Two Professional IT Programers Discussing Blockchain Data Network Architecture Design and Development Shown on Desktop Computer Display. Working Data Center Technical Department with Server Racks
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Since the Great Resignation, some businesses have begun to get creative with perks to try and attract employees to their organizations, but providing ping pong tables and snacks may not be enough. New research from Forrester and Tableau illustrates that these benefits are less desirable for workers than increased data literacy and training programs to help employees hone their data skills in particular areas that would assist with their roles.

Over 1,000 decision-makers and 1,000 employees were surveyed in the study, detailing why data skills training is so important to workers every day.

SEE: Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: A side-by-side analysis w/checklist (TechRepublic Premium)

Increased data literacy is a must

The report details that nearly 80% of employees mentioned being sufficiently trained in a set of skills, would lead to these workers to remain at their current roles for longer stretches of time. These data skills are vital to all workers, as 70% are expected to use data on a daily basis within the next three years.

Both executives and their employees agree that these data skills are crucial for daily operations, and 82% of the decision makers surveyed said they expect basic data literacy from all employees in their department. Statistically, this does not mean that employees feel they are receiving the training they need to be successful in their positions. Of the employees surveyed, only 47% said they were offered data training by their employer, a number that will need to increase if organizations are hoping to retain most of its workforce.

Data expansion across all areas of business were also tagged as a must, as the skills originally only needed by specialists are now required across all levels of the organization. IT workers in addition to human resources and operations listed data skills as the most important skills for their respective roles. These skills in particular were:

  • Customer insights
  • Analytics
  • Finance/Accounting
  • Human resources/Training
  • IT
  • Marketing/Advertising
  • Operations
  • Product
  • Research
  • Engineering

Employees aren’t getting the training needed

As the number of areas employees need for data literacy continue to grow, the gap between the skills required and the amount of training received is expanding. Just 40% of workers surveyed said their job is providing the data skills they are expected to have, and on the opposite side, three-quarters of decision makers say they believe workers should hold themselves accountable and improve their own data skills. The expectation that workers are responsible for picking up the skills they can, while remaining productive in their roles signals a clear disconnect between the workforce at large and the decision makers.

Employees have also shown to be averse to speaking up when it comes to this lack of training, according to the study. Many workers fear that voicing these opinions will reflect negatively on them, as 26% said they talked to their managers about increased training and 16% said they complained about lack of instruction offered. This discrepancy between employees not wanting to be looked on as discontent by their managers has created a cone of silence around many workers, causing them to trudge on despite not always having the requisite skills needed.

From a managerial perspective, the lack of in-house knowledge and skills combined with the absence of company wide initiatives and support is also contributing to decreased training. Decision-makers say that 26% of basic data skills training and 9% of advanced training originate outside of departments and teams, forcing the responsibility of training employees to the department levels. These teams also report budget constraints and lack of support when implementing increased data education.

Data training housed within the organization can lead to increased levels of satisfaction by employees, according to Forrester, as 80% of workers say they would be more likely to stay with a company with sufficient training initiatives for their roles.

SEE: Top keyboard shortcuts you need to know (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

What can companies do?

With this data, it is imperative that these initiatives are implemented from the top down. According to the report’s findings, high-maturity organizations provide training in wide ranges of data skills for all employees, and multiple training modes. The companies with lower satisfaction ratings by their workers are the opposite, offering just a small range of skills and limited training opportunities.

A companywide mandate for regular training can cause employees to experience a greater level of fulfillment within their organizations and can lead to them sticking around longer, but top-level leadership and strategists have to make it a priority. Also, company leaders should not saddle the ground levels of management with no budget and all the responsibilities. If enterprises can provide these wanted and needed data skills, they may notice an increase in morale within their workforce, and the benefits should follow.

Subscribe to the Executive Briefing Newsletter

Discover the secrets to IT leadership success with these tips on project management, budgets, and dealing with day-to-day challenges. Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays

Subscribe to the Executive Briefing Newsletter

Discover the secrets to IT leadership success with these tips on project management, budgets, and dealing with day-to-day challenges. Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays