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Sep 17, 2020

Is Your Digital Literacy Sufficient to Remain Competitive?

by Hugues Foltz Executive vice-president

Digital transformation, Technology

The global crisis we’re currently going through has undoubtedly acted as an accelerator for the adoption of certain technologies and the initiation of ambitious projects for many companies.

Digital transformation, Industry 4.0, disruptive innovation, digitalization of processes, machine learning, automation and robotization… these are all terms and concepts that have become increasingly popular in companies of all kinds. The global crisis we’re currently going through has undoubtedly acted as an accelerator for the adoption of certain technologies and the initiation of ambitious projects for many companies. According to me, an important factor in the success of any transformation project – which is unfortunately too often put aside – is the adequate training of employees! That is why I decided to write this short article.

Employee training is crucial to many business objectives, but is it really used, and above all seen, as an important strategy in a digital transformation? I personally doubt it. In fact, we come across a lot of organizations that have no training plan for their workforce, even while they’re in the process of digitalizing their entire company.

Quite frankly, it is not surprising to see “lost” or frustrated employees within these companies.  More often than not, these are the same companies that make a U-turn because they have not invested enough in technology over the past 20 years, and which, like many others, urgently activate a drastic transformation plan. There is a term that was popularized a few years ago, that of "digital literacy", which refers to the level of knowledge and understanding of new technologies by people, and most specifically your employees.

The issue here is that new technologies are emerging at an astounding speed, and that the general population, including your employees, are not really interested in them. In other words, they are being subjected to technologies, but they are not able to use or take advantage of them. This is why digital literacy has become a real concern for many organizations, who notice the delay of their employees in the adoption of certain technologies.

My advice is therefore simple. Make sure you have a competent training partner to support you in the following major projects:

1.     Training your workforce before your digital transformation is crucial to ensure healthy adoption of the technologies you will implement.

2.     The digital literacy of your employees should be sufficient so that they understand at a minimum the origins and basic functioning of the technologies you plan to use.

3.     To ensure that you have internal experts (which is paramount!) to maintain the technologies you are considering, you must train them.

4.     Reassigning your employees to their new responsibilities will inevitably require training. Any digital project must include a job transformation component to support your workforce throughout the change.

In summary, designing an adequate training strategy for all stages of your transformation project and providing long-term support for your employees is essential. Technologies evolve at a breakneck speed, and keeping up with them can make all the difference and give you the edge you need over your competition to gain new markets. Of course, this is only possible if all your employees can understand the opportunity that is before them, which is simply not possible without sufficient digital literacy!