Play 3

Build a data-driven culture by taking the lead to improve data literacy and acumen within your agency.

Invest in the individuals within your workforce to create a data-driven culture by improving data literacy and skills. Focus on providing an inclusive approach to building and harnessing basic data skills, knowledge, and competencies in all staff and leadership. Additionally, part of your OCM plan should include strategies for transforming the overall agency culture by getting your workforce to understand the mission value that data can deliver.

Key strategic actions

3.1 Conduct a landscape analysis to document existing training requirements and identify available training opportunities within your agency and across the federal government that your agency may be able to utilize. Consult the Federal Data Strategy’s Curated Data Skills Catalog in this process. Use existing training resources as a cost-effective approach to training implementation and to leverage potential shared service opportunities across the federal government.

3.2 Build an education and awareness campaign that focuses on communicating the importance and value of data throughout the organization while promoting data literacy. This OCM activity demonstrates your ability to be a change agent, influencing your agency data culture.

3.3 Review or update your workforce skills assessment to understand the coverage, quality, methods, and effectiveness of current staff data literacy and data skills. This step identifies where existing gaps in data literacy and specific data skills are and where additional training might be needed.

3.4 Collaborate with key stakeholder groups, including your HR Office, to create a list of key data skills that are pertinent to your agency’s success. Use this list to develop a training plan that prioritizes these key data skills and links these efforts to your mission goals and objectives.

3.5 Connect with your HR office to develop a training roadmap that includes current and future training needs.

3.6 Determine the resources needed to implement your training and submit a budget request for those needs (e.g., training instructors or training software).

3.7 Consider the type of implementation that works best for your agency, whether that is a pilot program or a comprehensive training program. 

3.8 Develop a communications plan to deliver strategic messages to your workforce about your planned data literacy initiatives.

3.9 Coordinate with your agency CHCO and agency CIO to determine crossovers in data and information-focused positions.

3.10 Engage with stakeholder groups to learn about previous and current data and information technology-related hiring needs and plans across agency offices. Understanding your agency’s hiring, attrition, and turnover trends will help in identifying effective strategies and approaches for future hiring plans.

3.11 Develop a hiring plan for future roles needed to fill skill gaps for your organization or carry out CDO mandates and Office of Management & Budget (OMB) requirements.

3.12 Assess and measure the mission value gained from data literacy efforts.

3.1 Conduct a landscape analysis to document existing training requirements and identify available training opportunities within your agency and across the federal government that your agency may be able to utilize. Consult the Federal Data Strategy’s Curated Data Skills Catalog in this process. Use existing training resources as a cost-effective approach to training implementation and to leverage potential shared service opportunities across the federal government.

Key activities

  • Connect with your HR office to learn about efforts taking place at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and across government regarding the data space (e.g., government-wide data science training programs, establishing data science job descriptions, etc.).

  • Coordinate with your agency’s CIO, Chief Learning Officer, and Chief Evaluation Officer to learn about parallel efforts taking place with regards to training and hiring both within the agency and through their respective cross-agency council groups.

  • Ensure there is alignment between the technology, evidence, and data sides as there may be similar requirements and goals where opportunities for collaborative synergies exist.

3.2 Build an education and awareness campaign that focuses on communicating the importance and value of data throughout the organization while promoting data literacy. This OCM activity demonstrates your ability to be a change agent, influencing your agency data culture.

Key activities

  • Cultivate buy-in and interest in your data vision among key stakeholders through awareness campaigns that build broader consensus on your agency’s future.

  • Communicate the value of data as a strategic asset and garner excitement from agency offices for product or service development opportunities to use data to respond to mission needs.

  • Focus your awareness campaign on the goal of educating your agency’s workforce on data literacy.

Agency example

The CDO at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) facilitated meetings to demonstrate data product prototypes and basic data analytics visualizations and dashboards as an engagement strategy. These meetings showed key stakeholders’ how programs were using data for better decision-making. This effort models data stewardship that facilitates improved data quality, which can lead to more trusted data products.

3.3 Review or update your workforce skills assessment to understand the coverage, quality, methods, and effectiveness of current staff data literacy and data skills. This step locates existing gaps in data literacy and specific data skills and where additional training might be needed.

Key activities

  • Interview internal stakeholders across senior levels and job functions (e.g., operations, human resources, program management) to identify existing gaps in data literacy and specific data skills, as well as where additional training might be needed.

