The right employee training program is essential for the success of any digital transformation effort.
As many business professionals know, employee training helps employees stay proficient and productive in their jobs.
However, employee training becomes even more important in the digital age, when organizational change depends on organizations’ ability to implement new digital tools.
Below, we’ll learn about the role that employee training plays in digitally maturing organizations – plus, we’ll cover a few essential elements to help make employee programs more successful.
What Role Does an Employee Training Program Play in Digital Transformation?
There are a few key reasons why employee training is so important in the digital age:
Digital strategy drives digital maturity and digital transformation
Digitally maturity is a scale that reflects an organization’s digital capabilities, its digital culture, its digital workplace, and so on.
In short, digital maturity reflects how advanced an organization is when it comes to digital technology.
Generally speaking, an organization’s digital strategy drives its efforts to become more digitally mature – and it usually does this through digital transformation.
Digitally maturing organizations require a digitally enabled workforce
An organization is only as capable and productive as its workforce.
And an organization’s digital maturity depends on factors such as:
- The workforce’s digital skill levels
- Employees’ behaviors and attitudes towards digital technology
- How quickly employees can adopt new software
All of these present strong evidence in favor of a robust digital employee training program.
However, when it comes to digital transformation, the need for employee training becomes even stronger.
Employee training becomes a catalyst for organizational change and digital transformation
Digital transformation invariably involves the adoption of new software and technology.
This means that employee training programs must not only focus on helping employees become proficient with a single skill – they must fully adopt digital tools into their work environments.
In other words:
- Digital adoption focuses on fully utilizing software
- Digital transformation requires effective digital adoption
- Employee training is an essential piece of the digital adoption process
When considering all of these reasons, it becomes clear that employee training should be an integral part of the modern, digital-first organization … especially those that are undergoing digital transformation.
Essential Ingredients of an Effective, Forward-Thinking Employee Training Program
Here are a few elements that should be included with every modern employee training program:
A digital adoption strategy
A digital adoption strategy should focus not just on proficiency with a single tool.
Instead, digital adoption efforts should emphasize areas such as:
- Streamlining digital workflows
- Creating a digital workplace that is integrated and seamless
- Cross-training employees on multiple platforms
- Training that is contextualized, interactive, and just-in-time (see below)
- Maximizing product value
Performance aims such as these will help trainers stay focused on the bigger picture – digital adoption and ongoing transformation.
Even if an organization is not undergoing a long-term digital transformation effort, a digital adoption function helps businesses stay focused on the appropriate business aims.
Also, organizations get much better results when they utilize tools specifically geared towards digital adoption, such as digital adoption platforms (DAPs).
The right organizational culture
The right organizational culture improves training efforts. And, with the right training strategy, it is also possible to cultivate certain cultural traits in trainees.
Naturally, there is no such thing as a perfect, one-size-fits-all organizational culture.
However, traits such as the following can be extremely beneficial to digitally maturing businesses:
- Willingness to innovate and take risks
Employee training material can help to communicate and cultivate these values in employees.
However, there are plenty of other approaches, including organizational culture change projects or selective recruitment.
Traditionally, employers would train employees in bulk, by offering extensive courses, seminars, and so forth.
Once completed, employees would apply that knowledge in the workplace.
However, this approach is rapidly being replaced with just-in-time training.
That is, organizations provide practical information on a need-to-know basis, right before it is needed.
Digital adoption platforms make this possible, by delivering in-app walkthroughs and on-demand guidance, directly inside a target platform.
Ideally, just-in-time training efforts are:
This approach eliminates a great deal of waste inherent in other training approaches.
For instance, if an employee attends a workshop, then only a small fraction of that information will actually be useful in the workplace. Also, by the time employees actually do use it, they will have forgotten a certain percentage of the information.
A permanent digital adoption function
There is no such thing as a fully digitally mature organization.
Since the digital economy is still evolving, digital transformation is more about keeping pace with those digital changes, not achieving an end state.
And employee training, as mentioned above, can never come to an end.
The solution is a permanent digital adoption function that delivers just-in-time training throughout every stage of the employee life cycle.
Unlike discrete employee training programs that start and stop or deliver too much irrelevant information, businesses should create a digital adoption function that permanently trains employees on an as-needed basis.