Corporate Digital Marketing Training, Digital Marketing Skills, Digital Marketing Training, Digital Transformation

Training Your People for Digital Transformation: The Biggest Barrier to Success

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Training your people for digital transformation

Krista Neher

Nov 10 2020

Digital transformations are becoming more common across industries. Businesses have realized that radical change is needed to adopt digital. It isn’t just about the technology, but often equally (if not more so) about changing how people work.

Whether your organization has a formal digital transformation team or not, chances are you are investing more in digital.

This means that your people need to have the skills and tools to adapt to digital and execute with excellence.

What are the Biggest Barriers to Digital Transformation

There have been countless surveys about digital transformation barriers, but one thing that comes up again and again is people. People need to be on board and have the skills needed to succeed.

Almost every survey of digital transformation barriers cites people, talent and skills as a top issue.

This chart summarizes research on the top barriers and risks. As you can see, skills and know-how top the lists.

Digital transformation drivers, barriers and risks

How to Overcome the Digital Transformation Skills Gap

There are a few ways to overcome the digital transformation skills gap.

  1. Get leadership support. Leadership must lead the charge. If your leadership team isn’t up-to-speed on digital, consider executive digital coaching and training programs. They need to model digital prioritization to get the organization moving in the right direction.
  2. Hire digital talent. This is easier said than done. Digital talent is in high demand across businesses. Evaluate your hiring practices (even for non-digital roles) and consider the digital skills that you want to hire for. That being said, digital marketing is still relatively new, so many senior roles are tough to fill with digital talent.
  3. Assess your organization. Knowledge is power. Assess the current digital knowledge levels of your organization. This could be formal or informal. Having a clear view of the current digital capabilities is key to transforming.
  4. Build a training program. Build a training program to get your organization up-to-speed. Per adult learning methodology, don’t focus only on knowledge, but the ability to apply the knowledge.
  5. Build an internal communications plan. Consider how you can communicate within the organization the importance of digital, and offer them a menu of trainings, tools, workshops and informal learning groups where they can increase their digital knowledge.

How to Incorporate Training into your Digital Transformation

Training is a key component of addressing the people part of digital transformation.

Digital Foundations Training

One of the keys to success is getting the entire organization on the same page, speaking the same language. You need a base level of digital fluency and digital literacy throughout the organization.

A typical digital foundations training program can be online or in-person (virtual or live) and aims to get everyone on the same page.

For many organizations, online Digital Marketing 101 Foundations training is the easiest and most flexible way to address this issue. The advantage of online for foundations is that those who already have base knowledge can take the program quickly, while those needing more details can work at their own pace.

Executive Digital Training and Coaching

Getting your executive team onboard and at the forefront is key. Most executives and leaders didn’t grow their careers in a digital world. While they understand the importance, they often lack the knowledge and acumen themselves.

Create a training and coaching program for executives to champion digital and model the importance of training.

Digital Mastery Training

For those who are executing digital, evaluating digital or making strategic decisions you’ll need to go beyond the basics. These audiences need to fully understand digital and how it applies to their business.

This is where mastery training comes in to play.

Mastery training can focus on specific challenges or issues. For example digital content optimization and best practices, or measuring advertising.

Alternately, mastery can focus on broad knowledge from strategy to tactics to execution to measurement.

Mastery training is where you start to see ROI and improvements in your execution. This is hands-on and practical aimed at driving real results.


People are often a barrier in any transformation. In digital it is important that they feel excited and supported. It isn’t just about the training, but showing your commitment to their skills development will drive long-term success.

Want help? Contact us for a custom digital transformation training program.

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