We’ve already dropped our list of the top 10 technology trends for 2024, and a few themes stuck out:
- Data remains a vital asset for businesses, making data literacy and tools that make data more accessible high priorities.
- AI continues to rise, along with new use cases and tools.
- Cybersecurity is still of the utmost concern for businesses, especially with the influx of new cybersecurity threats posed by advances in AI.
So, now that we’ve established what businesses should prepare for in the new year, it’s time to dive into the “how.” Here are the top 5 skills required for digital transformation in 2024 to add to your upskilling and reskilling program (and keep your eyes peeled for 19+ ideas for training opportunities sprinkled throughout!)
5 Skills to Power Up Your Digital Transformation in 2024
1. Digital Fluency
At the foundation of the skills required for digital transformation is digital fluency. Without it, they’ll be limited in their ability to support your digital transformation. When it comes to digital transformation, digital literacy calls for employees’ understanding and ability to interact with digital tools. The precise tools in question will vary based on the employee’s role, from Microsoft Excel and communication tools like Slack or Zoom to more complex technologies that use AI and data. While it’s easy to assume that staff know standard tools inside and out, it’s not wise to do so. Plus, with updates and algorithmic changes constantly coming in, everyone can stand to brush up on their skills every now and again. To boost your workforce’s digital fluency, you can:
- Conduct skills gap analyses routinely to understand the specific digital skills you’re lacking.
- Introduce mentorships and peer learning opportunities, pairing less digitally experienced employees with more digitally skilled mentors.
- Offer interactive workshops and webinars led by internal or external digital experts.
- Give staff the opportunity to practice using new tools in a controlled environment where they can ask questions. You can even offer real-world projects to give them more hands-on practice.
Given AI’s role as a strategic imperative for businesses in 2024, it’ll be smart to equip your team with the necessary skills to use AI. For current employees, they’ll need to learn how to work alongside AI effectively. A vital piece of this effort is helping staff understand the importance of AI – namely, how it will benefit them. Let them know that collaborating with AI will bolster their work. A little social proof can’t hurt, either. According to Forbes research:
- 83% of people currently using AI in their jobs believe it can help reduce burnout and increase their job satisfaction.
- 80% think it will help them do their job better.
Once you have your employees’ buy-in, you can prepare them for AI by infusing your upskilling and reskilling program with:
- AI literacy, using tactics like keeping up with AI experts, online courses, and tutorials.
- Prompt engineering by educating them on effective prompt structures and encouraging them to practice by testing out differently worded prompts.
- How to understand the results generated by AI algorithms. It’s no secret that not all data AI spits out is accurate or relevant, so your staff’s discernment is critical.
3. Analytical & Creative Thinking
As AI becomes increasingly ubiquitous, the value of the “uniquely human skills,” analytical and creative thinking, rises alongside it. In fact, the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2023 report found that analytical thinking and creative thinking will be top in-demand skills by 2027.
But how does one encourage the development of soft skills like analytical and creative thinking? Here are some starters:
- Make Ongoing Learning a Habit: Continually develop your skills and knowledge by staying updated on your industry’s latest developments through online courses, workshops, and reading industry publications.
- Adopt Systems Thinking: Practice viewing scenarios as interconnected systems by looking for ways that changes in one area can impact others. Additionally, look for underlying patterns and relationships. You can even use the exercise of Scenario Planning to imagine potential scenarios and apply systems thinking to them.
- Look Outside Your Circle: Don’t limit yourself to your field when looking for ideas. Exposure to different industries, perspectives, and cultures can enrich creative thinking. Whether it’s podcasts, reading books, or observing how leading companies design their websites or social media accounts, you never know where inspiration will strike.
- Collaborate: Brainstorming or working with others from various backgrounds and even departments within your organization can inspire new ways of approaching challenges. It can even help build an innovative culture.
As one of 2024’s top tech trends, cybersecurity remains a priority for organizations, but for new reasons. While AI has continued to rise, new security threats have emerged, like using deepfakes to step over voice and facial recognition access controls and phishing attempts. Since your organization’s security relies on your employees’ cybersecurity know-how, it’s a skill worth investing in. Here are some ways you can boost your employees’ cybersecurity prowess:
- Add routine cybersecurity training to your upskilling and reskilling plan.
- Encourage your staff to stay informed about the latest cybersecurity news, threats, and protective measures by offering suggestions for helpful social media accounts or blogs they can follow.
- Facilitate cybersecurity drills or simulations of cyber attacks like ransomware and phishing so they’ll know what signs to look for and how to respond in crisis scenarios.
- Host webinars highlighting your organizational policies and procedures and how to use your company’s cybersecurity tools and resources like antivirus software, firewalls, and more.
5. Data Analysis
Having a few technical leaning “data champions” driving your organization’s strategic decisions is great, but do you know what’s even better? Having a data-savvy workforce, technical and non-technical folks included. After all, data is only as valuable as your staff’s ability to interpret and use it for better insights.
First, be sure to inspect your current data sources, applications, and platforms for accessibility and user-friendliness. If it falls short of expectations, it may be worth investing in an option that can be easily used and therefore has a greater impact. Then, make sure your upskilling and reskilling program covers:
- The basics of how to use your analytics tools.
- Practicing how to draw meaningful conclusions from datasets and how to put it into action.
- Data ethics, especially how to identify potential bias and the data’s validity and sourcing.
- Role-specific skills. This won’t just enable them to put their data knowledge into routine action, but it’ll help them see the direct benefits data know-how can have for them.
Gear Up for 2024
When your staff gain these top skills required for digital transformation, your organization won’t just stay ahead of the current technology trends. You’ll also empower your workforce to thrive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape, which will serve them now and in the future. Ultimately, a technology-positive, adaptable workforce will be a vital asset in 2024 and beyond, so there’s no better time to start than now.
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