More than ever, corporations across all business sectors are gathering essential data. This is because intelligent data helps businesses achieve higher profits, enhance productivity, streamline processes, and improve decision-making. Corporations acknowledge the benefits and need for overall data understanding. However, strengthening the skills of an entire workforce is never easy.
Data literacy refers to one’s ability to interrogate, analyze, work with, and read data. The importance of data literacy is widespread as not only IT but other department heads also understand the need to make data-driven decisions. A major drawback of not possessing data literacy is painful delays in accessing data and deriving insights. The lower the data literacy capabilities of the team, more the time is required to access relevant information.
Then it should come as a no-brainer when IDC told the world that an average knowledge worker spends 30% of their working hours searching for relevant information.
Precious business hours that can translate to more value-added work are being spent foraging for information. Hence, it’s imperative to train and enhance the data literacy skills of resources inside the organization. Wondering how you can effectively educate the employees? Continue reading, and you will get meaningful insights on how to go about it.
Tips to Enhance Your Workforce’s Data Skills
Data literacy is not a skill that your employees can learn overnight. It incorporates problem-solving capabilities, and basic technological skills, along with analytical and critical thinking. Developing each aspect requires significant experience, training, and time.
Upskilling your workforce is the most effective option that can help boost data skills. Here are some tips you can employ in your organization:
- Develop a data literacy training program
The changing nature of jobs, technological advancements, and uncertainties in the business environment has resulted in skill gaps. A data literacy education program will help you handle the existing skill gaps in your organization. But how can you develop an efficient program?
There are different data literacy certification courses available online to start out. They will help define data literacy competencies and design learning experiences to suit the organizational needs.
- Ensure data skills are measurable
The next step must be skill assessment which will portray your employee’s capability levels post the training session. This will deliver oversight of existing competencies to your employees, learning and development managers, and the management.
Continuous assessment along with introducing data competencies as a measurable quotient in the appraisal process will improve implementation. It will also help identify the actual impacts of the learning program.
- Create a data-driven organizational culture
A great inhibitor to implementing data-driven decision-making is a term called “gut feeling”. This habit is more prevalent among experienced talent inside the organization, who rely on instincts more than data. The data literacy program must also take into consideration this attitude and address its root causes.
The best way is to portray a holistic picture of use cases, tools, and methods of handling data. In that case, you will enhance the employee’s knowledge of data and its impacts. To achieve that, you must ensure the learning program allows employees to understand the basics of various tools and applications. A learner can start out with basic spreadsheet tools like Excel, and Google Sheets. They can advance through the course to reach self-service BI tools like Power BI and Tableau.
- Introduce a Change Management Strategy
An attitude that’s the biggest example of Newton’s first law in human behavior – Employees are used to executing a set of tasks in a particular way. They tend to stay on that path and when any new method is introduced, they tend to reject it at face value. This is true in implementing data literacy programs and data practices inside a department or an organization.
As explained previously, instinct takes over, and the “we know better” attitude presents itself. To battle this inertia, it’s important to have a change management strategy. One of the points to improve adoption is to introduce data literacy as a key metric in the appraisal cycle explained earlier. The other methods in change management will be elaborated further.
- Employ a team of SMEs for data practice evaluation
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who breathe and live data will be a major player in organizations adopting data literacy practices. SMEs need not necessarily be from the same department; rather pick leaders across various functions whose decisions depend on actionable and data-driven insights. This team of experts will be equipped with valuable insights that will guide your workforce in delivering best practices. Having an SME within a function will ensure that all tasks being executed are aligned with a data-driven mindset. This is another method to implement a change management strategy.
Make sure to employ data analysts, data engineers, and data scientists to support these SMEs. Depending on the data source and operations scope, it is an ideal composition to help in data practice evaluation.
- Establish a data center of excellence incorporating individuals from all corners
You need to create a team of skilled and knowledgeable individuals who can provide best practices on data skills. Having a data center of excellence not only across functions but within various Shared Service Centers can also improve the overall adoption of data literacy programs. Even small enterprises outsourcing shared services to BPOs or setting up a hybrid ecosystem must stress on this practice.
CoE members will be responsible for monitoring adoption levels and implementing data best practices. They will be at the forefront of driving these changes and help disseminate knowledge across the length and breadth of the organization.
Data is now a valuable resource in the corporate sector and will continue becoming more impactful and essential in the coming years. Data allows every organization member to create a change. It may seem challenging to enhance the data skills of an entire workforce. However, it is a necessary and practical process in the current data-dominated environment.
Too much work to start out and become data-driven? What if we say there’s an easier way? Check out our webinar “Enabling Frontline Managers to Take Data-Driven Decisions with Conversational Insights” and get all your data questions answered today!