Other parts of this series:
Recognizing digital fluency’s role in closing the gender gap is all good and well, but unless companies take deliberate steps to accelerate that closure they will continue to face the damaging effects of a shortage of qualified workers and the potential absence of valuable female talent. These factors expose firms to fierce competition from competitors who understand the value of digital fluency, the importance of acquiring and keeping female talent, and the impact of gender inequity on business results―as I explained in my previous post. Digital fluency is fast becoming a core competency and a competitive differentiator.
What you can do to drive digital fluency
So, what can you do as an HR professional to make sure your firm’s employees are digitally fluent? In many ways, the principles behind driving digital fluency are no different than for any other initiative designed to improve opportunities for employees and the businesses they work for:
Champion digital fluency. HR has a responsibility to make sure women are aware of the profoundly positive impact digital fluency can make on their lives and careers. Women should be overtly encouraged to use the latest technologies and increase their digital skill level in whatever ways work best for them individually.
Set the example. HR should “walk the talk” of digital fluency by incorporating digital tools and channels into its everyday activities. Female HR representatives fulfill an additional important function by acting as role models for other women, both in terms of improving their digital skills and advocating for gender parity in every aspect of organisational functioning―including compensation and opportunities for advancement.
Provide the right tools. Up-to-date technology and collaboration tools for every employee are a must. Activities like gamification support and encourage access to and use of digital tools. In addition to traditional and individualised learning methods, mentorships and group learning are excellent ways to help women increase their digital skills. Expanding digital fluency can be as simple as taking an online course or joining an online social network. Also, organizations should make sure social networks and social media are available in the workplace and used by everyone as a communication channel.
Incorporate flexibility. One of the greatest benefits of digital is the flexibility it enables. HR should strive to incorporate flexible work options into the work environment and support women in taking advantage of those options.
Be supportive. HR can help nurture a learning environment and provide supportive mechanisms that allow people to grow and develop in their digital fluency, and in their careers, in a way that works best for them.
Getting to equal
While Accenture’s research on “getting to equal” is encouraging, there is one area digital fluency has yet to impact. While men and women are both earning more than they did before the advent of digital, they are not earning the same. There is still a considerable gap in pay between genders, and men continue to be the dominant earners. While digital fluency can go a long way to resolve other inequities, the issue of economic parity between the sexes remains a challenge.
To learn more about closing the workplace gender gap through digital fluency, please see: