Digital transformation might be an over-used term but it does imply the profound changes to processes and ways of working which come with it. With any internal digital transformation in the enterprise, managing that change becomes a necessity. Part of that effort is about increasing confidence and capability in the use of digital tools, a collective upskilling which also helps to embed new ways of working.
Within digital projects there are various tactics to help manage change. One of these is to run a formal digital literacy programme which usually involves some training or coaching for employees on how to best use the digital tools on offer. Various global organisations have undertaken this in recent years. Based on some of the most successful ones, here are five essential ingredients of a modern enterprise digital literacy programme.
One: Visible senior management endorsement
It’s an obvious one, but having the visible support of leadership is key. It gives any digital literacy training legitimacy, encourages other senior managers to get involved and shows it is considered a strategic priority.
For example at Barclays Bank, the Digital Eagles programme originally started as an internal initiative to get branch staff more familiar with digital technologies, but later transformed into an external customer-facing initiative. It has now morphed again to be a community-led initiative, for example to help children to learn to code.
In the creation of the Digital Eagles the support of Ashok Vaswani, CEO Corporate and Personal Banking, has been very important. To show his support he even spent a day learning how to code himself and was able to help build a lending app which was shown in a video at a digital conference. This kind of explicit hands-on endorsement is great for encouraging others to get involved.
Two: Taking a decentralised approach by using advocate networks
Organisations have a strange habit of pouring a great deal of money into digital projects and then providing threadbare support once going into the “business as usual” phase. This is particularly true for resourcing where central teams may only have two or even one person dedicated to running a programme for hundreds of thousands of employees.
Of course in a global organisation it’s a necessity to take on a decentralised approach to running a digital literacy programme to have any impact at all. One element of this will be having a self-service site with resources where users can watch videos, get user guides, access e-learning or even ask a question.
A second key element is to rely on a network of internal advocates, champions or super-users to help run your digital literacy programme. These volunteers act as trainers, local experts, coaches and champions and usually find their reward through the recognition, networking and variety of opportunity which comes with the role. These volunteers are particularly important for organisations where there is zero chance of visiting every location to carry out face to face coaching.
A great example of using an internal advocate network is at PwC when rolling out their Jive platform called Spark. The sheer energy of the advocates helped drive adoption, confidence and best use of PwC’s enterprise social network to make it a successful and impactful platform.
Three: Focus on real scenarios
Everybody understands, and usually buys into, the value of concepts like ‘sharing knowledge’ and ‘collaboration’ and using digital tools for ‘process improvement’. There is no harm in presenting these as healthy generic behaviours but often the leap to actually applying these to everyday work processes is not always straightforward to users.
Similarly it’s also no good just talking about technology and how to use it. To demonstrate value and show good practices, organisations need to show tools in the context of real scenarios and everyday tasks such as organising meetings, finding experts, winning new clients and finding experts.
A good example of this approach is at Lundbeck, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Denmark. The company took various approaches to helping deliver digital workplace training, one of which was a smarter working site. This presented very specific topic-based training, for example on controlling your inbox. Everything was also presented in the context of a benefit of increased productivity, gaining 15 minutes back on your day.
Four: Use certification
As some digital literacy programmes mature, they formalise training so that users can be certified in aspects of digital skills as they pass through elements of the training. The certification usually comes in labels or badges which appear as a credential and recognise the effort of individuals. They can also be linked to the rights to carry out certain activities.
A great example of this is Ford, whose “Digital Worker” programme was one of the first digital literacy programmes. At Ford the team have created four levels of digital awareness based on which training a user has been passed . The highest of these is a “Digital Worker Driver” which allows the employee to be a digital coach themselves. Additionally German manufacturer Bosch has introduced formal levels of community management training within the company
Five: Use a little gamification
When used in the right way, gamification can be a powerful tactic to drive adoption in enterprise digital platforms. Although the positioning, communication and reward systems need to be handled with care, adding some gamified elements to the training or levels of certification within a digital literacy programme can reap dividends.
At Ford the four levels of digital awareness introduces some gamification already, but they also added extra features such as a team dashboard to view progress. Ford has achieved good levels of adoption.
Of course there are other important approaches such as targeting efforts which I have detailed over in a post for the Digital Workplace Group. Overall this is an area of growing importance which is emerging as a major theme in successful digital transformation and evolving digital workplaces.