Real business story

Use data to improve decision making at all levels of your business

Providing employees with data empowers them to make informed decisions – but you won’t create a data-driven culture overnight.

Raj Krishnamurthy explains that staff need to understand the benefits of using data

Sharing data with staff encourages them to make decisions based on accurate insights rather than guesswork. However, not everyone will be comfortable with using data straight away.

A lack of knowledge or confidence with using data often makes staff reluctant to incorporate it into their roles. It can also be hard to inspire change if your employees don’t understand the benefits of doing something differently.

Make data relevant and useful

Software firm Freespace provides workplace management services, so has a robust understanding of the value of encouraging data use in your workforce.

CEO Raj Krishnamurthy believes that providing employees with a clear benefit is the best way to get them comfortable with using data.

“For people to want to use data, it has to be immediately relevant to them and useful. If employees can see the benefits of using the data, they will,” Raj said.

Raj emphasises that this relevance is crucial. Connecting data with your top-level strategy and expecting it to catch on won’t work – staff need to understand how data can affect their roles.

This might involve making a process faster or easier to complete, or resulting in better quality results. Either way, make sure you’re able to give a demonstration of the impact that's relatable.

Give your staff context

Whether you’re introducing data to your workforce for the first time or improving existing processes, it’s crucial that you’re giving staff the context they need for it to be useful.

“Data can’t be presented in a way that feels like you’re sitting in a boardroom and consuming data in charts and graphs. Data for an individual is very different – you have to contextualise it. You have to present it when they need it. That has a huge impact on productivity,” Raj said.

Data, historically, has a reputation for being dense and this can be a real turn-off when encouraging employees to make data-led decisions. Speaking to staff will give you a sense of any hesitations they have with using it but, if in doubt, it’s best to go the extra mile to make it feel more accessible.

At Freespace, signage on large monitors and web portals helps to connect staff with the latest information. While not every business will have the same tech capabilities, there’s something to be learnt from reducing the number of steps staff need to take to access information.

“You simply walk into the office and look at the screen. In that case, there’s no resistance and no friction,” Raj said.

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  • location: South East (England)
  • business type: Digital, technology & computer services
  • business size: 50-99

Top takeaways

To get staff comfortable with using data, it is essential that they see the immediate impact or benefit in the way they work.

Speak to staff to find out how best to present data in your organisation.

Make sure your employees can access data when they need it.