Digital Talent: A Guide to Workforce Transformation

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Learn about digital talent in the workplace and how to increase digital talent among employees.

[Featured Image] A man works on a laptop in an open office.

Digital talent has long been a necessary skill for members of the workforce. The digitalization of the workforce has resulted in a larger percentage of workers using tools that require digital talent and skills. Between 2002 and 2020, the demand for high digital skills rose from 9 to 26 percent [1]. Almost every industry today utilizes technology and requires employees with digital talent. Hiring employees with digital talent could positively impact a company as it competes in or transitions to a digital market. 

Employees with digital talent could also assist in growing a company’s market reach and becoming successful. According to a survey by Pew Research, 85 percent of Americans believe that digital talent is necessary in order to excel in the workplace [2]. Both companies and their employees can expand digital skill sets to boost success.  

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What is digital talent?

Digital talent refers to anyone who works in technology, specifically those who work in information technology, digitalization, analytics, and automation and who help digitally transform an organization. If you are working as a developer, project manager, or engineer, you are most likely contributing to the digital transformation of your company. 

An important component of digital talent is digital literacy. This involves staying updated on new and existing technologies implemented in your workplace, managing your company’s ideas and vision through an online environment, and communicating digitally with employees or team members. 

Why is digital talent important?

Digital talent is an essential tool for companies to implement, as it is necessary to understand and use technology in the modern workforce. Hiring new employees with digital talent can create new outlets for digital leadership and improve your workforce’s overall capabilities with technology. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted the majority of industries to an online or hybrid workforce, now making digital transformation a necessity in the workplace. As you hire new employees, consider if they can use digital resources or possess new technological capabilities not fully developed within your company.  

Benefits of digital talent

Digital talent has many benefits that can improve your company’s overall success. By implementing new digital strategies, you can increase customer satisfaction. Customers will find it easier and faster to engage with your company with the added online resources.

Read more: What Is Digital Transformation? Definition, Strategy, and Examples

Having many digital platforms can also improve collaboration within your organization. As employees begin using digital platforms, they will learn how to communicate and share ideas faster, which will increase productivity. Digital talent often utilizes innovative strategies and tools that can transform your company and create new opportunities for success. 

Drawbacks of digital talent

While digital talent has many benefits for the internal and external processes of your organization, it can also come with challenges. Implementing digital resources can create a new set of standards your employees need to work by. It can be a difficult shift to move everything online, and employees may feel overwhelmed or require training. 

The growing demand for digital talent is creating a narrower hiring pool, which could make it more difficult to find suitable candidates. You need highly skilled and experienced candidates to increase your company’s digital footprint and overall success, as well as provide the benefits digital talent is looking for. According to a recent study conducted by McKinsey & Company, talented digital workers are seeking employers who offer [3]:

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  • Opportunities for career development and advancement

  • Flexibility in the workplace

  • Work that is meaningful

  • Competitive compensation and financial benefits

  • A workplace culture that includes supportive and reliable coworkers

Digital talent skills

As you prepare to make digital talent a priority for your business, ensure that your employees or potential hires possess the digital talent skills that will contribute to success. Here are some principles of a digital talent-focused workforce.

1. Familiarity with digital terms and software

Employees should have a basic understanding of the digital terms and resources used in your organization. This is also known as digital literacy, and it is necessary to create an environment of digital talent within a company. Employees should feel comfortable discussing digital terms and using them. Some companies may need employees to be experienced in advanced software, but they should also feel comfortable using basic office applications, such as those offered by Google or Microsoft. 

2. Online research skills

Conducting independent online research is a skill employees should strive for, as exploring new topics can help them adapt to your organization's digital tools and resources. Researching online information proves they can independently expand their skill set and is a necessary skill in the digital age. Conducting research is common in almost every industry, but the ability to do so digitally demonstrates your employees’ comfort with using databases and software programs. 

3. Collaboration through digital tools

Digital talent is only useful if employees are able to collaborate and combine their skills. Collaboration is imperative if employees use varying technologies or software that need to merge together cohesively. Cloud-based collaboration tools like Google Drive or Microsoft Teams can help employees connect more efficiently, allowing them to come together digitally and complete projects.

4. Adaptation to new technology

Being well-versed in common technology is highly useful, but employees should also be able to adapt to new and developing technologies. Staying current on the most recent digital tools will ensure a company remains competitive and innovative among other competitors. Adaptation is a useful skill in a number of ways, as it allows your employees to step outside of their comfort zone and explore new options and resources. 

5. Teaching others how to use digital resources

Learning how to use digital tools is one thing, but if employees can teach others how to use different software and online resources, the company can operate at a faster pace and with greater efficiency. When employees teach one another about new digital tools they are comfortable using, it results in a wider network of digitally talented employees. Continuing to impart knowledge to one another can expand digital literacy within a company and promote teamwork skills.  

Getting started with Coursera

On Coursera, you can explore courses to boost both your and your employees’ digital skill sets. The Excel Skills for Business Specialization is a course designed to help you navigate Microsoft Excel software, analyze online data, and create spreadsheets.

Likewise, the Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate can help employees gain beginner-level digital marketing skills, including measuring analytics and optimizing your company's e-commerce stores. 

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Article sources

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.