Today, fluency in key technology concepts across all levels of an organization is not just “nice to have,” but a core business competency. If your organization is tech fluent, leadership probably feels good about the company’s position; if not, they’re likely scrambling to try and fill the tech skills gaps in the business.
In the latter case, adopting new technologies and hiring employees exclusively for the tech skills they can bring may seem like the quickest ways to right the ship. This approach also means improving operations and customer experience to create new innovations and reduce costs. All of these outcomes are necessary to help businesses navigate uncertainty in the economy and deal with inflation alongside rising competitive pressure and customer expectations.
At the same time, organizations are struggling to find the talent they need to implement and accelerate their companies’ digital initiatives. Labor shortages, particularly in terms of tech skills, continue to be a challenge. This was already an issue before the Great Resignation, and it continues to be a major hurdle for businesses to overcome today. For example, in the 2022 State of Cloud Report, only 8 percent of respondents said they have significant cloud-related experience and are looking to build advanced and specialized cloud knowledge.
With a dearth of available talent, leaders are faced with either engaging in a costly talent war or looking to see how they can develop talent in-house by cultivating a better understanding of technologies throughout their organization. The first thing leaders should do is develop the technologists in their organizations, but they can also benefit from broadening tech knowledge amongst all workers.
Creating Tech Competency To Build a Culture of Tech
As tech is ingrained in every aspect of an organization, every worker needs to have a base-level of understanding in foundational technologies like cloud computing, software development, data, security, 5G, IoT, artificial intelligence, the metaverse, blockchain and automation. According to research from McKinsey, cultural and behavioral challenges and lack of understanding of digital trends are the two most significant challenges organizations face when trying to achieve digital priorities. This study underscores the necessity for all workers to have a fundamental understanding of technology.
Just as schools test students for essential reading, writing and mathematics skills, every organization should be able to measure the tech literacy of each of its workers. Businesses need to find ways to easily assess their employees, from leadership to dev teams, and use the results to create individual pathways to help every worker improve overall tech fluency. Without a process to measure skills, the knowledge gap will persist. A lack of tech fluency across an organization can create knowledge silos and slow the pace of innovation. In 2022, organizations can’t afford any digital delays, or they could be out of business.
Every organization can implement the following three steps today to raise its tech fluency:
3 Steps to Improve Tech Fluency in Business
- Prioritize the technology focus areas that have the greatest potential impact.
- Remember to track your workers’ achievements and progress.
- Create cross-functional collaboration within your organization.
Not all technology projects are weighted the same. Business leaders need to assess the impact of the project and how it will affect the business. Those tech projects that can most help an organization achieve its goals should take priority. Business leaders need to ask of each project how it will improve the organization’s operations or how it enhances the customer experience.
The most important thing is to get started quickly and to track your progress. If you have a process in place to measure tech skills and competencies, then you can begin setting goals for increasing tech fluency for individual workers, whole teams, or the entire organization. If you don’t have a skills measurement process in place, then you need to start one. There are online skills measurement tools available that can test and assess individual workers or whole teams. And these tools automate recommendations for employee journeys as well as tracking skills progression. Workers will be more motivated if they know that their employer is investing in developing their skills and knowledge during work hours. You should also recognize all employees for their achievements in either learning tech skills or deepening their understanding of technology by highlighting new skills achieved within a team.
Finally, create a work environment that’s open and that promotes cross-team, cross-functional collaboration ranging from leaders to developers to achieve the best business outcomes. When every employee is involved, there’s a deeper understanding of how tech can help solve business and customer problems or how it can be used to innovate new solutions. This is the ultimate goal for every organization, but it takes commitment from the leadership team along with resources to make skills growth a company-wide initiative.
With technology playing a major role in every aspect of business today, now is the time for businesses to invest in their workforce to ensure that every employee has a foundational understanding of technology. From developers to sales reps, every worker needs to be communicating with each other and discussing how they can better meet customer needs. Enabling a technology culture will help organizations to thrive and stay ahead of the competition while creating more advancement opportunities for their workers.