Research has found that British workers are held back from realising their full potential in a UK workplace that is more data-driven than ever before. The study conducted by YouGov highlights that the vast majority of British workers (93%) believe they deal with numbers and data at work more than or at least as often as they did a year ago, but only about a quarter (28%) have used data to discover anything new about their business.

The research, which surveyed 1,000 white collar British workers in large organisations, emphasises how businesses appear to be missing a trick in failing to empower its most valuable employees through data: around one in every three workers (35%) say they would be willing to do more data analysis, if the tools were easier to use.

The research also reveals that, despite living and working in an increasingly data-driven society, where three quarters of British white-collar employees (75%) now look at data once a week or more, most Britons prefer to still rely on gut instinct, rather than drawing on business data to back up their decisions.

Over half of all workers surveyed (53%) say they use an instinctive feel for how things are going at work, which they think tells them more than data, when it comes to decision-making.

In tough times, organisations need to be unlocking the hidden potential of their most important assets, their employees, by empowering individuals with Business Discovery tools to explore business data, for valuable new growth opportunities.

The survey suggests this isn’t happening. Instead, we’re seeing worrying evidence of a short-sighted, ‘tick box’ approach to report-led decision making, where employees are given reports and dashboards that don’t really tell them anything useful, and are asked to draw conclusions they cannot see. Under these circumstances, it is hardly surprising to see so many people simply defer to others.

Thomas Power, of Ecademy added: “While numbers aren’t many people’s strong point, most professionals do have the insight to make a really valuable contribution, but they struggle with the data. Very few people can reach a conclusion based on reading a static list of numbers – most of us need to play around with the information and work associatively – this is how our brains are wired, and it’s how really valuable insights can be unlocked. Organisations could make themselves far more competitive if they allowed their employees to work in this way.”

Given the tough economic climate, organisations must recognise the importance of giving their staff the tools to realise their potential to discover new insights and explore hidden opportunities within their businesses. Savvy businesses are waking up to unlocking the potential of their employees through social, mobile, and collaborative Business Discovery tools.