The role of HR in creating data-driven collaboration for Australian companies

Developing a consistent data vocabulary will make it easier to understand data across all literacy levels. Visualising data is important to the presentation of insights. Some workers may be overwhelmed by the data presented and this will impact their ability to confidently understand, and articulate decisions based on the data, writes Paul Leahy, Country Manager ANZ, Qlik

We faced one of the biggest workplace challenges in Australia last year. Offices being forced to go virtual during the onset of the pandemic in early 2020 meant workplaces had to quickly embrace digital transformation. Organisations rapidly adopted new technologies such as video conferencing and live chat platforms to replace face to face contact.

But as normality has started to return, 63 per cent of Australian employees now prefer a hybrid model where they’re able to work from home part of the week.

However, this model poses a few considerations. The new hybrid way of working, where employees are sometimes in the office and sometimes at home, raises questions about how teams can collaborate and how well they collaborate with data.

Workplaces will now have to reimagine collaborative processes. In doing so, it will be critical to establish a culture driven by data-backed decision making. In fact, 63 per cent of the working population are now having to make data-driven decisions at least once a week.

Data literacy is a vital piece in connecting the potential of data with the enablement of dispersed workforces – without it, worker productivity will be restricted to when they have access to specialist teams, or even when those teams are available to meet.

The problem of data siloes
The first step to achieving data collaboration in the workplace is to create collaborative data workspaces. But with the move to hybrid working, the problem of data siloes can easily become exacerbated.

HR leaders will need to play a role in ensuring that having a mixture of physical and digital workspaces does not lead to data becoming siloed. More specifically, they must work with IT teams to ensure employees have access to trusted, cleaned and governed data, in real-time and with the right context in order to perform their roles successfully. If these parameters are met, then decision-making, sharing information, and actioning data-driven outcomes that deliver value become a reality for an organisation, irrespective of where teams are working from.

But fostering a collaborative culture around data is a marathon, not a sprint. The changes to the way we work requires organisations to think about the skills they are investing in, and to make sure that everyone has access to the same data, expressed in the same way, via a standardised portal and using common tools.

Creating a consistent data vocabulary
Developing a consistent data vocabulary will make it easier to understand data across all literacy levels. Visualising data is important to the presentation of insights. Some workers may be overwhelmed by the data presented and this will impact their ability to confidently understand, and articulate decisions based on the data.

Creating a visual vocabulary that breaks down visualisations into logical categories will allow employees to more confidently read, collaborate and communicate with data. It will also allow employees to reference back to the visual vocabulary anywhere no matter where their location is.

HR leaders will need to play a role in ensuring that having a mixture of physical and digital workspaces does not lead to data becoming siloed.

Data literacy will empower employees
In a recent study from Accenture and Qlik, 75 per cent of C-level decision makers believed that all or most of their employees could proficiently work with data, yet just 21 per cent of the global workforce said they felt confident in their data literacy skills.

Data literacy is a vital piece in connecting the potential of data with the enablement of dispersed workforces – without it, worker productivity will be restricted to when they have access to specialist teams, or even when those teams are available to meet. And crucially, it will undermine the effectiveness and competitiveness of the business.

As data and analytics technologies constantly evolve, employees must also upskill with them. HR leaders must therefore ensure that data literacy training, accommodating both office and home-based learning, is a core part of their organisation’s data strategy, with employees also encouraged to ask questions about turning data into insight. Only by doing so will they ensure that no one falls behind.

Fostering a collaborative culture around data is important. As organisations all around the world were forced to quickly adapt to new working environments last year, they’ve had to get used to many new processes too. For HR leaders, it is essential they help navigate employees through these changes by focusing on investment in skills development around the critical areas of data analytics and literacy.

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