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3 Effective Ways to Improve Your Team’s Digital Literacy

As any experienced manager knows, a team with low digital literacy can be a very frustrating experience. Workflows can be impeded, projects delayed, and many mistakes might be made because of a lack of understanding.
Daniel Zacharias

Code Power Team

February 5, 2024

Imagine this: you’re about to have your 3rd Zoom call with a team member who doesn’t understand how they’re using the wrong file format. Perhaps something similar has happened to you, and you didn’t even have to imagine it.

As any experienced manager knows, a team with low digital literacy can be a very frustrating experience. Workflows can be impeded, projects delayed, and many mistakes might be made because of a lack of understanding.

In this article, I will explain how you can lead your team toward a rich understanding of computers, social media, technology, and the digital world. Let’s get started!

What the statistics tell us

According to the National Skills Coalition, 92% of jobs today require digital skills. However, previous research by the NSC also finds that a third of workers either have low or absolutely no digital skills.

That’s a frightening reality!

This issue is becoming known as the digital divide. And it has to be dealt with, or a lot of the workforce will be unable to cope in this digital age.

So, how can we address it? Here are some ideas on how you can help your team develop their digital skills. 

1. Offer in-house training

One of the first ways to encourage digital literacy within your team is to offer in-house training. 

The benefits of this over using an external provider are:

  • reduced costs.
  • relationship building through training.
  • you can attend to each team member as individuals. 

I understand that not everyone has the time or resources to do this. However, for those who do, here’s how I suggest you conduct your training.

(a) Assess company goals 

Consider both:

(1) what you need team members to know

(2) what you want them to know 

The latter may reflect plans, such as intentions to incorporate artificial intelligence into the business processes or even to integrate a CRM platform such as Hubspot.

Some team members may have the educational qualifications and experience, for instance, but may nevertheless be unequipped for their roles as they’re uncomfortable working primarily online, while that’s how your business operates. 

(b) Start with the basics: individualized training 

You’d be surprised how many people don’t even know how to create an Excel spreadsheet, let alone operate your content management system.

Spending one-on-one time with team members is important to address these not-so-visible problems.

This may mean scheduling video calls or in-office meetings. Either way, these problems need to be addressed. But remember that staff may feel ashamed about not knowing these things. And this feeling has only compounded over the years.

Creating a safe space where they can share where they may need help is vital, even if it means showing them how to change the format of a Microsoft Office document!

(c) Offer helpful resources such as explainer videos and articles 

After everyone is on the same page, you can address everyone collectively. To do this efficiently, I suggest creating resources that they can revisit whenever they need help with how to do something.

For example, suppose you’re trying to train team members on using the email add-ons you’ve incorporated into the business email address. In that case, you can create a short video explaining just this.

2. Partner up with an online or local college

An alternative to in-house training is to find an external technical training college in your area. Or you could partner with an accredited online tertiary institution that can train the people in your organization.

Although this is more expensive, the advantage is that these courses are likely accredited and beneficial to your team members personally. They also likely offer more in-depth training than you can personally provide. 

Here’s a tip: inquire whether discounts are given for large or medium-sized corporate sign-ups to any of their courses.

Some standard educational programs that may be on offer include:

  • Introduction to PC: this might include how to operate Windows, Microsoft Office, and a module on understanding internet security. 
  • SEO basics: in this, you can expect an introduction to how to do keyword research. They’ll also likely cover on and off-page SEO. You might also find an explanation of some common technical SEO concepts. 
  • Data capturing: this typically includes keyboarding essentials, typing speed development, spreadsheets, and office practice. 
  • Marketing essentials: this might include a crash course on social media platforms and conducting audience research. The course may also explore how to interpret social media analytics. 

Of course, there may be many more courses available and variations of the above. 

Make sure to match your organizational needs and how those fit into an educational program. 

Remember that most people will be grateful for the opportunity to learn something out of their own personal costs. While you may encounter some resistance, it’s essential to assert the importance of this further education and training to your team. 

3. Encourage lifelong learning & development 

That brings me to my next point: encouraging lifelong learning & development.

Many businesses stagnate because they’re not encouraging their team members to grow. Many talented people also leave because of this very reason.

You can improve your team’s digital literacy by being more engaged with them during the day. If you see something interesting about a recent development in social media strategy, share it with your team.

Perhaps you even read an article about AI in the workplace on your lunch break. Sharing this with your team will encourage them to think outside their immediate work environment, promote conversation, and stimulate creative thinking. 

Albert Einstein once said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

What I get from that is that stimulating a more freeing, intellectually engaging, and interactive work environment will lead to a team that is generally more skillful. Encourage the people in your team to experiment and learn new things. 

For this purpose, mainly focus on stimulating conversation about technology and the digital world. Get employees interested. Help them become students again.

Foster an attitude of proactivity

Most of all, the responsibility lies with you as the team leader. Develop a proactive mindset and one that’s ready to “get things done.” This will help you identify your team’s weak points (digitally speaking) and attend to them accordingly.

And remember, if you don’t have the time, many educational institutions are looking for business partners. This is not only good business for them financially but also good PR overall. I wish you the best of luck!

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