Your Employees’ Ability To Discover, Discuss, Or Deliver Change Through Data Is Shockingly Bad

Self-serve analytics and AI chatbots promised to unleash the latent potential energy of your employees’ curiosity, enabling them to make smarter and faster decisions. But for most organizations, that promise remains unrealized.

Despite the deluge of emerging technologies, nearly half of employees are still limited by basic barriers, such as an inability to search for existing insights and a lack of understanding about where to go to find reports, data sets, and insights. That means the curiosity velocity of your staff is likely to be marked DOA: dead on arrival.

Low curiosity velocity means precious productivity time is wasted, as users must hunt for data sets and related subject-matter experts and navigate access work-arounds and department political pitfalls to gather materials for insights-informed decision-making. It’s why employees cringe when asked by a superior, “Hey, grab this number for me (so I can make a decision), but don’t spend a lot of time on it. K thx.”

Poor data culture is often blamed for killing employee curiosity, innovation, and productivity. Yet few studies seek to gain insight on data culture perceptions. Forrester sought to unpack the enigma that is data culture and surface some actionable, hot-from-the-oven insights with Forrester’s Data Culture And Literacy Survey, 2023. Our expanded data overview report, Your Data Culture Is In Crisis, is now available.

Here Are Some Key Highlights That We Uncovered In The Survey:

  • Employees don’t know where to look for insights.
    When asked if they knew where to look to seek out existing dashboards, data sets, and insights: 46% of data and analytics survey respondents indicated that they didn’t know or were uncertain about where to find information at work.
  • Employees don’t know whom to approach or where to inquire about insights.
    When asked if they knew where to go to ask questions or submit requests related to reports, data sets, and insights: 44% of data and analytics survey respondents indicated that they didn’t know or were uncertain about where to go to ask questions about information at work.
  • Some employees are unable to have difficult data conversations without fear of repercussions.
    When asked if they worked in an environment where all employees can ask questions or raise issues related to data and insights in front of peers: 31% of data and analytics survey respondents indicated that they disagreed that or were uncertain about whether they felt they could speak up without fear of consequences, indicating a lack of workplace psychological safety.
  • Employees don’t have a dedicated data literacy lead in-house.
    When asked if someone on their team was responsible for data literacy programs and initiatives within the organization: 46% of data and analytics survey respondents indicated that they did not have a data literacy lead or were uncertain whether or not they did.

Get Back To Communication Basics To Fix Your Data Culture

When employees don’t know where to find data, don’t know where to ask questions about data, or don’t feel safe challenging data, they can’t respond to those ad hoc management responses for insights with speed, accuracy, and confidence. Gain competitive advantage by helping your employees locate, communicate, and create confidently with data so that they can operate at the top of their intellectual capacity. Incremental improvements to data culture can be made in all organizations, no matter the size, industry, or insights-driven business maturity level.

Technology and data leaders should act now to benchmark data culture and plot a course for insights resuscitation. With your leadership team, collectively identify a North Star goal of increasing employee curiosity velocity and act with intention to repair or replace current data culture. This will allow leadership to turn potential energy into kinetic energy as employees are empowered to seek, solicit, and speak information in safe-to-share environments.


Read our data overview report and schedule an inquiry to plan the next steps in improving your current data culture.