Developing Digital Skills in Swiss SMEs

A roadmap to developing digital skills in Swiss SMEs.

Developing Digital Skills in Swiss SMEs
Ilustrating the complexity and relevancy of digital skills all around us.

A roadmap to Digital Competence


Developing digital skills in Swiss SMEs lies in the focus of this research. This Thesis highlights the importance of continuously developing employees digital competencies to keep pace with ongoing digitization. Since SMEs constitute the majority of companies in Switzerland, ensuring they thrive in an increasingly digital world is crucial to maintain competitiveness.


In our fast-paced digital landscape, it is crucial to include employees in the adoption process of new technologies through digital skill development. . This thesis is particularly relevant for practitioners seeking to understand the best practices in digital skill development and training methods.


The study identifies several key practices that facilitate digital transformation in Swiss SMEs, including strong management support, structured training programs, and effective integration of digital tools. It highlights the importance of fostering a supportive company culture that promotes continuous learning and adaptability. The research also offers practical recommendations to start their digital skill development journey!

Implications for Practitioners

  • An active involvement and support from Management are crucial in driving digital initiatives and signaling their importance to the entire organization.
  • Conducting an initial assessment of the skill gap followed by structured training programs helps employees develop relevant digital skills for their positions.
  • Communication is key! Effective change management practices, include clear communication and involvement of employees to reduce resistance and foster their engagement.
  • Balancing resources is essential for a successful digital transformation - Employees development must be prioritized.
  • Encouraging a culture of continuous learning and innovation ensures SMEs can adapt to evolving digital landscapes, thus remaining flexible and able to adapt to change.


The research employs a qualitative approach, based on semi-structured interviews across various Swiss SMEs. The data collected from these interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis to identify key themes and practices, which form parts of the key implications. This methodology provided in-depth insights into the strategies and challenges of digital competence development in SMEs, offering a comprehensive understanding of the subject.


By implementing the identified key practices and recommendations, Swiss SMEs receive an initial starting point and guidance to follow along on enhancing their digital capabilities, to help reach their strategic goals. This study not only contributes to the literature on digital transformation but also serves as a practical guide for businesses aiming to navigate the digital era successfully.