1. Determine clear digital workforce goals
Identify the tangible business benefits you expect to achieve through your digital upskilling investments. Understanding the endgame is your first priority because it will determine how you channel and focus your investments.
2. Tell a compelling story about the value of digital upskilling
Clearly articulating that leadership has bought in to the transformation, as well as the purpose and plans for implementing it, are critical to success. Whatever their respective roles, employees need to feel that they are part of a collective journey. When they fully grasp what’s in it for them, a culture of digital curiosity, self-learning and innovation should follow.
3. Start with a focused launch
Most firms select a limited segment of the workforce (not necessarily limited by seniority, demographics and other common traits) to pilot digital upskilling initiatives. This agile approach allows for the dynamic revision of strategy over time.
4. Connect the program with the rest of the organization
A digital upskilling program should not exist in a silo. It’s critical to connect the effort link with existing learning and development and talent programs. It should be inclusive" and closely related to how you a) reward and recognize people, b) manage their performance, c) on-board new employees and d) move employees to new positions in an organization.
To promote these linkages, a citizen-led approach can provide the entire workforce with opt-in opportunities to build new skills, augment existing skills and apply what they’ve learned in their day-to-day roles. Encouraging micro-solutions that end-users develop can inspire and empower people, and gamification principles can incentivize people to join in.
5. Prepare for headwinds
Prepare for concerns people may have, such as fears of automation and job losses and potential alienation among employees in traditionally non-tech roles. Position your initiative as an investment that the organization is making in its people and their future. Design an inclusive digital workforce strategy, in which all employees are given equal access to digital upskilling opportunities, and customize upskilling programs so that they offer immersive support to anyone who needs it.
6. Measure your progress to drive sustainable results
There is a risk that employees will perceive digital upskilling as a passing fad. To mitigate this possibility, a digital workforce strategy must extend beyond learning and development and influence culture and ways of working. Put simply, digital curiosity must become part of the firm’s DNA. Regular, mandatory, baseline training requirements are a good way to get people used to new ways of working and actively immersed in them.