How to Develop Data and Evaluation Competencies in Your Staff

by | May 26, 2022

More and more organizations are working towards building a data-informed culture. This blog discussed what it means to be a data-informed organization. As we have been working with organizations to develop 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 jobs, regardless of their role or position. Data-informed work is meant for more than senior leadership since everyone plays a part.

At Transform Consulting Group, we created a Data and Evaluation Self-assessment Tool to determine areas for our training and coaching to focus on. 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, the first step is determining which competencies are important for each position and/or team. As consultants, we review job descriptions to decide which competencies align with each position’s responsibilities. Then, we discuss this with the organization’s leadership to affirm that these make the most sense in supporting 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, 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 also in the overall organization as it moves 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.


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