How to nurture digital talent

Jonathan Fitchew gives us insight into how you can nurture digital talent.

Finding and training digitally-savvy employees instils innovation and helps your business stay ahead of the curve. A recent study into emerging apprenticeships finds a demand for a unique blend of digital and soft skills in a variety of industries.

But with technical and interpersonal skills not necessarily coming hand-in-hand, what can businesses do to ensure their training strategy keeps them at the forefront?

Blended learning 

As digital natives, Generation Z are the next wave of talent to enter the workplace – they’re ambitious, have entrepreneurial spirit and recognise how the right employer can carve out their career paths.

Engaging Gen Z is key to nurturing digital talent within your business and according to research, half of them prefer a combination of face-to-face and digital training methods. With blended learning appealing to their technical prowess, this approach will help engage them in a more authentic way.

Having the right balance of technically minded employees and those with more traditional skillset is key to fostering a rounded knowledge base.

Career progression

The promise of career progression is important to further engage digitally-minded employees, and setting transparent developmental lines can help increase productivity levels. Further research suggests that a high proportion (56%) of Gen Z express a desire for speedy career progression, and they’re evidently willing to put in the legwork to make it happen.

This level of transparency and the promise of progression will inspire and motivate them to work harder and do more for your business.  

Internal development

Having the right balance of technically minded employees and those with more traditional skillset is key to fostering a rounded knowledge base. Setting up mentoring schemes and partnering people from both sides of the coin is an effective way for employees to learn new skills and transfer native knowledge to their colleagues.

Whether you decide to sit digitally-minded people next to employees with traditional skills, or set up buddy schemes to encourage collaboration – pairing these two types of people together is a tactic to ensure your workforce pass their skills onto each other.

Nurture their nature

Gen Z have an unstoppable spirit and want to help the greater good, with 26% of them currently volunteering their time for charitable causes. Making the most of their gregariousness will help cascade a positive message throughout the rest of the business.

Help develop their own skills as well as giving them an opportunity to communicate their passion to the wider company through presentations – knowledge shares are a really effective way to do this.

Soft skills

While technical abilities are a fundamental part of today’s workplace, soft skills can boost ROI, staff productivity, retention and among other things, can improve your bottom line.

With the majority of emerging apprenticeships looking for a blend of technical and communication capabilities it’s essential you focus on developing employee soft skills to ensure you stay ahead of the competition. Interpersonal skills are important for all businesses and industries, but it’s possible to build on these soft skills to make them more of a commercially viable asset.

Making work fun

Studies show instilling a fun working environment with like-minded people can increase productivity and have a positive effect on staff morale. Creating an environment where employees can freely express their ideas, and encourage cross team collaboration is key to develop a workplace where employees can grow their skills.

Consider office seating plans and layout – ensuring there’s enough space for breakout areas will help with creativity flow – introduce elements to help spark social interaction such as pool tables will help instil the message of collaborative teamwork.

Partnering with academic institutions

Bringing in students to undertake apprenticeship schemes helps bring fresh ideas into the business, and create a sharing and learning environment between colleagues. Fostering a relationship with academic institutions allows access to a constant stream of talent that could potentially become an asset to your company.

Upskill current staff

Upskilling current staff will equip them with the know-how they need to forge new enterprise pathways. Combined, the forces of fresh young digital talent and the experience of established business practitioners can be formidable.  A mixture of on-the-job training from senior members of staff and outsourced training from experts will transform productivity and output levels.

Company benefits

Industry-dependent, entry-level employees can expect a pretty basic starting salary, so company benefits can become a desirable prospect when you’re recruiting new talent. Social events, fun days and team building exercises will add fun into the workplace and create a positive environment where digital talent will really thrive.

Management schemes

Gen Z’s ambitious nature has led them to want to manage large teams. Internal training programmes that promote leadership abilities will likely appeal to them and encourage quality performance. Gen Z’s digital native capabilities means they have more knowledge at their fingertips than any other generation, and have a real strength for streamlining processes.


About the author

Jonathan Fitchew is CEO of Pareto Law


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