Data Literacy: How Businesses Can Develop This Crucial Skill

Businesses spend a lot of money in their future. We are entering into the next phase of the technological revolution and robotics, automated processes, and artificial intelligence are already being incorporated into everyday use. Most companies use data to drive their operations and make the most out of emerging technologies.

Also, in recent times, the coronavirus pandemic has sped up the rate at which organizations use new tools and processes, embracing digital transformation. However, even with all these tools and integration efforts, many businesses still struggle with their digital transformation goals and have trouble facing the future.

This is because despite all the focus on technology and tools, at its heart digital transformation is all about people and how they use the tech made available to them. There is no use in incorporating the latest technologies of the employees of the business do not know how to leverage them properly.

The solution to this issue? Data literacy.

Data literacy, or the lack of it, is the main barrier to successfully achieving digital transformation goals. Let’s take a quick look at what businesses can gain from employees well-versed in data literacy and how your company can adapt to it.

Data Literacy and Why It Matters

Let’s start by defining data literacy. According to educators and industry experts, data literacy is the ability to read, work with, analyze, and contend with data. In other words, it is the ability to properly communicate with data, effectively using data for favorable business actions and outcomes.

To derive meaning or value from data, one needs to understand what the data is saying. They also need to understand the context of the data, as well as its source and construction to make informed decisions based on their findings.

All employees in a business involved with data-driven decisions need to learn to think critically about the data they use for analytics and how they assess and interpret the results of their work. For instance, a business team may discover where data needs clarification for a project. Augmented analytics for the speedy delivery of critical data and making reports clearer is vital to data literacy. 

Data-driven businesses that produce data literate employees have a greater contribution to their roles and have a competitive edge in an evolving industry. Businesses need to take steps to educate their employees to become data literate. This is because organizations have to:

  • Communicate in a sort of data lingua franca for improved understanding of discussions about it
  • Identify unexpected operational issues and identify their root causes
  • Avoid making ill-informed decisions because of data misinterpretation

How Businesses Can Improve Data-Literacy Among Employees

Here are a few ways how organizations can nurture data literacy in their workforce with little effort.

  1. Use Data in Everyday Work

One of the best and simplest ways that staff can start learning data quickly is by using it as often as possible.

Promoting a data-driven culture starts at the top. Leaders should discuss the company’s goals through metrics and dashboards to show the actual performance by the facts and figures. They should also reinforce these in their written and verbal communications

Senior members need to use data and show others how it can be done. To exceed communication, the next way to use data every day is for leaders to support the growth of their teams and individual employees through data-driven goal setting.

For example, using OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) is a good way to implement the regular use of data. They are an agenda to set quarterly performance targets (objectives) and define the significant metrics that establish success toward reaching these targets (key results).

Using data for everyday tasks and to attain certain business goals makes learning data more personal and rewarding for employees. At the same time, it benefits the organization as the employees involved begin to shape their tasks using the power of data.

  1. Use Data to Guide Change

Technology is changing at a rapid pace, as are the way businesses operate. This makes it necessary for all levels of staff in a business to make quick and informed decisions based on data.

This means busting traditional silos across the organization, centralizing data for wider use and application, creating new and innovative solutions, and using APIs to make data accessible. 

Things like hackathons or proof-of-concept workshops should be arranged to encourage inquisitiveness, agility, collaboration, and innovation- the key features of any data-driven organization. These exercises stimulate the brain and promote creativity and team-spirit within the workforce.

Also, higher-ups in the organizations need to promote these tools to improve both customer and employee experiences. The best way to implement permanent change is to use data that supports it. This enables businesses to reach their digital transformation goals and become truly data-driven organizations.

  1. Provide and Encourage Data Training Courses

To reinforce a data-driven culture, business leaders should emphasize the value of data skills by providing free, accessible learning opportunities so employees can improve their data literacy.

As technology continues to alter the way people work, data literacy will become more and more important across all sectors of the business.

Because digital transformation is an ongoing process, employee training has to integrate learning into mundane work and emphasize a growth mindset to change and adapt as technology changes. As a result, training should be quick, enjoyable, and relevant to the employees.

To encourage learning, companies should incentivize these training and workshop opportunities to the employees. Rewards will further highlight data as a priority and keep staff interested to keep learning.

Wrapping Up

Employees are an organization’s greatest asset, so making sure that the people have the right skills is vital for business success. For these reasons, and all those outlined above businesses need to encourage the use of data in everyday processes, use data to lead the way to change, and encourage constant learning about data. Understanding the language of data will help businesses use the tools available to their fullest extent, making digital transformation much more achievable.

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