Fortunately, there are many ways businesses can encourage and sustain digital fluency in the workplace. According to the NSC report, companies should make a clear distinction between foundational digital literacy—that is, the baseline skill set that workers must have for the industry in which they work or for the job that they perform—and occupational digital literacy, which concerns the specific technology-related skills they need to carry out their job responsibilities.
The NSC recommends that companies include occupational digital literacy skills as part of their overall technical skills training for specific occupations rather than treat them as standalone or isolated skills to be developed through separate training sessions. It also can be more beneficial to assist employees with developing skills that are industry-specific and transferable rather than focusing solely on the skills needed to use individual proprietary systems. Sector partnerships are also a successful strategy for accomplishing this goal. Through these partnerships, multiple employers within a single industry can come together to identify shared talent needs and co-create a plan for upskilling workers into specific occupations.
Businesses should also adopt a supportive stance when fostering digital fluency in the workplace. Workers that lack sufficient digital skills often spend considerable time and energy manually compensating for their skill gaps, which no doubt impacts both their productivity and their level of job satisfaction. It could even affect how they perceive their value to the company, making them wonder about their prospects for long-term employment as the pace of digital transformation accelerates.
With this in mind, businesses should consider creating upskilling opportunities that are responsive to employees' needs and that accentuate how training can solve an employee’s pain points, rather than unduly calling attention to digital skills they currently might lack. For example, if your business is in an industry where mobile and remote working wasn’t common before the pandemic, it might be worthwhile asking for employee feedback on the key challenges they have encountered in these areas and how those challenges affected their ability to do their work. From there, your business can make sure technical skills training specifically addresses those challenges so that your employees can become more confident using technology in their roles.