How To Cultivate Data-Driven Decision-Making In Your Workplace

Big data is transforming the nature of business, so you can't afford to overlook its importance in the decision-making process in your workplace.

big data can help with the decision-making process of your company
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The benefits of investing in big data cannot possibly be understated. A report by McKinsey showed that data-driven companies have 15-25% higher earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

Most of the discussions on the benefits of using data have centered around larger companies, but smaller firms should take advantage of big data as well. In today’s competitive world, the most successful businesses and organizations put data at the heart of everything they do. Whether it is hiring the right people for the job, responding to industry forecasts or identifying consumer behaviors, data forms the foundation for better decision making. Simply put, prioritizing data-driven decision-making in the workplace can help employees make informed decisions, develop strong strategic initiatives and achieve measurable goals for further organizational success. As we pointed out before, Google is one of the many companies that uses big data to drive its decision making processes.

If you’re a business owner or manager who is looking to foster a positive culture of data-driven decision making but aren’t exactly sure where to begin, then this is the read for you.

Today, we share 6 expert tips on how you can cultivate data-driven decision-making in your workplace as a manager or business owner, so read on to find out more!

  1. Understand It Starts At The Very Top

The first and arguably most important element when it comes to cultivating data-driven decision-making as a business owner or manager is to understand that it starts at the very top. Companies with strong data-driven cultures tend to have top managers who lead by example and set expectations that decisions must be anchored in data. This is why more business managers are enrolling in data analysis courses to equip themselves with sufficient knowledge in current industry practices surrounding data analytics. Equipped with this knowledge, business owners and managers are better able to lead by example, and support employees in embracing data-driven decision making in the workplace. 

  • Offer Learning Opportunities and Training

The real key to instilling a culture around data is to constantly create new opportunities for workers to engage with analytics themselves. Just as it is vital to ensure that upper management is provided with updated data analysis knowledge, it is equally important for managers and business owners to offer employees learning opportunities and training in the field. As such, department leaders are encouraged to start conducting data literary sessions, workshops, courses and more to empower employees and further push the importance of data-driven decision-making in your workplace. Aside from educating employees on the importance and need for data analytics, workers should also be made aware of how to not just use the tools you provide, but how these tools can also be leveraged to improve their day to day role in the organization.

Even outside the realm of data analysis, business owners should be sure to never underestimate the power of learning by doing as well. At the end of the day, when both employees and fellow management are able to see the tangible results of a data-driven decision made by upper management, they are more likely to trust in the potential of evidence-based decision making themselves.

  • Hire Data-Driven Talent

It comes as no surprise that one of the most effective ways of cultivating a data-driven workplace is to start at the very beginning by investing in data-driven talent. Your business’ onboarding and HR department should always test for curiosity, analytical thinking skills, and the ability to pick up tools and concepts quickly during your recruitment process. When interviewing candidates, always encourage them to show off their data curiosity.

With that said, you don’t have to hire the ‘perfect’ candidate, but instead, look towards individuals who have the potential to learn more and further develop their fundamental skills. In doing so, you’ll find that you’ll have a much easier time building the data-centered culture you are striving for. 

  • Set Up The Right Infrastructure

Setting up the right infrastructure is truly equally as important as educating your staff on making data-driven decisions. Without proper databases or other infrastructure like analytics tools that are conducive to your team members gaining data insights, your goal of a data-driven workplace can quickly become a pipedream.

To ensure that this isn’t the case, managers are encouraged to have open discussions with all employees, and to find out what tools they need in order to access the data they require. To start off, it helps to work with a baseline of SQL and BI tools (Tableau, Looker, Mode etc) to build charts using daily, weekly, or monthly reports. Start simple and expand it from there.

  • Use Data To Drive Meaningful Change

While the ultimate goal in shifting towards a data-driven workforce is to deliver business results, managers may find it useful to utilize data as a means of driving meaningful change in the workplace. Your employees are the life-blood of your organization, and analyzing data to improve employee working conditions, morale, engagement and benefits are critical for long-term success.

For example, through the democratization of data, employees can be encouraged to find alternative, more efficient routes of conducting data analytics and taking more charge of their own professional responsibilities, thus improving overall employee efficiency, motivation and morale. Employees that are able to appreciate the value of data and how it can benefit them in their daily tasks are much more likely to adopt and embrace the concept as a whole. In a nutshell, business owners should be sure to utilize data to help your employees, not just your customers! 

  • Create A Positive Feedback Loop

Last but not least, developing a reward mechanism that acknowledges your workers’ efforts is critical in ensuring the success and longevity of your business in the digital age. Used effectively, incentives and rewards help to build employee motivation and engagement that will inevitably contribute to your organization’s ongoing success. 

As such, sharing data successes within the organization is important to inspire others and develop a healthy, competitive, data-driven culture. The practice of incentivizing tasks and achievements in the workplace is certainly not a new one, and managers are always encouraged to create a positive feedback loop regarding data-driven decision making in the workplace.

In today’s dynamic marketplace, the ability for organizations and businesses to use data to spot opportunities, identify challenges and adapt to change with agility is critical to its success and longevity. We hope that these 6 tried-and-tested methods of cultivating data-driven decision making in your workplace prove valuable in achieving your goals and taking your business to the next level.

Alexander Bekker is a Head of Database and BI Department at ScienceSoft. With 18 years of experience, Alexander focuses on BI solutions (data driven applications, data warehouses and ETL implementation, data analysis and data mining) in retail, healthcare, finance, and energy industries. He has been leading such large projects as private labels product analysis for 18,500+ manufacturers, global analytical system for luxury vehicle dealers and more.