It’s time to declare a digital state of emergency. Small businesses need to take action and unleash the powers of digital in your workplace.
1.6 million. That’s the number of UK small businesses that lack basic digital skills according to a report from Lloyds Bank.
In today’s digital age, this is a surprising stat as established and new technology play a major role in every aspect of our lives. Shouldn’t businesses of all sizes be making the most of tech? Shouldn’t they be adopting tools to drive their business forward, instead of falling behind?
The simple answer is, yes. And, now’s the perfect opportunity to do so – January is a key time for employee churn, HR planning and objective setting. So, making a conscious effort to make your employees digitally ready for the year ahead is a great way to kick-start 2018.
Here, we provide the lowdown on the digital skills your workforce needs, how to train them and where to find tips. By the end you’ll be ready to escape a digital rut and unlock the full potential of your business.
A digital faux pas
First, let’s take a closer look at the UK’s digital skills crisis with these five, eye-opening facts:
1. A lack of digital experience could have a devastating consequence for the economy.
– Small businesses and their digital skills gap could cost the economy around £63 billion a year in lost additional GDP
2. Small businesses aren’t making the most of the online world.
– 42% reported having no digital presence and only 53% said their websites were easily read on a mobile device
3. A lack of basic digital skills means small business owners are missing out on valuable opportunities.
– Only 21% take advantage of the digital world when trading overseas
4. Small business owners are aware of the need to improve their digital know-how.
– 69% admitted a need to develop their digital skills
5. But there’s some great news despite this…
– If small business owners were to learn just one more digital skill this year, 75% would have “full digital skills”
Your digital map
According to the UK Basic Digital Skills framework, the essential digital skills include:
– Managing information: Finding and storing digital information and content
– Communicating: Collaborating and sharing with others
– Transacting: Purchasing and selling goods, and registering for government digital services
– Creating: Engaging with communities and creating basic digital content
– Problem solving: Using digital skills to find solutions and increase confidence
Despite this, in 2017 only 59% of small businesses illustrated all five – down from 62% in 2016.
What’s more, skill development programmes aren’t reserved for large corporations. You may think they’re better equipped as they have the employee numbers and the financial backing, but there are affordable options out there. It’s just a case of finding them, implementing them and proving you’re a contender in the wider business world.
Here are five go-to sources to bring your workforce up to speed on all things digital.
Digital Business Academy UK
Their mission is to build a pipeline of high-growth tech businesses by helping aspiring entrepreneurs learn the digital skills they need to achieve their goals. They offer over 50 online courses, from developing a digital product to running a social media campaign.
Learn Digital with Google
This training program consists of 23 digital marketing topics and is for business owners who want to learn the digital skills that will enable their organisation to conquer the online space.
By partnering with leading technology companies and providing free face-to-face training, Lloyds Bank is helping small businesses to find, and make the most of, their digital mind-set.
This training agency inspires businesses to embrace digital technology in the workplace by making their training scheme fun, practical and accessible.
Future Learn is an online education platform that provides hundreds of free online courses from top universities and specialist organisations. It allows anyone to interact with learners from around the world anytime, anywhere.