Digital TransformationStrategy & LeadershipSurvey: What digital skills training do brands need for employees

Survey: What digital skills training do brands need for employees

Nearly a quarter of employees receive just one day of digital skills training in an entire year, according to our recent survey. How brands can change this.

Things move quickly in the digital world. It seems like yesterday when having just a Twitter account and a blog put a business ahead of the curve when it came to online interactions with customers.

But these days, the relationship between online engagement and real-life interaction has become inextricably intertwined.

Consumers increasingly expect their digital interactions with brands to improve their real-life experiences. According to a recent study by Bronto, 56% of shoppers expect stores to add better technologies for more personalized experiences.

And those companies who do pick up on these cues clearly reap the benefits.

McKinsey reports that truly “data-driven” companies are six times as likely to retain customers and are 19 times as likely to be profitable.

But other business are still living in the past, ignoring emerging digital technologies and failing to train employees for the future.

And those businesses are in danger of being left in the digital dust.

ClickZ recently teamed up with Avado to survey 500 senior-level marketers from brands, agencies, and marketing technology backgrounds.

We wanted to get broad insights into digital trends. Specifically, we wanted to look at the essential areas of digital skills training that modern marketers should emphasize.

Content produced in collaboration with AVADO.

Biggest takeaways from our survey on what brands need to survive the digital revolution:

1. Brands aren’t ready for it

Every time a customer likes a Facebook post, opens an email, or reads your company blog, they create a powerful signal that they’re ready to interact with your brand.

However, many companies are leaving dollars on the table by missing these signals or being completely unequipped to respond to them.

In this shifting digital landscape, customers are won or lost on the basis of digital communication. Many business simply lack the skill to keep up.

According to the study, just 53% of businesses say they have a digital transformation plan, while 34% did not and 13% were unsure.

What’s more, there are also industry-specific hurdles to becoming prepared for the digital age.

While 71% of finance and accounting companies said they felt fully prepared to meet new digital challenges, just 35% of education companies and 40% of automotive companies said the same.

2. Employees want better digital skills training

While employees generally feel that their businesses are pretty knowledgeable about digital strategy and emerging technologies, many worry that executives lack the insights they need to truly move forward in a digital-first world.

While 47% of survey respondents said there was a good amount of digital understanding in their company, a whopping 42% said there was only “some” or “almost no” digital competency among executives.

The key to getting employees and executives on the same page when it comes to putting an actionable digital plan in place is education.

As employees clamor for more company-wide training to deal with digital challenges as they arise, just a scant few companies are answering that call.

Only 34% of companies surveyed said they had a plan in place to train employees and executives around digital literacy, while a further 44% said they had no plan but knew that lack of preparation was a problem.  

3. Employees want more digital skills training

As part of our survey, we asked how much digital skills training employees receive on average per year.

Even though we anticipated the numbers would be low, the answers shocked much digital training do employees receive per year

The findings showed these percentages of employees who receive digital skills training per year:

  • 22.58% of employees get just one day
  • 39.07% of employees get 1-5 days
  • 15.05% of employees get 5-10 days
  • 10.04% of employees get 10-20 days
  • 13.26% of employees get 20+ days

Nearly a quarter of employees receive just one day of digital skills training in an entire year.

Naturally, the next question is, “Why?”

Next we asked employees, “What is preventing you from receiving this training?”

what factors prevent employees from getting more digital skills training?

Employees said these factors prevent them from getting the digital skills training they want and need:

  • No budget: 40%
  • Too expensive: 33.1%
  • Internal approval: 24.1%
  • Difficult to find the time: 23.8%
  • Lack of talent in market: 21.7%
  • Unsure where to start: 18.3%
  • Lack of a change lead: 17.2%
  • Nothing at all: 15.7%

What kind of digital skills training should brands focus on for their employees?

Five years ago, social media, website management, and paid search were the digital skills employees felt most anxious to master, but new technologies have shifted the focus away from these skills and towards automated technologies.

It’s no secret that we’re in the middle of an artificial intelligence (AI) revolution. AI is changing the ways in which we interact with customers and collect data.

In 2014, it would have been unthinkable to have chatbots answering customer questions while AI scanned their order history looking for the most relevant product suggestions.

These days, that’s pretty standard for many industries. The potential for AI to change the way we manage relationships with customers seems limitless.

However, AI is still a mystery to many employees desperate for knowledge around how to use these new tools.

The study found that 23.7% of survey respondents named AI as a vital skill for investment over the next five years. And 27% hoped to invest in technology enablement.

As businesses across all industries begin to experiment with new technologies, employees increasingly want to know how to make AI work for them. 

The brands that survive make sure they give their employees the digital skills training they need.

To learn more, download the full report, “Digital Transformation: Do you have the skills to survive?

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