- Employees' lack of data literacy costs employers five days of productivity per person each year, according to a Jan. 22 report from Accenture and Qlik.
- Data can fuel a culture of innovation and growth but when employees don't know how to use it, productivity suffers thanks to procrastination and sick leave, the researchers said. An "eye-opening" three quarters of employees report feeling overwhelmed when working with data, the groups said, with some avoiding such tasks altogether.
- The key is continuous learning, according to the study. "There has been a focus on giving employees self-service access to data, rather than building individuals’ self-sufficiency to work with it," Jordan Morrow, global head of data literacy at Qlik, said in a statement. "Yet, expecting employees to work with data without providing the right training or appropriate tools is a bit like going fishing without the rods, bait or nets — you may have led them to water but you aren’t helping them to catch a fish.”
Workers are well aware of their skill gaps, according to other research. In fact, 37% of employees responding to a 2019 survey said they lacked proficiency in at least one skill or subject needed for a current or past job. Perhaps worse, more than 40% said they're uncomfortable asking their employer for training. Instead, many reported turning to a partner, child or grandchild for help.
Employees in other surveys have said they're ready and willing to participate in workplace training, but that they expect employers to initiate the effort — and foot the bill.
Learning and development professionals may be prepared to design and lead learning efforts, but they'll first have to identify a workforce's skill gaps. Data literacy may be one, but others are likely lurking, experts previously told HR Dive. A "performance analysis" — a review of customer complaints or refund data, for example — can inform learning priorities. Once a gap is identified, employers can train directly to those competencies, the experts said.