There were a few major takeaways from workplace disruptions in 2020, but one thing became extremely clear: digital fluency is now top priority. Many organizations suddenly discovered in 2020 that their staff wasn’t ready to switch to offsite work. In 2021, many organizations are prioritizing digital adaptation. How can employers adapt to these new demands? Digital upskilling can help you get your employees ready for digital prioritization.
What is Digital Upskilling?
Digital upskilling is a term meaning the rapid demand for a proficient digital skillset in the workforce. Employees that are embracing their own personal digital skillset development have an advantage over those that have tried to remain in the status quo. The same is true at an organizational level. Manufacturing has been working towards digital upskilling in safety, production systems and automation for years. However, not all organizations and employees are at the same level.
Digital upskilling is the practice of ensuring your employees’ digital fluency. It’s not about singling out specific employees – it’s about training your team together so that everyone is at the same level of comfort with technology.
Digital upskilling is different from traditional upskilling – instead of honing existing technical skills, digital upskilling is about improving overall digital literacy. For example, in traditional upskilling you might train an employee how to operate a new machine. In digital upskilling, you might train an employee on how to use a contact management software.
How to Upskill Your Workforce
First, it’s not realistic to expect your entire time will learn at the same rate and style. It’s important to break off learning into bite-sized chunks instead of overwhelming your employees. Learning within the teams has to be accessible, easy and universal.
Smaller, shorter learning is much easier for all learning types and workloads across any teams and will be more exciting for the workforce. Focus on one system at a time. Depending on what software, tools and machines you use, many provide YouTube tutorials or other learning materials you can share with your staff. Include hands-on demonstrations as well and encourage your employees to practice when able.
Create a Support Network
Prioritize employee development and reward tech-mentorship relationships within the workforce. This development structure places importance on growth while also boosting the morale of the teams. There should be a clear person(s) spearheading education so that employees know who they can go to with any questions.
This does require a bit more work upfront, because you’ll have to ensure whoever is spearheading education is familiar with the technology themselves before you spread the knowledge. However, this saves time in the long run. It’s also important not to neglect upper management or CROs – they may not need to know every in-and-out of every system, but digital upskilling flows both ways. Your entire organization will ultimately be stronger if everyone shares a base level of technological literacy.
Learning and technology are never-ending pursuits. Establishing a continuous improvement approach to digital upskilling of individual teams but also the organization’s larger objectives will make the steps manageable and the tech more adaptable as it changes, or the goals do. One easy way to achieve this is by designating a specific time for continuous learning and education each month.
The benefit of digital upskilling your organization and your workforce is learning how to thrive in a digital manufacturing world and prepare for Industry 4.0 and other technological advancements. Employee engagement and morale are boosted when time is invested in their development, as well as saves time in the long run wasted on crash-course learning.
Support Your Workforce
One barrier to digital upskilling is that it takes employees away from their current task. Building and sustaining the tech stack within your workforce is much easier when you have support for your workers. Brining in temporary workers as support for current operations while employees are in training can keep things running smoothly.
Strom Minnesota is here to connect you with trained staff ready to meet new digital challenges and opportunities.
Looking to fill contract, temp or ready to hire positions? Download our brochure to see how Strom Minnesota can help you find qualified candidates to fill your open positions.
Strom Minnesota is an engineering and technical recruitment agency that specializes in high-skilled job candidates for highly technical positions. We facilitate contract employment, project staffing, temp-to-perm and direct hire opportunities. Industries served include IT, engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and manufacturing. We are affiliated with Strom Engineering, a national staffing and recruitment agency.