How To Boost Digital Skills Through Learning & Development

The world of digital is dynamic and ever-changing. For a business to thrive in today's world, the ability to learn and adapt is essential to ensure ongoing success. Therefore, it's astounding that in the US and UK only 18% and 20% of organizations offer digital marketing training support to their employees.

According to a recent study from Deloitte, employees at all levels expect dynamic, self-directed, continuous learning opportunities from their employers. Surely this is reason enough to focus on both short-term professional qualifications and continual in-house training to maintain an ongoing standard of digital excellence? 

Essentially, offering high-level digital skills that enhance capabilities and knowledge of your workforce are essential to driving your company’s digital transformation. So, how do organizations go about doing just that?

Learning & Technology

Almost every CEO and CHRO reports that their companies are not developing skills fast enough. In today’s cutthroat global economy and incredibly competitive talent market, senior executives clearly understand that businesses that do not continually upgrade skills and develop strong leaders will not be able to execute their business plans. Learning is a vital tool for engaging employees, attracting and retaining top talent, as well as developing valuable long-term leaders.

Technology has reached a point where employees have access to valuable online learning opportunities anytime, anywhere. The emergence of mobile devices means that we have never been so connected and staff can take a course on nearly any subject online.

In addition, it's also possible to search for an educational video or listen to an industry specific podcast to grasp a new and urgently needed skill with ease, and even earn a professional digital qualification without the need to leave the desk or home workstation. The lines between the Learning and Development departments are becoming blurred as autonomy begins to reign supreme, and such a learning culture is where real progress can me made.

By harnessing the power of technology to offer ongoing training programs and online learning resources, you will not only retain the people that make your business tick, but you will help develop new talent that drives your business.

"Technology is the key to staff training that can help make this year the education year. So stop looking for the best talent and start growing it - " Jeff Haden, Best-Selling Ghostwriter, Speaker and LinkedIn influencer

The Rising Millennial Workforce

Millennials make up a significant part of today's workforce. Having grown up in the hyper-connected digital world, this generation, among other young employees, demand access to dynamic learning opportunities that fit their personal needs and schedules.

Reported to move jobs four times by th e age of 32, retaining young millennial talent requires personal development opportunities. Not only this but a self-directed and flexible learning program that includes digital skills will help attract the right talent to your business and instill a learning culture that encourages and empowers staff.

These ambitious youngsters expect this kind of self-directed learning as part of their working lives and careers - and they will go elsewhere if their employer fails to offer it. In fact, 30% of executives view learning as the primary driver of employee development.

As the Baby Boomer generation reaches the riper end of their working lives, businesses are fighting for new blood to replace them - but due to a severe lack of digital skills, competition is fierce to recruit the cream of the crop from the limited talent pools available to them. As a result, CEOs are becoming increasingly worried that they will soon be unable to find the talent that they will need to ensure long-term success, with a shortage of suitably skilled workers their single biggest problem.

Today's youth, chiefly millennials, desire something more than 'just a job, any old job', or a steady path up the corporate ranks. They want a role that feels worthwhile and as such, look for more than money when considering a position - they actually invest a lot of trust in company values.

In this digital age, even Millennials need investment and training as the results from our recent digital diagnostic shows, they had the lowest score of all age groups in entry level skills scoring only 38% in the US, 31% in the UK and 34% in Ireland. In addition, employees aged between 18 and 34 overall struggled most with analytics and reporting skills, compared to their older counterparts.

Learning & Culture

As work environments continue to evolve and develop in terms of mobility, flexibility, leadership advancement and performance management, learning is fast becoming one of the biggest factors to the culture of any organization.

In fact, according to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends, the need to revamp and improve employee learning is one of the top three priorities for organizations. This factor is not only a problem in terms of skills development but also one of motivation - and companies with high-performing learning environments rank in the top for employee engagement – demonstrating just how important learning is to engaging and empowering people.

It's plain to see that the best way to provide a prosperous future for your company lies with cultivation rather than acquisition. Today's employees are more tuned in than ever before, and while they understand that not every organization can pay over the odds, as mentioned, they are looking for opportunities to grow, learn, and build a solid career - and many don't understand why their employer fails to offer the resources to do so.

The world of work is changing fast, as are the attitudes of today's employees. Learning and personal development are possibly the most essential elements for survival and growth in the current competitive market, and to close the digital skills gap, and make sure it stays closed, businesses and organizations must invest in their staff - a failure to do so is almost unthinkable.

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Ian Dodson
Co-Founder @ Digital Marketing Institute