We know the industrial world to be more manual or physical than it is digital. The construction sector, in particular, prides itself on manual labor. That said, many construction businesses are taking some of their processes to the digital realm. And unfortunately, risks are coming with the transition. 

Mitigating them is much easier when employees are digitally literate, especially when those risks revolve around cybersecurity threats. 


Cybersecurity threats can impact the construction sector too

Many people believe construction is still all physical work. They imagine a construction team leader pulling out a paper blueprint and delegating tasks. And everyone climbing into their equipment to start work. 

However, construction is much more digitally forward these days. For example, many companies use a cloud storage system to house their documents, like contracts and designs. Digital marketing is used more often. Data analytics tools are common too. 

All of this participation in the digital world exposes the construction sector to more cybersecurity threats. Data breaches, specifically, can have massive consequences. Various large companies across the country have experienced them. 

For example, Hackers launched a supply chain attack against IT company SolarWinds. Not only did they get to spy on the doings of elite businesses, but more than 30,000 private and public organizations were affected by a software update the hackers embedded hacked code into. 

Solarwinds’ customer relationships were negatively impacted, and so was its reputation. In addition, there wasn’t a quick fix to either hack. So, operations were slowed for quite some time. 

Whether a construction company is small or large, they’re at risk for cybersecurity threats if they’re digitally connected even in the slightest way. Protect your reputation, customers, and business with strict cybersecurity measures. 


Training employees to be digitally literate can help 

One of the best lines of defense against cybersecurity threats is your team. A digitally literate team understands the ins and outs of cybersecurity. They’re educated on the following: 

  • What cybersecurity is 
  • How hackers think and behave 
  • Basic cybersecurity terminologies 
  • How to identify cybersecurity threats 
  • The most common cybersecurity threats
  • How to protect themselves against cybersecurity threats 
  • The equipment, software, and data you use and why it must be protected 

When you and your team are well-versed in the above and all else that comes with cybersecurity, you can better prevent threats. You can also improve how you minimize the damage of a cybersecurity threat should it happen. 


Digital literacy can also help manage other risks 

Aside from cybersecurity threats, digital literacy can help you manage other risks. 

For example, labor shortages is on the list of top construction risks. Despite the abundance of construction projects, it’s tough finding top talent to complete them. Implementing modern software is a great way to attract young, talented workers. 

Inconsistent reporting is another risk construction companies face. Manual reporting processes are especially prone to errors and delays. For instance, if you see an issue while in the field, you have to wait until you’re back in the office to report it. 

Solid mobile reporting software allows immediate incident reporting. No important details will be forgotten, and you can transmit the information in real-time to keep your team updated. 

When construction employees are digitally literate, they can use various software to help them manage risks aside from cybersecurity threats. 


Tips for developing digital literacy in construction employees 

Teaching employees new skills is challenging. This is especially true when it’s a skill that isn’t a primary part of their duties or industry, like digital skills in construction.

Do the following to make the challenge of developing digital literacy in your employees more manageable. 

Find out where everyone is 

The first, and maybe, the most important step in helping your team become more digitally literate is communicating with them about where they’re at. Find out how digitally literate they currently are and their concerns about becoming more digitally refined. 

The former is critical because you must understand what each person already knows to form the best development plan for them. The latter is vital because getting people on board with change is one of the biggest obstacles to it sticking. If you understand why they’re hesitant, you can better convince them why they shouldn’t be. 

Schedule an initial meeting with each employee to discuss the above. Make sure you take detailed notes about what’s shared in each meeting.  

Personalize development plans 

Once you find out where everyone stands, personalize development plans for each team member. Plans tailored to each employee have a better chance of resonating with them and building the level of digital literacy you’re looking for. 

You can absolutely create a single digital literacy training program that’s incredibly detailed, covering digital literacy for beginner to expert-level knowledge and skill. But you must ensure that each employee is starting that training in a place that helps them build off their current level of digital knowledge. 

If you want to take the time to customize development plans for each employee without a single digital literacy training program in place, you can do this too. Take the following steps for this option: 

  • Document what the employee needs/wants to learn regarding digital literacy 
  • Detail how they will be trained on these topics and by who 
  • Create a resource library for their plan with all they’ll need to learn effectively 
  • Discuss how they can access their training 
  • Determine how they’ll be assessed on their skill and knowledge development 
  • Establish a deadline for completed training 

Take this outline and create personalized digital literacy development plans for your construction employees. 

As construction becomes more digitally focused, so should its workers. Consider the advice above to help your team develop digital literacy.