8 Core Digital Skills

The 8 core digital skills essential for the 21st century workforce.

Understanding the digital skills required of today’s workforce and how to develop an action plan to address the digital skills gap in your organisation.

1. Working with documents

Failure to master working with documents can lead to time lost, poor communication and errors in analysis, all of which ultimately have a big impact on business profitability and outcomes.

Professional body AIIM notes £15 billion is wasted looking for ‘lost’ documents at work. This shouldn’t be the case given the number of technological tools at business leaders’ disposal that can be implemented to skim the fat.Now is the time to look for systems that are simple to use and have the ability to make your company more information-agile.

2. Project collaboration & management

Project collaboration & management has always been an integral part of the workplace. Increasingly employees are required to collaborate on projects both across departments and with colleagues working remotely, both in other offices and working from home.

In today’s workplace team members are required to exercise traditional business competencies alongside technical skills to achieve the desired outcomes.

Technology can be a big aid to effective collaboration but skills shortfalls can lead to delays, higher costs and inferior business outcomes.

3. Attention management

The Internet and the range of technological developments that characterize the information age have brought a new set of challenges. Today we are bombarded with stimuli from all directions with multiple devices, apps and information services all demanding our attention.

Managing our time and attention has therefore become an essential skill. Failure to do so essentially risks affecting our ability to get things done as distractions take their toll on productivity. Equally important is the ability to identify which tasks should take priority. See

Deep Work

Notification overload Exercise

  • Who's phones, under most circumstances, are set to ping or offer some audible tone on receipt of a txt message
  • What about on receipt of a message from some other service
  • How often do you play with your notification settings and choose them consciously?
  • Let me show you how I do it on my phone - play through Quicktime
  • On an Android it's much the same process

4. Communication

Timely and effective digital communication with customers is now an essential part of quality customer experience. Firms placing insufficient emphasis on providing the necessary skills in this area risk driving away repeat business.

According to a new report from McKinsey, we spend 28% of our workweeks reading, writing or responding to email. Even modest efficiency gains would free up substantial resources for other tasks. • 28% = 2h 15m per day for a five day 40 hour week. See

for tips on reducing this.

5. Digital etiquette

An ever increasing proportion of workplace and customer communication is conducted online. And as social media continues to grow it has become essential that organisations of all types maintain multiple social media platforms. The potential benefits of digital communication are huge but so are the risks.

6. Search & research

The digitisation of archives has transformed the way in which individuals, students, academics and businesses conduct research. The increase in the volume of information available, accessible anywhere, has the potential to greatly improve the quality of outcomes but only when properly harnessed.

Today we face both the challenge of information overload and the challenge of quickly retrieving information from digital filing systems. Without the skills to effectively and efficiently tap into the relevant information the quality of outcomes will actually deteriorate.

Productivity is affected from two angles:

(1) too much of a resource is devoted to research because of a lack of understanding on how to use the research tools

(2) employees fail to find and recognise the most relevant data, decreasing the quality of any subsequent analysis. Both have a substantial impact on the quality of business outcomes.

7. Platform flexibility

Being comfortable across multiple different platforms, Windows, Mac OS, Android, iOS

The variety of both hardware and software has never been greater. Microsoft is no longer the dominant player in business software with growing presence from both Apple and Google operating systems, and a plethora of cloud based platforms offering solutions that rival Microsoft Office.

Smartphones and tablets have similarly transformed the hardware landscape.

Failure of employees to adapt to this new landscape can lead to time lost from compatibility issues and the inability to navigate and leverage the tools available - tools that if properly mastered should add to productivity, not act as drag as is commonly the case today.

8. Security & privacy

Security threats to business are increasingly sophisticated and the impact from breaches are increasingly severe. However, a majority of breaches continue to happen as a result of human error.

A lack of training in security and privacy awareness is costing businesses worldwide from a wide variety of sources. For example, time is lost repairing computers affected by viruses, proprietary data is leaked to competitors and, in severe cases, reputational damage results in lost customers.

Research conducted for Security Mentor by EMA "indicates that 56 percent of workers say they have not had security or policy awareness training from their organizations…"

In Q1 2014 ~93,000 records per hour were compromised, a 233% increase over the same quarter in 2013.

Developing a plan for your organisation

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