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How to Support Your Interns’ Digital Literacy

Written by Ellen Zhang on June 18, 2021
3 min read

Digital literacy is one of the most important skills in the modern workplace. Being able to use technology to solve problems, communicate across channels, and create valuable insights can provide your company a competitive advantage and set your interns apart. While the idea seems simple, there is no shortage of complicated software that your employees will have to deal with on a regular basis. Improving the digital competencies in your workplace ensures that every employee meets basic technological standards. This article will outline the process of how you can support your interns' and employees’ digital skills and improve overall productivity.

Conduct an Assessment

The first step to improving your company’s digital competencies involves understanding the current situation. It is important to assess which technologies and digital tools are critical to success. Collate a list of how your business uses technology, and prioritize the skills based on importance. If only one person in an organization uses Microsoft Access, then there is no reason to develop a training program for a large group of people. For more inspiration, Anders Advisors has an excellent list of questions to ask when conducting a technology assessment.

Once you have a grasp on the technological needs of your business, you need to find out how comfortable your employees are with the required digital tools. A pre-employment survey is an excellent opportunity to explore the strengths and weaknesses of your employees. For current employees, a simple questionnaire can be helpful, and using both methods can create a robust understanding of how to develop your company’s training program.

Establish Value

While many employees are generally open to learning, technology can be intimidating and some may feel that continued learning is not relevant to their particular jobs. It is important to explain to your interns and employees that additional education is critical for the health of your company and your intern’s ability to be successful in the future. HR managers must understand continuous learning programs create value by increasing employee loyalty and retention, improving productivity, and developing better interdepartmental teamwork. There is also value for employees, it is important to communicate that completing training is tied with positive career options, both at your company and beyond. Potentially tying training to increased compensation and job promotion can encourage your interns and employees to be invested in your company’s future.

Provide Training

Once you have determined what skills your company needs and your interns’ comfort level with various technologies, you can develop and implement a training program. The good news is that there is no shortage of training programs. In all likelihood, the software developer has likely created mountains of content on how to use their technology. At Symba for example, our team has created customer success tutorials that help our clients organize their workspace and improve productivity. While it is not recommended to share every minute detail; select excerpts of papers, presentations, and videos that are most relevant to your organization’s needs. Additionally, third-party organizations like Skillshare provide a robust curriculum for common workplace technology.

One of the best methods in your continued learning tool kit may be developing a peer mentorship program. This program would mainly consist of empowering your all-star technology users and letting them teach their coworkers. This method is especially popular when teaching technologies that are specific to an individual department or a handful of people rather than the company at large. For more information check out My Tech Decision’s Employee Training Tactics.

Evaluate and Fine Tune

Once your training program is complete, it is important to evaluate how it went and how to improve the process in the future. The first step in evaluating your program is to determine if the training outcomes align with the organization’s overall objectives. This is a great opportunity to send a follow-up questionnaire to interns and their managers asking about tech comfort and skill levels. Next, compare the results with those taken before training. The evaluation process will help to increase the effectiveness of the program and can help dramatically change the way you approach the training process.Interns can be extremely beneficial to your organization and ensuring they have the correct skills is paramount to increasing productivity. For more information on best practices for optimizing your internship program and Symba’s program management platform, sign up for a demo.

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Ellen Zhang

Ellen is the Chief Marketing Officer at Symba. Prior to Symba, Ellen worked in the cybersecurity industry, marketing data loss prevention (DLP) and cyber insurance solutions. She graduated from Boston College with a degree focused on Marketing and Information Systems.

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