effectively convey the value of digital dexterity to the employees. If business leaders only focus on the digital business goals, employees can sometimes fail to see the value of adopting digital skills. Employers should show the employees how upgrading their skills can benefit their careers. This will give the employees personal motivation to train themselves, resulting in an overall better business dexterity.
3. Reskill and upskill the workforce
The skills required for a job are continuously changing. According to a recent Gartner survey, 33% of job skills that were required for an average job in 2017 were not needed in 2021. This change will continue under the uncertainty of the post-pandemic world. Additionally, the digital skill shortage problem will be a prominent challenge for businesses and industries in 2022 and beyond.
An effective way of mitigating this issue is reskilling the existing workforce. Once the employees adopt a digital mindset and understand that learning new digital skills is in their best interest, employers can initiate digital training programs to harness this motivation. However, it is important to ensure that the training and reskilling initiatives are tailored to the specific needs of employees.
The following video by BCG explains the importance of digital dexterity and how businesses should approach it.
PwC provides a framework for successfully upskilling your employees (see Figure 2):
Figure 2. PWC’s employee upskilling framework
- Set a clear direction: The leaders of an organization need to ensure that the goals and objectives of the upskilling initiatives align with the company’s digital strategy and vision.
- Identify skill gaps: Scan the organization through surveys and meetings to identify the existing skill gaps and prioritize those skills according to the digital strategy.
- Upskilling and reskilling: Provide training and development opportunities for employees to develop their digital skills. For example; employers can create an internal marketplace where all employees can exchange or barter digital skills.
- Build a culture: Create a culture that encourages learning. This will reduce employee pushback and hesitation towards upskilling.
- Provide time, energy, and space to learn: As employees come back to offices, they require time to adjust and get up-to-speed. Employers should consider the well-being of the employees before starting any upskilling or training programs.
- Track and measure: Measuring the results of training initiatives is also important. Employers can do this by creating metrics that include financial results, business performance, employee retention, and attraction.
Harvard Business Review (HBR) also provides 4 effective strategies of upskilling and reskilling employees(see Figure 3).
Figure 3. 4 strategies of reskilling and upskilling the workforce
- Focusing on skills: Measuring the results of reskilling programs is important, employers also need to consider reskilling as a process, which will never have an end since technology keeps changing and so do the required skills to use it. Focusing on skills can also help organizations to show their commitment to their employees, enhance social responsibility through its emphasis on inclusivity, address skill shortage issues faced by many industries and finally improve continuous work performance.
- Knowledge sharing: Every person has a different learning style and needs, therefore reskilling programs need to be focused and specific to every employee. Through applications based on microlearning, employers can provide training material to employees on a needs basis. Employees can also add learning material to these applications to create a knowledge-sharing environment. This way of reskilling can provide job-specific knowledge that can be directly applicable.
- Offering Apprenticeships: This can also be an effective way of giving practical learning experiences to employees.
- School partnerships: Collaborating with schools and universities can also be an effective way of bridging the skill gap. This can provide the company with specific skills and at the same time give students the opportunity to gain relevant experience.
To accelerate your digital transformation process, check out:
- Digital Transformation Frameworks from Top Consulting Firms
- Top 7 Digital Transformation Best Practices for the Organizations
- Digital Transformation in different sectors
- Digital Transformation Case Studies and Success Stories
You can also check our sortable/filterable list of digital transformation consulting companies to find the fit that best suits your business needs.
If you have questions about digital transformation challenges, let us know:
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