Identifying and prioritising your digital training requirements

After conducting a digital skills audit, the next step is to identify what training your team needs. This resource guides you through the process and provides a scoring system to help prioritise the most valuable skills.

This resource is available in English and Welsh
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Image courtesy of Ioan Said Photography © Ioan Said

Identifying and prioritising your digital training requirements

1. What are your digital skills needs?

There are many aspects of ‘digital’ that your organisation may feel it needs to know about but not all of them are important to you achieving your goals. Heritage organisations often feel under pressure to use the latest digital technology, but this can lead to missing important knowledge or skills that are crucial to delivering your business plan or digital strategy. Digital technologies have changed the types of knowledge your organisation needs as well as many of the ways in which you work. But it is important to understand how this impacts on the skills and capabilities your team needs to use them successfully.

In this resource, our expert, Michael Turnpenny, Head of Museum Development Yorkshire, explains how you can identify, develop, or secure important digital skills. You will learn about how strategic human resource management approaches can help in your use of digital skills and how to prioritise their development.

2. First steps

Planning for your digital skills needs means understanding the future demands on your organisation and the current skills and knowledge of your team. It means identifying where there might be skill gaps, taking action to address them. You will want the right people in the right place at the right time and at the right cost.

There are three key influences on your organisation’s skills needs:

1. The environment in which you are working
2. The nature and expectations of your workforce
3. How work is done (digitisation and automation).

Sometimes you need to take two steps back before moving forward. Planning for skills needs is one of those times. Fortunately, your organisation will have already done much of this thinking already. In order to understand your digital skills needs, you need to review any existing strategy and planning documents. This might include a list of strategic objectives, a PESTLE (Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal and Environmental) analysis or any other types of analysis you may have done. Read more about the PESTLE analysis on the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development (CIPD) website.

Against each of your strategic objectives, create two lists to answer the following questions:

1. What digital skills do you need today to deliver that objective?
2. What digital skills will you need in the future to deliver that objective?

Key points to remember

  • Your digital skills needs should reflect your organisation and its objectives.
  • Your digital skills needs will be as simple or as complicated as you need them to be – it all depends on what you want to achieve.
  • Many digital skills needs will reflect the environment in which you are working and the nature and expectations of your workforce.
  • Upskilling in the latest social media platform will not help your organisation if your colleagues don’t know how to access stored files or use your collections management database.

3. How to prioritise and develop key skills

Once you have a list of skills your organisation needs, it is time to look at how to prioritise those skills and work out how to acquire or retain them. First, identify whether these are skills that everybody must have, or whether they relate to specific teams or even individual roles.

The framework below is adapted from competency matrix guidelines developed by the CIPD. There is an example below the framework to illustrate how to use it.

The CIPD competency matrix

Skill Core competencies Common competencies Technical or job specific competencies Leadership competencies Meta competencies
Skill A
Skill B
Skill C
Skill D

Digital skills example

Skill Core competencies Common competencies Technical or job specific competencies Leadership competencies Meta competencies
Social media skills X
Blogging X
Designing and using 3D technology X
App development X

You can download a Word version of this framework (172kb) and complete one for your organisation. This exercise will help you prioritise and focus your key digital skills needs.

Extending your analysis

Once you have identified the key digital skills needed, you can think about how to develop them. David Ulrich popularised the ‘Six B’ framework to identify how best to develop the skills and knowledge of your team. Sometimes you do not need to have a skill all of the time and on other occasions you may be able to free up resource by removing a colleague who cannot use their skills well enough.

Skill Buy Build Borrow Bind Bounce Bound
(Recruit people with these skills) (Train existing colleagues to have these skills) (Partner with another organisation or consultant to transfer skills) (Retain talented people) (Remove low performing individuals) (Move people with skills into higher positions)
Skill A e.g. storing and sharing files X

We have a training budget and tend not to recruit new staff very frequently. This skill is easily obtained.

Skill B
Skill C
Skill D

You can download a Word template of the ‘Six B’ framework (152kb) to help you reflect on how best to develop the skills of your organisation.

Further resources

Harvard Business Review: Why Your Organisation’s Future Demands a New Kind of HR

CIPD: Competence & Competency Frameworks

CIPD: Essential skills

One by One: Building digitally confident museums

More help here

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How to improve the digital skills of your volunteers

The move towards digital has opened up many great opportunities for small to medium-sized heritage organisations to make a big impact, but also presents some challenges. Many heritage organisations rely on volunteers to operate and the digital skills of a volunteer team may be limited. This resource by Dig Yourself provides guidance on how to identify the digital training needs of your volunteers and how get started with digital upskilling with limited resources.


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Digital tools Skills Staff Team Training Workforce development
Published: 2022
Resource type: Articles

Creative Commons Licence Except where noted and excluding company and organisation logos this work is shared under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) Licence

Please attribute as: "Identifying and prioritising your digital training requirements (2022) by Michael Turnpenny supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, licensed under CC BY 4.0


More help here

Digital Heritage Hub is managed by Arts Marketing Association (AMA) in partnership with The Heritage Digital Consortium and The University of Leeds. It has received Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and National Lottery funding, distributed by The Heritage Fund as part of their Digital Skills for Heritage initiative. Digital Heritage Hub is free and answers small to medium sized heritage organisations most pressing and frequently asked digital questions.

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