‘Digital fluency’: What it is and why business leaders value it so much

This fall, the leading HR and work tech providers will gather in the Expo Hall during HR Tech 2024 to show off their solutions and latest releases. As HR and business leaders consider these new tools, many of them will be thinking ahead about the employees in their workforce who can derive the most value from these platforms.

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If a new study’s predictions hold true, these HR tech buyers will need to make purchases that support a digitally fluent workforce. “Digitally fluent” employees can swiftly learn unfamiliar software and adapt to new technologies as they are introduced.

Digital fluency has become an especially sought-after employee skill, according to CompTIA’s June 2024 Workforce and Learning Trends Report, which surveyed 1,200 HR and L&D professionals from around the world. This is particularly true as companies increasingly rely on proprietary software and third-party tools such as HCM, payroll, talent analytics and other HR tech.

Digital fluency is ‘tremendous currency’

CompTIA researchers describe a digitally fluent employee as one who identifies the most effective tool for a specific business outcome and suggests new tools as needed. “In relatively short order, the concept has gained tremendous currency,” write the report’s authors. “Nearly 70% of respondents indicated that digital fluency continues to increase in importance within their organizations.”

Employers recognize that job candidates may not have direct experience with their company’s specific proprietary tools for human resources or other departments. Instead, they value applicants who demonstrate the ability to rapidly adapt to and master new technologies, according to the CompTIA report.

Source: CompTIA’s Workforce and Learning Trends Report

What do orgs need to increase digital fluency?

Given the prevalence of digital transformation, particularly within small and medium-sized enterprises, the workforce must evolve accordingly, according to CompTIA. For many employees, the journey toward digital proficiency often begins with basic digital literacy.

“The path for many of the workers within these organizations may begin with foundational digital literacy skills and then progress to more advanced digital fluency skills over time,” write CompTIA researchers.

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How does that happen? According to a separate analysis by Accenture, organizational psychologists have identified three factors necessary for digital fluency and tech adoption to flourish:

  • Attitude: Employees must be enthusiastic about the topic.
  • Skills: Employees need to have the necessary competencies to be successful.
  • Relevance: Employees must see the value of digital fluency in their jobs and orgs.

“Few digital skilling initiatives take all three facets into consideration,” said Accenture researchers. “[However,] being digitally fluent will be key to future survival and growth.”

Jill Barthhttps://hrexecutive.com/
Jill Barth is HR Tech Editor of Human Resource Executive. She is an award-winning journalist with bylines in Forbes, USA Today and other international publications. With a background in communications, media, B2B ecommerce and the workplace, she also served as a consultant with Gallagher Benefit Services for nearly a decade. Reach out at [email protected].