A company invested in analytics and improving its performance should also spend resources on employee training in the field. Helping workers understand the value data brings a business and how to use analytics to solve problems makes the company more efficient and ultimately, successful. When more people know how data drives business decisions and the role it plays in creating competitive advantages, the better a company can utilize all the information has to offer.
Educating staff on the value of analytics should align with the work they already perform. If executives can give greater meaning to the time and effort employees invest in their jobs, the quicker workers grasp why data is important.
Different data for different people
Data and analytics are broad terms, but the impact they each have produces very specific results depending on a variety of factors. A primary way data is sorted is based on who within a company studies it. The information a finance team gathers is completely different than what a marketing team collects.
Because needs are different, creating a unique educational plan for every department within an office is vital. Differentiating how analytics is taught also matters because workers may enter the training process with their own levels of knowledge.
Regardless of a business leader's type of work, many higher-ups acknowledge the importance of analytics education. A 2014 survey showed 61 percent of chief financial officers believe business analytics expertise was mandatory for some or all of accounting and finance employees, according to Robert Half Management Resources. For businesses that want to improve their employees' knowledge of analytics, 82 percent opt for in-house training, compared to 40 percent who use outside sources, the same survey found.
Education starts at the top
Enhancing employee understanding is not the only step in educating workers about why data is valuable. There are three ways to measure how data is understood, according to the Association of Talent Development: learning, satisfaction and impact. Each of those three steps is vital to a company's training. Once employees learn what data can do, they must be able to take that information and create tangible results that help the business.
An employee who understands what the data means and how those results can help impact business decisions will unlock the real power of analytics. A recommended way to do that is by having higher-level employees promote analytics to the rest of the staff.
Elizabeth Nilsen, the CFO of Houston's FKP Architects, told CGMA Magazine the responsibility for understanding the value of data comes from people at the executive level. Once higher-ups understand and appreciate data, they can teach the rest of the office why it is necessary.
"(Executives) need to know what the metrics are that drive our organization," Nilsen said. "And the only way to know that is to develop a relationship with the people in the trenches, and then to answer their questions and help them find solutions."
As more companies invest in analytics software and research, the more important education will be. Having everyone within a company on the same page turns learning into impact.