What is Digital Dexterity and Why is it Important for Digital Transformation Success? 

elev8 - 5 min read

Featured image for article titled "What is Digital Dexterity and Why it is Important for Digital Transformation Success?" showcasing a man looking at data displayed on a screen.

As we navigate the ever-changing digital landscape, the importance of developing digital dexterity has never been more evident. From embracing technological advancements to enhancing decision-making and fostering innovation, digital dexterity empowers individuals and businesses to thrive in the digital age.  

This article will uncover the importance of digital dexterity and how it has become a catalyst for economic growth, innovation, and attracting and retaining digital talent within organizations. 

What is Digital Dexterity? 

Digital dexterity is an individual or group’s ability to effectively embrace and adapt to existing or emerging technologies presented to them. This is becoming increasingly important within organizations, as the application of artificial intelligence in the workplace is creating countless opportunities to help employees work more efficiently, which ultimately helps to create better business outcomes. When a workforce is digitally dexterous, it is agile, adept, and open to new digital tools. 

While digital dexterity requires a certain amount of skill or at least a strong understanding of the technologies used within your business, it’s primarily rooted in your organization’s culture. When people feel supported and empowered to learn new things, they’re more likely to cultivate high digital dexterity, than those who aren’t encouraged to expand their skill set and/or are fearful of change. 

The Importance of Digital Dexterity 

Digital technology is developing at a rapid pace, which means more advanced tools are going to find their way into the modern workplace. With the age of AI upon us, a digital dexterous workforce is now a necessity. Its importance has been outlined below. 

Improved Productivity and Efficiency 

An organizational proficiency in digital tools and technologies enables the successful company-wide implementation of the latest digital tools and processes. This can significantly enhance productivity and efficiency in various tasks, from communication and collaboration to data analysis and problem-solving. 

Competitive Advantage 

Organizations and employees with strong digital dexterity gain a competitive edge, as they can leverage technology to not only improve internal processes but also to deliver better customer experiences, helping to increase customer attraction and retention. 

Increasing Number of Employees Working from Home 

As a result of the pandemic, remote work has increased by 44% in the past 5 years. Additionally, a 2022 Survey carried out by FlexJobs found that 97% of employees want their work to be at least partially remote in the future. Ensuring a digitally dexterous workforce will help employees to leverage digital technologies to perform, collaborate and avoid issues virtually, increasing the efficiency of working from home and creating a company culture that embraces remote working. 

An Increase in Work Platforms Becoming Digital 

According to a report by Deloitte, 87% of businesses believe digital technologies will disrupt their industry. However, just 44% are prepared for the disruption. Therefore, training your workforce on digital dexterity will help to ensure the effective implementation of digital tools and/or processes that are going to be inevitable for your organization. 

Talent Growth 

Digital dexterity empowers individuals to understand and leverage technology to its full extent. Personal growth and self-learning are vital within the workplace to get ahead in the digital transformation race and digital dexterity offers additional opportunities for this to happen, increasing the employee’s skillset and potentially their satisfaction within their role. 

Why do Some Organizations Lack Digital Dexterity? 

Poor Leadership/Ownership Over Initiatives 

The absence of strong digital leadership within the organization can hinder efforts to drive digital transformation initiatives and promote digital dexterity. Without a strong digital leader, organizations may not be aware of technological progressions, such as the developments in AI, which could lead to them falling behind competitors who are, for example, capitalizing on using AI within their organization

Lack of a Clear Mission and Vision 

Organizations without a clear digital strategy may lack the vision and direction necessary to foster and develop digital dexterity effectively within their workforce. Without a clear outline, employees may not see the value of embracing digital transformation, which may be causing friction and a refusal to adapt to recent technologies. 

Resistance and Outdated Thinking 

Employees and management may resist adopting new digital technologies and processes due to fear of the unknown, concerns about job security, or the perception that traditional methods are sufficient. A key part of building a digitally dexterous workforce is taking the time to help employees understand the benefits that the training provides for them as individuals. 

