Why you should invest in the data literacy of your employees

What is data literacy and how should you invest in it?

This is why you should invest in data literacy

As a result of digitalisation, large amounts of data are collected almost everywhere or they are created as a by-product. This can be customer data collected in a CRM system, but also, for example, production data, bank data or data on traffic flow. This data enables completely new possibilities for analysis and thus the potential to gain important insights for the success of companies. This gives companies that make decisions based on data analysis a competitive advantage. In order to realise the full potential of their data, companies need to encourage their employees to use the data for their respective activities – in all departments as well as in all positions. Therefore, many companies aim to establish a data culture data culture. For these efforts to be successful, however, all employees should be able to speak the language of data. They should have data literacy.

What is data literacy?

Data literacy is the ability to deal competently with data. This includes skills to:

  • Capture and collect data
  • Manage and adapt data
  • Analyse and interpret data
  • Evaluate data
  • Present and visualise data
  • Apply data

>>Data literacy is a skill that enables employees from all areas and levels of the organisation to use data to answer the right questions, build knowledge, present findings and make decisions.<<

Why are investments necessary?

Almost every company invests a lot of money in collecting and storing large amounts of data. However, the mere accumulation of data is not yet sufficient to generate added value from this data, because it does not mean that the data is also used and understood.

A data scientist extracts information from such large amounts of data, which can then be used to derive recommendations for action. To do this, he needs many different skills. For example, he or she must be able to cope with a wide variety of database systems, operate interfaces and analyse data. But there are very few such specialists. Therefore, it is obvious to empower other employees to collect and analyse data. A self-service BI system, for example, enables all users to create reports and analyses themselves and integrates source data from different databases for this purpose. This way, companies can gain new insights from their data, correlate data with each other and explore them without burdening the IT department with costly analyses. However, in order to gain truly meaningful insights from existing data, it is not enough for employees to have access to such BI software. Rather, they need to be data literate so that they understand what questions the system can answer and how the data can help them make decisions.

While most managers are convinced of the importance of data literacy, in reality it seems that the majority of employees do not know how to use data adequately or feel insecure about it. Even managers often struggle to understand and work with data. However, training in data literacy is often only offered to employees who already work predominantly with data, such as data analysts. This can become a problem for companies if it is assumed that all employees are data literate.

 

Risks:

  • due to a lack of data literacy, wrong decisions can be made.
  • Faulty decisions reduce trust in data, making employees and managers less willing to work with data.
  • lack of data literacy means that analyses take more time than necessary. This can lead to missed opportunities. At the same time, this results in higher personnel costs.
  • Employees feel insecure about working with data, which can lead to dissatisfaction.

 

Continuously invest in data literacy

Here’s what you can do to make your staff data literate.

1. Train employees

Many BI systems are intuitive to use. Nevertheless, your employees should be trained in how to use the system. However, training should not only focus on how to use the software, but also give employees a basic understanding of data, its value and aggregation. This will enable your staff to critically assess the quality of the data, recognise correlations and turn them into insights. If you want to realise the full potential of your data, as many employees as possible from all areas of the company should learn these skills.

2. Exemplify data-driven decision-making

Data literacy should always be part of the corporate culture. Therefore, it is important that managers practically exemplify data-driven decision-making. In this way, they show employees how data can support them in their daily work and how it can be applied. Leaders should also continuously support, encourage and motivate their employees in the use of data.

3. Measure data literacy

By measuring data literacy, you can check whether your efforts are successful. To do this, you should identify individual success indicators that should improve as the use of data increases, and regularly assess their progress. You can also check the skills of your staff and ask where support is still needed. As data literacy development is an ongoing process, technologies change regularly and new data sources are added all the time, this will allow you to respond to changing needs.

Conclusion

Companies should exploit the full potential of their data in order to be competitive. This requires a cultural change in companies, which can only succeed if employees and managers have sufficient data literacy skills. Investing in data literacy is worthwhile in the long run, as it allows better decisions to be made, competitive advantages to be gained and also increases employee satisfaction.

 

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