Recruiting for a Data Culture: Where You’re Going Wrong

To improve your business’s data capabilities you may think you need to hire more data analysts. However, that’s not the case…

With the benefits of a data-driven business being widely reported, many organisations are beginning their journey towards achieving a true data culture. The HR function has the responsibility for creating a workforce that will foster this culture. But where do you start?

Many businesses believe their first step is hiring a flurry of data analysts. However, this can actually often be the biggest roadblock in your data culture journey.

So why isn’t hiring data analysts the answer to developing a business based on data-driven decision making?

It builds the silos you’re trying to break

Neglecting investment into your wider workforce’s data skills will build silos between the data team and business users. The main ingredient of a data culture is that all employees, from c-suite to associates, can speak the common language of data.

Building the overall data literacy of the business must be done in conjunction with the hiring of new analysts, otherwise, neither will be successful. 

Rather than focus resources on only finding new data talent, siphon off a portion of the funds into investing tools and training that will grow data literacy in the business.

It doesn’t make sense financially

With data being such a sought after skill, data specialists don’t come cheap. The average new hire costing an estimated £50,000, you can expect that figure to be higher for data analysts. For small businesses, it may simply not be viable to hire a group of skilled analysts.

Skills investment has been proven to boost retention. 40% of employees who lack adequate training leave within a year. Concentrate your efforts on improving your company’s data literacy and you’ll reap the rewards, and if you don’t, it could get expensive. 

You’ll lose your analysts

If the majority of your workforce isn’t data literate, your brand new analysts will be bogged down with basic reporting and analytics. The technical skill-set you paid for will go to waste on producing the same old Excel sheets and pivot tables. 

As data being is a highly competitive profession, they’ll soon have more exciting opportunities at their doorstep and will be ready to leave before they’ve even settled in. By providing your staff with the tools and skills to pull their own reports and perform basic analytics, your data specialists will have the time to do the responsibilities and insights that give them job satisfaction. 

It’s all about balance

The only way to achieve a true data culture is by having a balance of a data literate workforce that has access to data specialists. Being able to work alongside analysts will fuel your employees’ curiosity around data and maintain its quality and keep it compliant. Having a data literate workforce means your specialists will have the time to make use of their expertise by drawing genuine business insights. 


With over 20 years of experience working in the learning industry, AVADO are one of the largest distance providers in the UK. In partnership with Tableau, we’ve built a Data Academy that helps businesses thrive in the data era through building a data culture. 

Stephanie Khan

Posted November 5, 2019