The best practice for building data fluency is reskilling your existing workforce

Companies are already focused on training their employees

Many companies are already focused on training their employees. In terms of actions companies have taken to build data skills, providing training—both online and onsite—lead the pack. Companies with mature and immature data fluency competencies alike are prioritizing training efforts.

In today’s workforce where change is the only constant, it makes sense that companies are focused on continuous learning initiatives. Training is a great way to keep employees engaged, and it enhances social inclusion and personal development—all while bolstering employability.

Nurture a culture of continuous learning to grow talent

Every company’s goal should be to have a data-fluent culture that brings together data talent, tools, and decision making to support company operations. A data-fluent culture today must be one that values continuous learning in order to keep up with constant changes in data science and technology. Forward-thinking companies aren’t just hiring data talent—they’re fostering a company culture that ensures employees have the opportunity to learn modern skills. And these are the companies that are investing in data fluency, which produces a virtuous cycle, enabling them to continue to attract and retain top talent. According to McKinsey, employees who are able to understand data concepts and access the data they need are more likely to consistently use data for decision making. Data-driven decisions, in turn, produce better results: Respondents from high-performing organizations are three times more likely to say their data and analytics initiatives have contributed at least 20% to earnings before interest and taxes over the past three (3).

(3) McKinsey, “Catch them if you can: How leaders in data and analytics have pulled ahead” September 2019

Companies are curating learning programs, not building them

The vast majority of the more than 300 L&D leaders surveyed recognize that leveraging online learning platforms is essential to building data fluency skills in their companies. This speaks to their role as educational curators—in other words, they no longer need to build training programs from scratch.

Online learning has helped companies shift from internal educational content creation to curating third-party resources, which maximizes program efficiency and allows employees to learn on their own time. They’re also seeing value in onsite training, where face-to-face interaction encourages collaboration and engagement. Many companies are even adopting blended learning programs that give learners the best of both worlds. Those with mature data fluency competencies also recognize the importance of establishing an internal Center of Excellence for data science, which 28% of overall survey respondents have done, and launching internal campaigns to promote data fluency, which 45% have done.

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