  • Carefully decide how best to address the gaps in your agency (i.e., training or hiring or both) by aligning to the needs of your staff and to your agency mission needs and priorities.

  • Evaluate the readiness of agency offices to integrate data science and data analytics into their missions, especially those offices that may not have had that experience previously.

Agency example

The CDO at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) assessed existing job positions as part of their agency’s capacity assessment to determine whether job titles and responsibilities were aligned and that job with data analyst titles were in fact performing data-focused functions. The information gleaned from this assessment served as inputs into their budget requests and hiring plans.

Key activities

  • Document a training plan that connects to your broader, agency-wide business goals and objectives to create a more cohesive data literacy effort.

  • Demonstrate exactly how data literacy training provides value and will progress your organization past its current state.

  • Create a plan which considers the current potential of your agency and what type of training format and option will best develop data literacy skills (e.g., upskill, reskill, etc.).

3.5 Connect with your HR office to develop a training roadmap that includes current and future training needs.

Key activities

  • Create a training roadmap clearly outlining the main activities to progress your agency’s data literacy.

  • Use the roadmap to provide your organization with a linear timeline of events which connects to the main implementation activities in your training plan.

  • Document exactly when each major milestone will take place.

3.6 Determine the resources needed to implement your training and submit a budget request for those needs (e.g., training instructors or training software).

Key activities

  • Identify the necessary resources to fill identified agency gaps. This activity allows your agency to plan and solve potential roadblocks in the future.

  • Meticulously account for resources that you might not need immediately but may be required to sustain your training into the future.

3.7 Consider the type of implementation that works best for your agency, whether that is a pilot program or a comprehensive training program.

Key activities

  • Strategize on the proper requirements and training format prepares you to launch your data literacy training program.

  • Consider conducting a pilot program to test out your program including the courses and instructors to see if they are a good fit for your agency’s needs. Note: for those agencies that have a mature understanding of their data skills gaps, implementing a broad-scale program might be more appropriate.

3.8 Develop a communications plan to deliver strategic messages to your workforce about your planned data literacy initiatives.

Key activities

  • Build a strong data culture by influencing individuals within your workforce and relaying a narrative for data literacy, while highlighting the business value your initiative will bring.

  • Include communications which explain how data and analytics can support agency offices and their business outcomes. This can include informational presentations or internal resources and guides breaking down key data science concepts.

3.9 Coordinate with your agency CHCO and agency CIO to determine crossovers in data and information-focused positions.

Key activities

  • Identify complementary roles between the CIO and CDO functions to potentially address immediate staffing needs.

  • Consider that agency program officers, or the CIO may have an active or future strategy to implement data analytics or emerging technologies (Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML)) which could mean plans to hire for those positions. There may be existing data or information-focused positions that also support CDO requirements and priorities.

  • Connect with your CIO and Program office Directors to determine if there are existing or future positions that could be reorganized and better aligned to the office of the CDO.

Key activities

  • Consult key stakeholders about existing hiring plans to integrate data roles into their programs and develop a cohesive approach on how these new roles will move the agency to become a more data driven organization.

  • Demonstrate your ability to elicit change by integrating your data vision into individual program plans. 

3.11 Develop a hiring plan for future roles needed to fill skill gaps for your organization or carry out CDO mandates and Office of Management & Budget (OMB) requirements.

Key activities

  • Identify your staffing needs early will aid in building a diverse and skilled team/workforce that can transform the organizational data culture.

  • Use staffing to create the right environment for future resources to be successful.

  • Determine what kind of data workforce you need to build, consider the key functional skill areas that will help address agency objectives.

  • Consider the type of data assets you want to establish for the organization, including data and analytics methods and processes you want to employ, and tools you can provide.

  • Incorporate the results of your benchmarking assessments as you develop your hiring plan. Consider all funding mechanisms both inside and outside of your agency including the requirements for leveraging a Working Capital Fund (WCF) to plan the budget for these staffing resources.

3.12 Assess and measure the mission value gained from data literacy efforts.

Key activities

  • Demonstrate the measurable impact of your data literacy initiatives on your organization’s bottom line.

  • Work with your HR Office to develop assessments to monitor the results of your data literacy initiative within the workforce.

  • Create metrics to measure progress of data literacy training programs and connect those metrics to your agency mission objectives and larger strategic goals.

Play 3 resources

  • CDO Council Inter-Agency Forum, contact cdocstaff@gsa.gov for more information

  • Data Skills Training Program Case Studies

  • Data Skills Training Program Implementation Toolkit