Skill Gaps 

A lack of digital skills among employees can inhibit an organization’s ability to adopt and utilize digital technologies effectively. A skill gap analysis can be carried out on the workforce, to understand exactly what training is needed for the organization to establish a company-wide digital proficiency. 

The 4 Key Qualities of a Digitally Dexterous Workforce 

Technological Adaptability 

Technology is constantly evolving, and new tools and solutions emerge regularly. Technologically adaptable employees can quickly learn and adapt to new software, platforms, and digital tools. This reduces the time and resources required for training and ensures a seamless transition to modern technologies. 

Technological adaptability also facilitates better collaboration among team members, as employees can easily utilize various digital communication and collaboration tools, leading to improved employee relationships and efficiency. 

Furthermore, a technologically adaptable workforce embraces innovation and employees stay open-minded to exploring innovative technology and adopting new digital solutions that can enhance productivity and drive business growth. 

Digital Literacy 

Digital literacy enables employees to effectively communicate and collaborate through various digital communication platforms, fostering better teamwork, knowledge sharing, and a more effective collaboration process overall. 

An organization that is proficient in digital literacy enables employees to collect, analyze, and interpret data effectively, encouraging data-driven decisions and gaining valuable insights for their business strategy and growth. 

Moreover, an organization-wide consistency in digital literacy ensures that all employees have equal opportunities to access and benefit from digital technologies, promoting inclusivity and reducing digital disparities. 

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving 

In the ever-evolving digital landscape, critical thinking allows employees to comprehend complex challenges in technologies and data, enabling them to make sense of intricate situations that may arise and create well-informed solutions. 

With the ongoing analysis of digital processes and outcomes, employees who are applying strong critical thinking skills contribute to a culture of continuous improvement, driving digital excellence and innovation within the organization. 

Collaboration and Communication 

When complex challenges present themselves, they often require diverse expertise and a range of perspectives to create an effective solution. A digitally dexterous team can ensure effective collaboration across departments and areas of expertise to allow teams to pool their knowledge digital expertise and skills to tackle problems more efficiently and effectively. Additionally, collaborative environments foster knowledge sharing among team members, helping everyone to learn from each other and improve their skillset. 

With the rise of remote work and global collaboration, effective virtual communication becomes even more critical. Digital dexterity enables individuals to use various digital tools and platforms to collaborate seamlessly with colleagues, regardless of their physical location. Digital dexterity also promotes easy communication with all team members, breaking down barriers between teams and fostering a more integrated approach to problem-solving. 

The Benefits of Digital Dexterity within an Organization 

Improved Productivity 

Digital dexterity allows employees to leverage technology and digital tools to streamline workflows and automate repetitive tasks. This automation reduces manual intervention, eliminates bottlenecks, and accelerates the pace of work, leading to increased productivity within your organization. 

For example, a digitally dexterous workforce can utilize workflow management features such as built-in task and time management features, which can allow employees to prioritize their work, set deadlines, and manage their time effectively. 

This empowers employees by giving them more control over their work processes and enabling them to take ownership of their tasks. This empowerment fosters a sense of responsibility and accountability, driving individuals to perform at their best. 

Flexibility in Remote Work 

Digital dexterity enables employees to access necessary files, documents, and software remotely through cloud-based solutions. This eliminates the need to be physically present in the office and enables seamless work from various locations. 

Additionally, remote work allows employees to create personalized work environments that suit their preferences and optimize their productivity. This flexibility can lead to increased engagement and work productivity. 

Attracting and Retaining Talent 

Most organizations provide their workforce with a range of digital tools and resources for their role, however, few companies ensure their employees know how to use these tools optimally. This may prevent employees from showcasing their full potential. Ensuring a high level of digital dexterity throughout your digital work environment can lead to higher job satisfaction and engagement, which, in turn, boosts employee retention rates and the application of skills available. 

Furthermore, embracing digital dexterity can give your organization a competitive edge in attracting talent, as it positions it as a modern and adaptive workplace that values its employees’ well-being and growth. 

