What is Your Business Doing to Close the Digital Skills Gap for Frontline Workers

Organisations that focus on closing the digital skills gap for frontline workers will reap the rewards…

Digital skills for frontline workers are an important component of their job competencies.

As the digitisation of workplace processes continues, digital skills for frontline workers come under the spotlight as being more important now than ever before. According to one source, there are four specific areas where the demand for digital skills is on the rise for those working in frontline industries:

The need to interact with and manage increased automation has increased for 81% of frontline workers.

  • Basic office software skills have increased in importance for nearly 80% of frontline workers.
  • Skills to communicate in a digital environment have become more critical for 87% of frontline workers.
  • Technology skills in the workplace have increased in importance for 88% of frontline workers.

Yet, the digital skills gap for frontline workers is such that many of these employees don’t have the requisite knowledge to effectively conduct their work or carry out important tasks.

The Digital Skills Gap for Frontline Workers

When given the opportunity to improve their digital skills training, frontline workers are able to upskill and benefit from technology, making them more productive. This typically means they are more able to effectively use systems that cater for:

  • Planning and organising – Prioritising work to manage time effectively and accomplish assigned tasks
  • Problem solving – Utilising digital tools to help solve workplace challenges
  • Decision making – Applying critical thinking skills with the aid of technological tools to solve problems encountered in the workplace
  • Business fundamentals – Possessing fundamental knowledge of the company and the industry
  • Customer focus – Actively look for ways to identify market demands and provide quick feedback on ways to meet customer demands
  • The use of appropriate technology – Selecting and using technology to facilitate work activity
  • Dynamic (self-) reskilling – Continuously develop individual knowledge and skills as a shared responsibility between employer and employee

It is predicted that by the end of this decade approximately 20% of the global workforce will have some sort of shortcoming in their digital skillset, which will impact employee productivity. From a workplace perspective it is difficult for many businesses to deal with this challenge.

In order to maintain production levels, many businesses resort to hiring people (undergoing additional costs) to fill an immediate need rather than assist workers who can be developed over the course of a career.

Workers also face challenges in this regard. Many find the prospect of training or retraining to be intimidating. It entails not only devoting time and effort to learn new skills, but also determining the best progression path.

Addressing the Digital Skills Gap: The Role of Education and Training

Recent research shows that one in three workers lack foundational digital skills. Furthermore, three in four workers lack the resources to learn the digital skills that will be needed for them to make contributions to the workplace of the future.

As businesses across a variety of industries recognise and embrace digital technology and the transformation it brings, increased pressure is placed on employees. Digital skills enable individuals to firstly perform tasks specific to their roles. Beyond this, it plays an important role in communication, problem solving, collaborating with others and building resilience in order to navigate digital environments.

Additionally, when frontline workers have good digital skills companies benefit from:

  • Enhanced frontline employee engagement – Paper-based employee engagement surveys go unanswered and unanalysed, and you can’t improve engagement if you don’t understand the challenges.
  • Improved business goal orientation – When workers are kept at a digital distance, they will naturally drift away from your company’s objectives and mission statement.
  • Better performance – Leveraging digital tools helps avoid worker burnout.

The development of frontline workers’ digital skills can take a number of formats and companies have a wide range of approaches open to them:

  • Developing basic digital skills – A key starting point is embracing basic digital skills across your company. This will help with future digital initiatives and make workers comfortable with the increased use of technology.
  • Broadening the range of online courses – Digital skills development that involves a work-based training component is often the most difficult aspect for companies to get right. Don’t shy away from this, there are ways to find impactful solutions for workers.
  • Mentoring systems – For the most part of their working day frontline workers are generally confronted with a fast moving and changing environment. The ability to check back with trainers or instructors with respect to the correct use of technology is therefore limited. Experienced and skilled colleagues who can act as mentors and have the ability to assist, can play an important part in bedding down digital skills acquisition.
  • Digital infrastructure – An obvious but often overlooked aspect. Making sure that workers will have access to digital technology in the workplace is a critical component of any successful digital upskilling initiative.

For companies that are committed to upskilling their employees there are multiple channels that can be explored to help prepare their workers for the future of work.

Our Solution

At Wyzetalk we understand that companies place a premium on employee engagement as it is the starting point for the ongoing development of a productive workforce.

Frontline employees have specific needs when it comes to the tools they require to improve their day-to-day work lives. A digital platform that connects them with the organisation and can provide a single platform for their development needs is therefore critical.

Our platform not only provides seamless communication and access to learning systems, but is accessible via mobile systems, thereby ensuring that the development and reinforcement of digital skill development is never out of reach for frontline workers.

It facilitates increased collaboration amongst workers, promotes knowledge sharing and reinforces the value of skills development. This unified approach of our platform allows for the gathering of insights, ultimately enabling business leaders to be well informed of the progress and success of training interventions in their company

Key Takeaways

The business world is an ever-evolving space where the advantages that technology provides cannot be ignored by companies that wish to remain competitive. In this environment it is critical for employees to ensure that their digital skills are current and relevant.

To ensure frontline workers are able to deliver their best in the workplace, companies need to utilise platform that enables them to provide employees not only with learning opportunities, but also the tools to succeed in the face of the rapidly changing digital demands of their work.

Companies that wish to empower their staff to confront the future with confidence and the necessary digital skills can talk to an expert.