Is Your Team Digital Ready?

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic spread, it sent many workers into quarantine and self-isolation. Organizations found digital competency was crucial to keeping businesses operations on track.

Whether it is customer service representatives or school teachers who suddenly have to provide online classes for students, the focus on who has the ability to function in a digital environment has never been more acute.

According to Skillsoft, a leader in global learning, between 2002 and 2016, 48% of jobs that once required a low degree of digital proficiency changed to require proficiency in both productivity and collaboration tools. Skillsoft found that 82% of middle-skill jobs (jobs that require more than a high school diploma but less than a college degree) now require digital skills in productivity and collaboration tools.

The pandemic forced companies to pivot and find creative ways to provide products and services online. Restaurants and fast food establishments have doubled down on using delivery services to stay connected with customers, most of which use mobile apps. Gyms switched to providing online classes that members can stream into their home. And nonprofit groups are reaching members in greater numbers with webinars and virtual conferencing.

But not every business was ready. Some owners struggled to stay connected with customers – something that can be a challenge if they do not have an email list or if team members do not know how to use basic digital communication, productivity or collaboration tools effectively. Being able to use digital tools are essential to connecting consistently with customers which, in turn, drives profitability.

Skillsoft says that employees should be proficient in the right technical skills, have the ability to analyze and evaluate the information they find, use it to solve problems and build shared knowledge, and acquire the digital citizenship skills to interact with others responsibly.

How do you know if your team is ready? Here are some steps you can take to determine if you’re ready and what you need to do to get up to speed.

Assess Your Organization’s Digital Knowledge

Take stock of your organization’s workflow and look for places where technology touches your customers. Do you reach out to them via email? If so, what platform do you use and who in your organization can create and publish those emails in a fashion consistent with your brand?

If you do videoconferencing, check to ensure your plan accommodates the number of customers or clients you need to reach at any single given time. Do you and your team know how to set up an online video conference, share a presentation screen, chat with participants, turn control of a session over to another presenter?

Productivity apps like Basecamp, Asana, Trello, Slack and Flock are used often in companies. Does each team member know how to login and find the information they need quickly?

If your company has a platform that is integrated with vendor’s systems, do your employees know how it works, how to troubleshoot and who to contact if something goes wrong?

Internally, your employees should know how to use email and your company’s communication portals including the intranet, human resources and project management tools like Sharepoint.

And if you have a dedicated IT team that manages your computer network, do your employees know how to access the help desk if they have a problem. Is there a dedicated contact person they should speak with? If a customer or client has difficulty accessing your website or their online account information, do your employees know how to help them get what they need?

Make sure they know how to use their computers and any peripherals. They should be able to login, change their passwords, if necessary and be knowledgeable about privacy and security.

Re-educate and Upskill

If you are finding your team needs education or a refresher course on how to use your organization’s digital tools, now is the time to get everyone up to speed and on the same page. Software programs change periodically requiring team members update their skills.

Set up online training through your human resources department or ask your vendors to provide tutorials on their product. Ensure every employee completes training and set up a schedule to refresh and update their skills annually.

Smaller companies with modest budgets can access online learning through platforms like Lynda, Skillshare and through local universities or colleges. Owners can also reach out to a digital agency than can also do one-on-one or team training.

Transform Company Culture

Leaders need to communicate to its workforce that digital transformation is both necessary and beneficial. Clear communication eliminates fear among workers of learning new skills. It can also demonstrate how effective use of digital tools can streamline workflow and reduce work load. It also provides the opportunity to make remote workers feel less disconnected from the organization.

Take the Momentum and Run

Once your team has refined its digital knowledge, keep the momentum going with annual training. Technology changes often and making certain workers know what those changes are will benefit your organization’s bottom line. Once the social distancing directives are over, ensure that your team attends conferences and workshops to keep their skills sharp.

Maintain a wiki that details all aspects of your digital operations – from how employees log in to their computers to a style guide for creating and sending email campaigns.