The advent of new technologies has disrupted every aspect of a business. From simple automation to sophisticated AI technologies, Big Data, and the Internet of Things, the so-called digital transformation is impacting every industry and sector. The challenge for business leaders lies in keeping up with the changes and ensuring that their workforce is equipped with the necessary skill sets that the evolving digital age demands.

The digital skills gap is a substantial problem for businesses and it’s becoming a deciding factor over who gains competitive advantage and who’s left behind. There’s only one solution – implementing training to upskill employees and help them become digitally savvy. In order to help you do this properly and sustainably, we’ve rounded up the most important factors and tips for developing a digital transformation strategy.

Identify skills gaps and establish a strategy

Without a thoroughly thought-out strategy in place, you’ll fall into the trap of approaching digital transformation in an ad-hoc way. That comes down to patching up individual improvements without any direction, in hopes of piecing together the bigger picture.

But you can see why this approach isn’t tenable – upskilling your employees and preparing them for success in the digital age requires a holistic framework and a planned process.

The basis of a sustainable strategy for digital transformation will be identifying the technologies in which your organization needs to educate itself. Now, there are endless opportunities out there and you obviously can’t tackle all the demands at once. You’ll need to have a look into current industry trends and the technologies that can help you drive growth, so make sure to include all the relevant people in the decision-making process – especially the people and teams working closest to the customer.

Develop your strategy around long-term goals and the most pressing technological areas that your business needs to address. The best way to do this is by running an audit to objectively identify the technological skills gaps within your organization. It all depends on your business and industry, but generally speaking, you can expect to find that hiring isn’t filling the needed roles in areas such as digital marketing, product development, and IT.

Build a training program

Once you’ve identified the possible technological solutions and the skills gaps in your organization, you’ll need to implement training programs to put your digital transformation strategy in motion.

It’s incredibly difficult and thus logistically impractical to try to upskill everyone at the same time, so try an approach where you work with a target group first. This will help introduce new skills to your operations in a more organized way, helping you identify prospective problems before you start training the rest of the company.

This target group is best comprised of the more digital-savvy employees and those who are already highly engaged with your business goals. Identify the employees that would be most responsive to your strategy implementation – people who have already demonstrated dedication to your company’s growth and those who are keen to improve their skill set.

Also, make sure to use your digital strategy goals as a primary guide when hiring new employees. You don’t necessarily have to hire someone with the skill set that you’re trying to teach your employees. Although that would be helpful, it’s more important that new hires are digitally oriented, eager to be an integral part of the transformation process, and capable of working with others to help roll out the process more easily. Get the managers and team leaders to help you find the new and existing employees who’ll be in the first training batch and help with onboarding new skills.

Ideally, this group will be the driver of digital transformation. They will upskill themselves with the company’s help and then train others, or in the least influence them positively and provide encouragement.

Make training an ongoing process

As new technologies emerge and shape industries, digital transformation shouldn’t be regarded as a means to an end – but rather, a continuously evolving process. As your company makes progress and skill sets evolve, you’ll face new obstacles and challenges. That’s why it’s important to develop a comprehensive strategy, one that looks to long-term goals and suggests streamlined processes of implementing new skills in the future. Observe your digital transformation as an organic document that’s aligned with the evolving goals of your organization. It serves to help everybody understand the goals of your company and the steps you’re taking to prepare your employees to get there.

With a strong foundation and a trusted strategy in place, you can make training an ongoing process for every key role within the company. Build your own online training program which will help employees learn at their own speed. Online learning centers are especially useful because they help you adopt a systematic approach to company-wide skill building. This includes measuring and tracking progress so that you can visualize the impact of your efforts on operational improvements and larger business goals. That being said, make sure you have a well-established idea of what success looks like, both for the training programs and your organization as a whole.

Key takeaway

Whichever new technologies you might be dealing with, it’s important to keep in mind that your employees are the force that puts into motion your entire company’s transformation. That’s why it’s important to take your time developing a systematic approach and developing strategies that reflect the different ways people learn. Lastly, make sure you’re prioritizing well and investing in technologies that have a practical use for your business rather than just investing for the sake of “going digital”. With a company-wide effort and a sense of purpose, your employees will be well-prepared for the coming technologies and eager to widen their skills.


Author Bio: Natasha is a web designer, lady of a keyboard and one hell of a tech geek. Natasha is always happy to collaborate with awesome blogs and share her knowledge about IT, digital marketing and technology trends. To see what she is up to next, check out her Twitter Dashboard.