Like every great historical event, the fourth industrial revolution, too, has resulted in a fissure: between a present rapidly moving towards a future that is vastly different from the past. It manifests most prominently in the form of the rapid digital transformation of business processes – and the human workforce which is struggling to adapt to and thrive with this paradigm shift.
But what about data readiness?
Data readiness, as a concept, deals with equipping individuals with the necessary skills and tools that enable them to not only be a part of the digital progress but also to be at its forefront. It is essential to survive in today’s world because we are no longer moving towards a digital-first future – we are already living in it.
The ability to read, work with, analyse, and argue with data empowers individuals to make astute, data-driven decisions by identifying relevant and accurate facts from the deluge of information.
Data-driven decision-making has already become a critical part of business processes. Approximately 98% of the global business leaders acknowledge the role of data in making decisions.
However, data readiness remains an esoteric idea as only a small percentage of individuals currently possess adequate data training. The report further dwells upon this need-gap, highlighting how only one in ten companies in the Asia Pacific have implemented relevant measures to ensure data literacy across all verticals.
In light of this fact, here are some of the ways the HR function can take an active role to enable a data literate culture across their organisation:
Enabling The Workforce To Become Future-Ready
There is no denying the role of HR teams in providing the workforce with the relevant training tool and resources. These training initiatives are deployed after identifying the need-gaps that impede organizational growth and productivity. In today’s digital-first age, the prominent problem companies and employees therein are dealing with is the absence of a robust infrastructure to enable data analytics training.
As per a PwC Global Industry 4.0 survey, around 82% of organizations in the Asia-Pacific region anticipate the influence of data analytics in their decision-making processes to increase by the next half-decade. And yet, only a handful of companies are adequately equipped to enable organization-wide digitization.
It then becomes the responsibility of HR to recognize data readiness as not just a tool to augment business operations, but as a critical business imperative.
Establishing A Robust Data Literacy Framework
Business leaders now recognize that investing in data literacy alone is not enough to obtain a satisfactory output. In order to fully harness the power of data, the HR function must work in synergy with key decision-makers to seamlessly integrate a data-enabled strategic framework with business processes.
This will not only result in the establishment of a data literacy utopia but also ensure that the organization is well-equipped to manage with any and all data-related obstacles. The way companies can achieve this is by prioritizing three key points: data skills, the prevalence of data in organizational activities, and data-mined decision-making.
Nurturing A Culture Of Data Literacy
One key obstacle to enabling a robust culture of data literacy within organizations is the management’s insular mindset. It prevents the leadership from recognizing the value of human capital development through data literacy, even when the workforce is prepared to engage with L&D programs. For instance, 72% of employees in the Asia-Pacific region expressed their willingness to opt for data literacy training if given the opportunity.
Therefore, the first step towards enabling organization-wide data literacy is for businesses to realize the benefits of a data-driven paradigm in driving greater productivity. In this case, the HR function must take the initiative to convince not just the employees but also the senior leadership. Doing so can ensure a cultural shift towards the implementation of data-driven work culture.
Bridging The Data Literacy Gap
The key to enabling data readiness across the country on a wider scale is to introduce data literacy programs at the school level. It is, after all, a fact that young students today are actively engaging with data. Therefore, data training will not only help them develop on the professional front but also on a personal level. This is the need of the hour, considering the rise of data-related sociocultural challenges such as fake news in today’s post-truth world.
Like schools, businesses are also seeking to address and resolve the shortage of data skills by establishing a culture of data readiness at the workplace. Data is increasingly gaining importance in tandem with the fast-paced technological revolution.
Against such a backdrop, businesses that grow cognizant to the importance of data sooner will be the ones to successfully survive and thrive in the rapidly-evolving corporate landscape.