How to Promote Data Literacy Across Your Team? – Within the next decade, data-driven working will change entirely.
With the ever-increasing reality of the metaverse, a space consisting of physical and virtual worlds through virtual and augmented reality, data-literate employees are in for a big change.
Today, organizations with a rich, confident workforce of data-literate individuals find that productivity, efficiency, and employee performance increase.
With data at the forefront of their operations, they successfully developed a data-driven culture consisting of individuals who are comfortable, knowledgeable, and well-equipped to use data collaboratively in their decision-making processes.
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What is Data Literacy?
Data literacy, not to be confused with data analytics, is the ability to read, understand, and argue with data to support an argument.
Enterprises with high data literacy rates increase employee performance since they are better equipped and comfortable preparing and presenting data.
Based on the Bloomberg Data for Good Exchange Conference’s data literacy definition, the ability to understand data encompasses these four abilities:
- Reading of Data- The ability to comprehend data concerning the outside world.
- Using the Data- The ability to create, manage, and acquire data.
- Analyzing the Data- The ability to sort and compare data.
- Arguing with Data- The ability to share and argue with an audience through data.
Why is Data Literacy Important?
Data is one of the most valuable assets for all businesses, organizations, and industries.
But unfortunately, as data becomes increasingly utilized, entities fail to provide employees with the proper skills and abilities to assess their data.
Since most, if not all, industries use data as a resource to promote growth and drive business decisions, it stipulates someone who can understand and communicate said data to others.
While many companies employ data-analytic leaders to simplify their data for efficient decision-making, data becomes even more powerful when the entity promotes data literacy across the entire organization.
According to Forbes, promoting data literacy creates a data culture where all members contribute, rather than the process confined to the IT departments.
As a result, high data literacy rates lead to confident and proactive employees capable of handling, understanding, and interpreting data.
How to Assess Data Literacy?
For an organization to establish a data literate workforce, data specialists and leaders need to promote a data-driven culture through training and teaching data literacy.
However, before engaging in data-driven practices, organizations should assess the current level of their data-literate employees.
For example, Gartner, a billion-dollar tech research firm, mentions some assessment-based questions for organization leaders to consider answering and asking themselves. For example,
- The percentage of people capable of interpreting simple data sets, graphs, and statistical operations.
- Who on your team can develop an accurate case from numbered data sets?
- How many data leaders can explain the output from their processes and algorithms to aid in data-driven decision-making for your company?
One way to answer these questions is by having your team complete a data literacy assessment to identify each employee’s data comprehension proficiency.
According to Vizlib’s Data Literacy Playbook, evaluating your team’s data literacy level will provide accurate insights to deploy a roadmap outlining the start of your data-driven journey. With time, as your organization cycles through training and upskilling, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate.
Re-evaluating an individual’s data literacy level points out strengths and weaknesses in your data literacy journey. It can also help individual employees identify areas for improvement.
6 Ways to Promote Data Literacy Across Your Team
With the technological advances of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the ever-growing need for data, the next decade highlights a significant transformation of how the global workforce works. For example, the Data Literacy Project research demonstrates that data literacy competence will be a required entry-level skill within the next decade.
Yet, based on responses from 1,200 executive-level managers and 6,000 employees, only 11% of employees reported full confidence in their literacy abilities. This lack of literacy training prompts even more urgency from the global workforce (about ⅖ths) to leave their employers for better data literacy training and upskilling opportunities.
In fact, 81% of executive-level managers worldwide believe they need to upskill their data literacy if they don’t want to risk replacement.
Leaders should promote data literacy across their organization for the current state of their organization and the future, so here are six ways to promote data literacy across your team.
1. Ensure the Leader Leads with Confidence in Their Data Abilities
Executive leaders and IT leaders must commit, participate, and guide employees in the shift towards a data-literate entity.
According to Gartner, leaders need to ensure workers use data-supported language in conversations and meetings that involve business outcomes and decision-making.
In addition, to promote data literacy, leaders need to show confidence in the direction towards training and upskilling a data-literate organization. In other words, leaders should actively create a data-driven office culture by emphasizing the importance of data and inspiring a will to learn more.
2. Create and Adjust Training Programs To Cover All Data Literacy Levels
When organizations initiate the transition towards a data-literate workforce, employees begin at many different levels, making a one-size-fits-all program unrealistic.
Business leaders should ensure consistency with data literacy programs. For example, leaders could make learning data literacy basics mandatory for all employees.
With mandatory training programs, every employee will acquire the skills needed to read, use, argue and analyze data, which, in turn, promotes a data-driven company culture.
3. Conduct Continual Data Literacy Assessments for Growth
As discussed above, data literacy assessments provide valuable information for executive leaders and a better understanding of ones’ data literacy level.
In addition, data literacy assessments can help leaders choose optimal tools for each team member based on the current level of their data-literate workforce.
It’s common for leaders to miscalculate the data literacy abilities of their employees after initiating, training, and teaching them data literacy. In other words, sometimes leaders mistakenly affirm that their employees are ready to use data and can use their data literacy skills adequately but soon find their sentiments to be incorrect. It actually happens more often than not.
This issue of overestimation makes it vital for leaders to promote a team trusting and understanding of limitations and expectations of data. In other words, data can act as an addition to complement and guide your team’s decision-making processes and outcomes.
4. Emphasize the Benefits of Data
The benefits of data may still be unclear to some, making it vital for executive leaders to emphasize its benefits. Employees shouldn’t regard data as a burden to their teams’ workflow.
One way to accomplish this is by showing how data enhances the decision-making accuracy by allowing your team to make and see the outcome of their decisions. These decisions should be supported and decided by data because of their newly acquired or newly enhanced ability to use, interpret, and read data.
5. Use Demonstrable Data Literacy Skills To Create Fun Data Visualization
Data visualization is a visually appealing representation of, usually, complex data made to communicate the data clearly and in a manner that humans find attractive. Data visualization often consists of graphs, plots, infographics, and other data visualizations that are typically presented using complementary colors.
Take a look at some fun examples of different types of visualizations.
While aesthetically pleasing visualizations can make data appear exciting, data visualizations also increase the risk of distorting the overriding message, so the creator should be well-equipped with data literacy skills.
6. Build and Establish Widespread Company Trust To Promote Data-driven Processes
Executive-level managers should ensure their employees trust the information provided in the data sets.
Promoting trust in data ensures the organization uses data ethically by dedicating your team to full transparency of its uses.
In addition, leaders should guide the trust of data on the individual level. Most employees recognize data as an asset but choose to exclude it in their decision-making process.
According to the Data Literacy Project research, 45% of executive-level managers rely on their intuition over data to make decisions. At the same time, 46% of workers reported that they made intuition-based decisions because of occasional mistrust of data.
Promoting an organizational culture of workers requires a confident and informed leader capable of influencing a team of workers trusting the information displayed in front of them.
At the same time, employees should know that if they mistrust the data, they should challenge, rather than follow it blindly.
As an entity’s data literacy journey continues, data literacy assessments can indicate a team’s willingness to trust the information in the data set.
Final Thoughts: The Concept of Data Literacy Will Never Stop Changing
Help your team embrace the data-driven way of work because it’s not going anywhere.
Ten years from now, the knowledge and understanding of data literacy won’t look anything like it does today. This is because as technology advances, so will data literacy.
The knowledge needed for one to be data-literate is infinite and ever-changing, so it’s important that your team embraces change and accepts the endless cycle of upskilling their data literacy knowledge.