By Danielle Neben, Editor at NFI
How digitally fit is your company? And how digitally fit are you? These are the key questions facing private and public sectors as they embark on their journey to digitize internally and towards their users. In order to do that, they need to invest heavily in upskilling their people for the future as there is a large gap between current and future digital skills.
PwC started its own journey by launching their “Digital Fitness Assessment” App to upskill both employees and clients. The DFA app was developed as a tool for both internal and external use and is now a vital part of the PwC internal upskilling program called “Digitizing the Network”. Through the initiative “New world.New Skills”, PwC is committed, over a period of three years, to spend USD 3 million globally on upskilling.
We had the chance of speaking to Anne-Lene Festervoll and Audun Finnestad, both Partners at PwC in Norway, about their focus on digital fitness.
Can you tell me about the Digital Fitness App?
As part of the “New World. New Skills” initiative, we want to have a call to action to address the digital competency gap and help both society as a whole and our clients to close that gap. We need our workforce to be skilled and relevant in order to support our clients on their journey. The DFA is hence part of a bigger purpose and builds on PwCs mission to build trust in society and solve important problems.
The Digital Fitness App was first developed by PwC US together with The Katzenbach Center, leveraging 10 years of digital survey data. It was launched in 2016 and taken into use with clients in the US for the first time in 2017. The current version was launched in 2018 and updated in 2019 with the digital fitness score connected to 300+ e-learning items/courses accessible in the app as a means to assess, learn and grow. One of the greatest challenges for individuals trying to upskill their digital competence is to manoeuvre and sort out relevant content through the high volume of content available on the web. PwC’s DFA helps you with that, - curating the best-available content from leading providers globally. Content is sourced from PwC/Strategy&, as well as external sources such as Forrester, Business Insider, TED and IDC. There are over 60 digital trends including: AI, cool things to know, digital terms you should know, IoT, virtual reality and social media. The content is presented as articles, videos and podcasts.
Digital competence is now added to the competence we need to measure, and we use new tools to assess the gaps. The approach looks at a combination of four factors relevant to successful digital competence: Behaviour > mindset > relationships > skills.
The app can clearly and effectively measure each user's competence gap, provide reporting and recommendations as part of the overall upskilling process.
How does the app keep you engaged?
As with any app, there are four elements to ensure user engagement and user experience:
Having updated and relevant content.
Training program to help you improve your score. Rewards.
Alerts. If not logged in, you get frequent reminders “Your plan is getting lonely”.
You can also listen to podcasts when exercising or driving your car. Some presentations are in short bullet form while others dig deeper. You can log in at any time and at a length that suits you.
Providing the Digital Fitness App for free during COVID-19
From the outset of COVID-19, businesses needed to quickly adapt to a new normal where work was done remotely and digitally. From early April 2020, PwC offered a free version of the app to help society and for people to learn and improve their skills, available until July 31st, 2020. The only difference between the paid and free version is that there is no reporting or customer support in the latter. The content is however open to all.
We think it is a great way to start learning about different areas in digital technology and put you on a path for future education.
Since making it free, it has become one of the top 100 business apps in the US.
How has the experience been so far at PwC in Norway?
We will roll out the Digitizing the Network program, including the DFA, to our employees in September 2020. It is part of the bigger initiative“New World. New Skills”. Our primary objective is to support our clients and society in closing the growing mismatch between the competence we have and the competence we need. We want to take part in the dialogue, create awareness and share our knowledge across sectors to ensure that the skills, training and schooling suits the future needs and demands in the world.
Since the app was made free in April, we have over 600 downloads among employees and close to 2000 in Norway as a whole.
“It fires a spark to do be a better version of yourself”
The feedback has been excellent. The revealing part is when you do the personal assessment you tend to experience a lower score than expected. And that ignites a spark to do better, continue the training and improve your score. It also helps us to brush up on certain topics in preparation for client meetings.
Personally, we were both shocked at our low scores. We saw a need to improve and invest time to be more relevant for our clients. One of the key eye openers was the question around how others relate to you as a digital person. And maybe we are not the ones they seek out. It helped bring us up to date on topics where we lacked deep knowledge and we also made new discoveries, such as how urban cities are getting overheated due to lack of shade and how technology can play a role in the solution.
At PwC Norway, we have a general initiative to improve our competitive edge and competitiveness. As for the DFA, we aim for 90% user level amongst employees and help identify areas for development. With the reporting module, this makes it easy for us to measure and track.
We are also excited that the 170 new employees starting in the Autumn will put it into use.
PwC is one of the largest employers globally and in Norway and they will enrol on a program where they will learn how we work at PwC and with our clients. As many of our PwC employees will ultimately work outside PwC, educating our employees in fact adds to a general level of education in society.
What focus will you have with PwC clients in Norway?
When working with clients, we offer this as a tool for their overall digital transformation strategies and projects. We have already worked with two pilots and gathered useful knowledge and experience.
Some of our clients may not roll out the app to the entire workforce. To support their initial assessments, one of our key learnings has been to develop a survey to identify and review employee competence.
Call to action by convening the parties and supporting CSR
We want to support society by convening parties across public, private and voluntary sector as well as academia for a dialogue on the growing digital competency gaps and the availability of key skills, as well as support the alignment between conditions, funding, and focus. We help to put together the different stakeholders to have a conversation on how to solve common problems and to give direction for their digital transformation programs. Furthermore, we want to contribute to society by sharing our knowledge and skills. For example, supporting job training for the unemployed or skills training for teachers and leaders. In practise this is UN sustainability goal nr 17, partnership for the solutions.
Our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. This is one way that we contribute to our purpose by offering this app for free in a challenging time. For our clients, it is an important tool to build competence. And for us in PwC we become trusted advisors with sufficient digital knowledge and skills to create value for our clients and help closing the growing competency gaps in the society.
“Our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems”
Increasing internal digital competency, knowledge and relevance is key for the future.