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Understanding the digital skills you have

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Use this page to understand which digital skills your organisation needs to work on first. And how to find out about digital skills among staff, volunteers and other colleagues.

How to find out about your colleagues’ digital skills

There are four methods for gathering insight listed below. Three are quick and easy for any size of organisation to use. Surveys are more relevant to organisations with larger numbers of volunteers or staff.

You can assess digital skills using:

  • check-ins
  • workshops
  • interviews
  • surveys.

Check-ins

Take 10 minutes during team meetings to discuss digital skills. Find out which ones people have learned recently. Try exploring these questions:

  • How are you using digital differently this week? What have you learned?
  • How have you used it to solve problems, collaborate or be productive? What have you learned?
  • Are there any areas where you need help? What kind of support would be most useful?

Workshops

We recommend a short, one-hour online workshop. It’s vital that this session takes place in an exploratory, non-judgemental atmosphere. That helps people to be honest about their skills levels.

Share documents or links before the session. Choose which feels most relevant to your teams and easiest for you to use. Recommend that people taking part focus on both the life skills and the workplace skills in each list.

Find more information on this below.

  1. Ask colleagues to share how they are using digital outside of work. People can be more confident and willing to try new things with digital when they’re at home. Use the answers to identify areas of strength and room for improvement.
  2. Now ask people what support would be helpful, based on how they’ve learned about digital before. Include training, mentoring, shadowing colleagues and signposting to useful articles as possible options. Identify next steps and a simple plan for how to put these into practice.

Interviews

Speak to a range of staff about how they are using digital. Common challenges and opportunities will surface. We recommend at least 5 interviews, asking:

  • how they are using digital as part of their jobs and what they would change
  • what they feel confident about
  • where they need help
  • how they’d like to see your charity use digital.

You may see some patterns in the results, for example areas where staff need support with digital. If you are in a large organisation you can use these to help you plan what to measure in more depth as part of a digital skills survey.

Use the techniques in this article to help you plan your questions.

Surveys

Surveys can be very helpful for gathering data across your organisation. They're also an opportunity to find out about digital behaviours and motivations.

You can ask:

  • staff members to rate how much or little they agree with statements about digital skills
  • your volunteers about the learning methods they have used to gain digital skills before
  • people what their aspirations are for how your charity should use digital
  • if they would like the organisation to support then in developing digital skills.

Find out more about how to carry out a digital skills survey.

What success looks like

Get an idea of what good use of digital skills looks like.

There are best practice examples in the skills principle in The Charity Digital Code of Practice.

Note on using the document: scroll down the page to best practice and select small charities if your turnover is up to £1m. Select large charities if your turnover exceeds £1m.

Using digital skills to support goals

You’ve got an understanding of what digital skills your colleagues have. Now you need to plan your organisation’s goals and how to use digital skills to reach them.

One way to do this is to write a vision statement for digital skills.

You can also take your digital planning to a deeper level. Create individual perspectives on what good looks like.

  • Imagine your colleagues in the future.
  • Think about how they might need to use digital to be even more effective in their jobs.
  • Write a scenario around that.
  • Use the scenarios to measure and evidence progress.

Prioritising which skills to improve

You’ve completed your research and identified what success looks like. Now you can prioritise. You don’t have to do it all at once. Decide where to focus your efforts to keep improving bit by bit.

Here are some easy steps to follow.

  • The insight you've gathered will show skills gaps. Focus on the top three to five areas where colleagues need support.
  • Ask leaders and trustees what budgets, time or volunteers are available to support digital skills.
  • Focus that time and money on growing those prioritised digital skills.
  • Use the experience as a test case for increasing skills throughout the organisation.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 02 March 2021

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