Closing the Digital Skills Gap with Skill Development

Closing the Digital Skills Gap with Skill Development

In Social Media Strategyby Daniel NewmanLeave a Comment

You may be in the process of preparing for digital transformation in your business or you’re in the thick of it. You might be running the numbers, looking into software and reading every article about the tech changes to come this year. However, it all may be in vain if you don’t take the time to prepare your employees and develop their skills.

According to a recent study conducted by Technical University Munich, a whopping 64% of companies surveyed stated they do not have the employees with the skill set necessary for digital transformation. And only 16% of companies have a strategy in place for development, such as training for a higher level of skill or hiring the skill they require. Those numbers have to change.

The problem? As digital transformation closes in on businesses around the globe, companies are struggling to implement the tools and security required to remain competitive, without these skillsets. To stay competitive, it is crucial that you close the digital skills gap with skills development.

Implement a Strategy

The only way to know whether your business is on the right track is to implement a digital transformation strategy to serve as your roadmap throughout the process. Define each step in the transformation and identify the skills that your employees will need to achieve the step. This will give you something to measure your skillsets with to ensure you are moving towards your goals.

SAP developed a “maturity model” with the European Research Center for Information Systems to help companies define their strategy for skill development and to reinforce the fact that learning is critical to business growth—definitely something you should look into.

What’s Your Level?

This model outlines maturity levels that an organization can reach in its road to digital skills development. There are five levels that can range from non-existent to completely optimized for digital transformation. It is critical to use this “timeline” to map where your company falls in comparison to the highest level of preparedness.

For each level, you will find a set of “enablers” to define what the culture should look like within your business to further the positive attitude and outlook towards digital transformation. Each level will also have a separate learning architecture based on skill management, learning experience, absorptive capacity and learning measurement. Let’s list in detail:

  • Skill management – Helps to identify and close current skill gaps
  • Learning experience – Identifies preferred learning styles of your employees (e-learning, self-learning, etc.)
  • Absorptive capacity – Using external innovations and cross-pollination with other organizations
  • Learning measurement – Helps to identify the business impact of learning

Create Your Skills Development Map

Each maturity level brings your company closer to ultimate preparedness for the transformation to come. Creating a skills development map to add to your strategy will define your needs, goals, and steps. There are three main steps to take and communicate with your company.

  • Analysis. Take the time to thoroughly analyze your current state or level of preparedness. What are your skills gaps? What department is lacking the most? Do you have the skillset required to use big data? What about artificial intelligence? It is important to define your skill gaps and holes where talent is required for maturity.
  • Achieve. When it comes to the levels of maturity, which level do you wish to see your organization reach? This goal will ultimately help you draw up a game plan, complete with goals for your company to reach and celebrate along the way. A strategy without goals is a plan – and plans change. Set in stone where your company needs to be and how to get there.
  • Act. Although you may not have reached the maturity level your company needs to be in, it is time to act as if you have. You should work to adapt your company to the maturity level by creating ways to control success, guide the initiatives and define the activities that will help your company to act its age.

A skills development map should be determined and frequently visited to discuss what is working and what isn’t. If changes need to be made, they should be made in haste, instead of later when the time is short. Ultimately, preparation is key for the entirety of the digital transformation. Although time-consuming, strategizing is the way to ensure your company is up to par and remaining as competitive as possible for the future.

Are We Doing Enough?

Not yet. According to Capgemini, “54% of the 1,200 global respondents believed the digital talent gap is hampering digital transformation and competitiveness in their firms.” Any gap in skill during the digital transformation has the potential to be dangerous for your bottom line.

And recent studies completed by Cap and Boston Consulting Group found that 77% of more than 800 executives believe that the lack of digital skill is the primary obstacle to their ability to digitally transform. With these numbers, it is safe to say that the skills gap must be closed.

Your company can succeed with a strategy and a willingness to learn. With more than enough ways to strategize and remove the skills gap obstacle, what is your business waiting for?

This post originally appeared at Future of Work.

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