The importance of data literacy has become increasingly blatant in recent years — primarily due to the damage that data illiteracy is causing.

Data literacy allows organizations to learn from the data they collect, and implement growth strategies that create opportunities for success. By contrast, companies with high levels of data illiteracy are unable to learn from their own information. This makes them ill-prepared for change, and unable to adapt in the face of a market shift.

Today, data literacy is often one of the biggest factors that separates transformative companies from organizations that fold in the face of change.

What is data literacy?

Data literacy is the ability to read, understand, analyze, work and communicate with data in its relevant context. Today, data literacy has quickly become a non-negotiable skill in many fields — including business.

Modern companies compile data faster than ever before: 90% of the world’s data was created in the past two years alone. On a daily basis, your ability to access, consume, and interpret data grows more important.

Data literacy is available to every business of every size. What was once a benefit has become a necessity: regardless of your company’s size, you need data literacy to improve operations, accelerate decision-making and draw powerful conclusions from the information you collect.

How to implement data literacy at your company

Teaching data literacy was once a university responsibility. Today, there are better ways to learn data collection, data analysis, and other critical skills that can improve data literacy across your organization.

Here are five powerful ways to improve data literacy in your company.

1. Establish clear leadership

Employees rely on their leaders to provide direction, support and knowledge — and to make decisions on a strategy level. Creating a clear data leadership structure provides clarity for your entire organization. 

You may choose data literacy leaders who already have a high level of data comprehension. In other cases, you might choose leaders who will oversee data-related education across the organization. Whoever you choose to lead data literacy efforts, ensure they have the time — and the leadership capabilities — to give data literacy the prioritization it deserves.

2. Identify and track success indicators

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are a direct gauge of how well your data literacy initiative is, or isn’t, working.

Identify targets (or metrics) for data literacy based on your organization’s business model. If you work for an eCommerce organization, for example, you might track product-related figures. Tracking KPIs also gives you the ability to reward top-performing employees for their efforts.

3. Choose simple, effective tools

When you decide to implement data literacy, you’ll sometimes use tools your organization hasn’t seen before. Whenever you introduce employees to new data tools, it’s important to keep them simple and straightforward. Complicated tools can lead to data-related errors, and a hesitance from some employees to use them.

Rather than trying to force your employees to work with tools that are foreign and/or unnecessarily complex, find resources that work for them. When possible, find data-related programs your employees might already be familiar with.

4. Remember that everyone learns differently

Different employees learn best in different ways. Some people might prefer to learn data literacy in a lecture-style format, where there is perhaps minor participation and more notetaking. Other employees might prefer more of a hands-on approach to data literacy, where they help collect data themselves for analysis.

Before beginning any data literacy instruction, it’s important to confirm that our teaching methods will resonate with employees. Consider asking employees for their learning preferences, and integrating them into your data lessons.

5. Enroll in data literacy training

When it comes to implementing and improving data literacy at your organization, professional training is always the most effective option.

Whether your company is corporate-sized or independent shop-sized, you can enroll in a data literacy development program.

Benefits of organization-wide data literacy include:

  • Clearer communication between employees and clients
  • Improved inner-company functionality and operations
  • Strengthened capability to make ethical data decisions
  • Higher, more organized company performance

Data has become massively influential in terms of a company’s ability to grow and succeed, but there’s just one big problem: many people are still not very good at understanding — let alone analyzing — the data they receive.

That’s why we created our Data Literacy Program .

Our program is designed for employers, or employees, looking to learn more about how to use data across an organization.

We’ll connect you to a network of diverse, top-shelf data professionals that will not only help you fill the gaps in your data literacy skillset and prepare your entire company to collect and analyze data to drive real growth.

Enroll in our program today to get started.