How to Develop Data and Evaluation Competencies in Your Staff

More and more organizations are working towards building a data-informed culture. We talked about what it means to be a Data-Informed Organization in this blog. As we have been working with organizations to build and strengthen their culture to be data-informed, an essential component of this work is building the capacity of their team.

All individuals working in an organization need data to complete their job. It doesn’t matter what their role or position is in the organization. Data-informed work is not just meant for senior leadership since everyone plays a part in it.

At Transform Consulting Group we created a Data and Evaluation Self-assessment Tool to determine areas to focus on for our training and coaching. The tool is designed around eight data and evaluation competencies. We have identified specific skills for each competency and developed a rating scale to assess the mastery level of each competency and applicable skill.

“The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.” ~ Carly Fiorina

What are Data and Evaluation Competencies?

  1. Data Literacy – Has a thorough understanding of evaluation and data management
  2. Technical – Able to apply evaluation and data management knowledge and skill in the performance of the job
  3. Strategic Thinking – Able to think proactively and consider opportunities as well as challenges that might develop in the future. Innovates through analysis of issues and trends and how these link to responsibilities, capabilities, and potential of the organization
  4. Critical Thinking / Problem-Solving – Understands and defines problems clearly and develops realistic solutions
  5. Communication – Effectively and clearly expresses ideas in oral and written form
  6. Project Management – Monitors the accomplishment of prescribed goals and tasks. Maintains control and pace of work. Anticipates needs, forecasts results, analyzes and arranges work processes
  7. Integrity / Transparency – Doing what is right when no one is watching and being forthcoming about your process and any limitations
  8. Facilitation / Leadership – Facilitate the discussion and reflection on data and provides direction to individual staff members to complete data activities

Data and Evaluation Self-Assessment Tool

How to assess your team’s data and evaluation competencies?

Now that we have outlined the data and evaluation competencies for staff to know, the first step is to determine which competencies are important for each position and/or team. As consultants, we review job descriptions to determine which competencies align with the responsibilities of each position. Then we discuss this with the leadership of the organization to affirm that these make the most sense to support that role.

For example, your communication manager and development team may only need to focus on 2-3 competencies like Communication and Data Literacy. However, your program team may need to work on 3-5 competencies such as Data Literacy, Strategic Thinking, Problem-Solving, Communication, and Integrity. 

Once we’ve determined the competencies and supporting skills to focus on for each team and/or individual, then we develop a customized training and coaching plan to strengthen them. At the end of our engagement, we have the team member and their supervisor complete the assessment again to determine if we’ve seen growth and improvement in the specific areas.

By investing intentionally and strategically in your team’s development and learning, we will see growth not only in the individuals but the overall organization as it is moving towards a data-informed culture.

We plan to continue this discussion in a series where we will unpack each of the data competencies to talk through the skills and share examples of this work in action. If your organization is looking to strengthen your data-informed culture and/or the competencies of your staff, contact us to learn more about our consulting and training services.