In any large organization, you are going to have a varied group of people with different interests, skill sets, and levels of knowledge. This is to be expected and can also be very positive. Different perspectives lead to a higher level of creativity and ultimately, better results.
As the march toward all things digital continues at an ever more frantic pace, varying levels of understanding about how to use digital tools doesn’t become an advantage. Quite the contrary, it can become a significant disadvantage for larger organizations.
This is where the concept of digital literacy becomes useful when thinking about the maturity level of your organization.
What is digital literacy in your organization?
- How comfortable are your employees with different digital tools?
- Do your employees understand how to use digital tools to their advantage and get their job done more efficiently?
- In the social media space in particular–where your employees can feel like they are on an island by themselves–do they have direction from the organization that teaches them how to use these tools to their advantage?
Questions about the digital literacy of your employees are important to ask. Your digital natives will not have a problem with introducing new tools into their workflow. Others might have questions that require training and education.
What about social media literacy?
One space in particular where the digital literacy gap becomes more pronounced is in the social media space. As a professional, you can have a significantly louder voice if you are comfortable on the social networks. This is beneficial not only to the employee but also the company.
While the employee benefits from a higher profile online, the business benefits from a greater level of brand awareness as a result of better known employees. However, without the right skill set or the assistance of someone who is digitally literate, the benefits of an active social media presence for employees are non-existent. This is where I have seen a significant impact through the use of an employee advocacy tool like Bambu by Sprout Social.
How to identify your employees digital literacy
Your employees fall into one of three groups regarding their use of social media for professional purposes.
- The first group is very comfortable, already sharing information about your company/industry, and likely does not need much guidance to continue doing so.
- The second group understands that professional social media use can be beneficial but they need guidance, training, and ongoing education. This is the largest group of employees. If you give them confidence, they will participate.
- The third and final group will not participate but they are in the minority (and exist in any organization).
It’s the second group–the largest group–of employees that is the most interesting. It is here that you can increase the digital literacy of your employees, get them comfortable with using social media for professional purposes and reap the rewards that come along with a more knowledgeable workforce.
Greg Tirico is Senior Manager of Advocacy Solutions and Services at Sprout Social. He has spent the majority of his career leading digital marketing initiatives in Fortune 500 organizations. When not espousing the benefits of employee advocacy, he can be found searching for the perfect Pinot Noir.Find Greg Tirico on Twitter @GregTirico.
Digital Literacy & The Digitally Literate Employee
Written by Greg Tirico on February 29, 2016