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:
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
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
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
Small business owners are aware of the need to improve their digital know-how
69% admitted a need to develop their digital skills
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'
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 service
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.
Five go-to sources to bring your workforce up to speed on all things digital
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.
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.