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consider data to be an important skill for performing their job. In fact, data skills were ranked as

fourth in a list of the most important skills – with only traditional, ‘soft’ skills such as ‘communication’, ‘organisational skills’ and ‘people management’ ranking ahead of data – which may surprise organisations who believe employees are confused and scared by data. Additionally, despite an employer- focused study from LinkedIn3

the business, while nurturing data skills and giving employees the opportunity to grow them further. Currently, 35% of the business is using data as part of their daily job, creating dashboards to help them see and understand data, like never before. JLR ensures that working with data


that ‘statistical analysis and data mining’ was the number one skill to get you hired in the UK, the results of our survey suggest that companies aren’t as focused on nurturing these skills in existing staff as they could be. Tis makes it harder to not

only hire future employees, but also for organisations to retain the data-curious employees, they do have. It’s clear to see that employees understand the importance of data, so what’s stopping organisations from responding to it?

Lack of urgency

As our world becomes flooded with information, and smart devices continue to leave reams of data in their wake, this could represent a great opportunity for companies. But data is

attacks creeping its way onto the boardroom’s agenda, data literacy and training fall further down the list of priorities. Te result? Training courses in data analytics aren’t keeping pace with the growing and more complex data needs in most companies. Some companies, however, are doing

it well – take Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) as an example. JLL is a financial and professional services firm specialising in property services and investment management. With more than 70,000 people in 1,000 locations and 80 countries, JLL is at the forefront when it comes to empowering employees to work with data – particularly in roles that aren’t traditionally expected to be ‘data savvy’, such as its property agents. To do this, the company created a global business intelligence and data governance team to ensure data security and compliance. What makes this team different is how it goes one step further, collaborating with the business, driving conversations and sharing best practice across teams. JLL has a wonderful, data-driven

It’s clear to see that employees understand the importance of data, so what’s stopping organisations from responding to it?

only valuable when business insights are gleaned from it. So how does an organisation do that? By putting data into the hands of employees. However, that’s not enough.

Organisations need to provide guidance and education about data so that both the company and the employee get the best possible return on its use within the organisation. Having said that, like all good

things, training and education takes time and investment. With everything from politics to cyber

34 | July 2017 |

culture now, but it began with short-term plans implemented at the executive level. Even taking small steps to identify talent and train up employees can make a huge impact – everyone has to start somewhere, and once you do, you’ll be surprised at how quickly a seemingly small initiative grows into something much bigger. Te important thing is to start today.

Which companies are successful at honing their data skills?

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has been a leader in the automotive industry for more than six decades. JLR is Britain’s number one automotive manufacturer. It has three UK vehicle manufacturing plants, which made 544,401 cars in 2016, with 80% of UK production exported to 136 markets. JLR currently provides staff

access to analytics dashboards in order to democratise data across

is easy for employees to understand and access, with employees focusing on what to analyse, rather than how. In fact, the company proved how easy it was by asking an intern to look at 39 business hypotheses ahead of a meeting. Within just a few days, the intern narrowed them down to three significant findings, resulting in new opportunities for the business.

So, what next?

It all starts with conversation, leading from the CEO and board, right down to the interns. Te reason JLL and JLR have been so successful in their data journey is thanks to making it a priority at the executive level and bringing in the right people to encourage learning and conversation about data at all levels. Ten, keep it simple to ensure

training is most effective. Organisations should ask employees what they want when it comes to training, and consider how the training needs can support business priorities. A successful training programme should be able to satisfy clear goals for employees and the business. Not every employee will be interest-

ed in data, but it’s clear from research that there is a strong level of interest from employees across the UK. Even for those not currently expressing interest in data, it’s in a company’s best interest to make them aware of how data can benefit their work, even their career! If organisations take the first

step – even if it means starting small – to put a training and education plan into action, they will see impactful results, with a healthier P&L, and happier, more satisfied employees. Now that’s what I call a win!

James Eiloart is SVP EMEA at Tableau Software,

References 1 2 3


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