Improved Security and Risk Management 

Digital dexterity allows organizations to spot and implement additional security measures, such as AI-powered threat detection systems. These tools can help to identify suspicious activities and potential cybersecurity threats more effectively, enabling additional safeguarding of organizational assets. 

Digitally dexterous employees will understand the importance of using secure communication channels and collaboration platforms. This reduces the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information during data exchange and enhances the protection of intellectual property and confidential data. 

Increased Awareness of Existing and Emerging Technologies 

Organizations that prioritize digital dexterity create employees who are aware of emerging technologies and are better prepared to adapt to changing industry trends and new job skills required in the rapidly evolving digital landscape, essentially future proofing the organization. 

Moreover, understanding existing and emerging technologies enables organizations to allocate resources more effectively. A strong awareness of the future of the digital landscape helps organizations to avoid unnecessary spending on outdated or less relevant technologies and ensure that investments are made in technologies that align with their strategic goals. 

How Organizations Can Start Building Digital Dexterity in Their Workforce 

Define Digital Dexterity Goals 

For digital dexterity training to be successful, it needs to be aligned to the specific needs and objectives of the organization. Therefore, the first key step is to identify what digital skills your organization actually needs and from there, an assessment of the current skill gaps can be carried out. 

A skill gap analysis will help to identify the training needed within the workplace, which can then be used to start outlining a strategy for implementation. 

Invest in a Digital Adoption Strategy 

One of the biggest digital transformation challenges is providing employees with the specific skills they need to overcome onboarding resistance and obstacles. Instead of looking at building digital dexterity for specific products or technologies, organizations should aim to create a culture of digital adoption, by providing transparency of the entire digital transformation lifecycle and its importance for employees and the overall organization. 

Understand How to Engage Your Employees and Encourage a Smooth Transition 

All organizational changes can be daunting for employees, especially when they involve changing tools and processes that employees are accustomed to using. Therefore, it is essential there is clear communication from the organization on what specific processes and tools are changing. Additionally, organizations should take the time to address any concerns, fears and employee resistance shown. In summary, the introduction of digital dexterity training should aim to empower employees and celebrate their involvement in the evolution of digital processes. 

To reduce training resistance, the following training methods should be considered: 

Provide Personalized, Role-Based Training 

Role-based training provides employees with digital skills that are specific to their role and personal needs. This can help an organization to ensure its entire workforce has an aligned digital skillset, reducing resistance to the on-boarding of new digital processes and tools. 

Create Training Content in Multiple Formats 

Creating training content in multiple formats is essential for training employees because it caters to diverse learning preferences. By offering content in various formats such as videos, slideshows, written guides, and hands-on simulations, Organizations can accommodate different learning styles, making the training more engaging and increasing the likelihood of knowledge retention. 

Invest in Leadership Development 

Aside from training and empowering your employees, it is also important to empower business leaders to understand emerging technologies disrupting their industry. Your leadership should be able to openly discuss digital options and proactively select the right tools that can drive growth. They should also have the influence to help change mindsets, reduce friction and design new digital-friendly workplace models, by modifying existing processes and flows. 

Creating a leadership team that embraces digital technology sets the tone for the entire organization, encouraging employees at all levels to participate actively in the more successful digital transformation journey, helping to future-proof the organization against future technological advancements. 

Foster a Culture of Change 

Promote a culture of learning and change by establishing Digital Champions within your organization. These individuals can serve as role models and advocates for digital dexterity, helping to drive change from within. They can also help promote success stories of how digital dexterity has positively impacted the organization. Highlighting these stories will inspire others to embrace change and achieve digital dexterity. 

Building a Digitally Dexterous Workforce with Elev8 

Elev8 can help your organization maximize its digital transformation efforts through bespoke, role-based training plans. We can assist your organization from start to finish, starting with a strategic diagnosis, carrying out a skill gap analysis and implementing digital skilling solutions that have a lasting impact. 

To find out how you can transform your organization’s digital dexterity, contact a member of our expert team by clicking here