The Open University’s new Leading in a Digital Age report has found a clear link between business performance and leaders who are equipped to manage digital change.
Based on a survey of 950 CTOs and senior leaders within UK organisations, the report found that 88% of leaders who had received digital training in the past year went on to report organisational growth, compared with just 49% who had not received any training.
The benefits of senior digital skills development go even further. Leaders who invested in digital skills training are experiencing:
• Improved productivity (56%)
• Greater employee engagement (55%)
• Enhanced agility (42%)
• Increased profit (42%)
• Improved staff retention (33%)
However, many leaders questioned admit they still lack the requisite skills to manage in the digital age. Nearly half (47%) say they could do more to address their own digital skills deficit and 78% acknowledge they’d benefit from more digital training. Encouragingly 83% of leaders who received digital training felt more inclined to encourage colleagues to undergo similar courses. This helps digitally savvy leaders create a culture of lifelong learning throughout the organisation.
The report reveals that when the development of digital skills is led from the top through investing in learning and development, organisations are well placed to address the challenges and take advantage of opportunities in the digital age.
We’re living in a digital age where the development of technology affects all areas of our lives from the workplace to our homes. But in a business context, digital presents a very real opportunity to become more profitable, yet for those who fail to embrace change there is a real risk of being left behind.
For a business to survive in this world, workforces must be equipped to harness the power of digital technologies, and understand how technology can positively impact their work. Digital leadership is vital to making this vision work, with senior teams fostering a culture of digital adaptation, starting with improving their own digital skills, and then cascading that knowledge throughout the organisation.Baroness Martha Lane-Fox, The Open University Chancellor
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