Key Skills of A Data Entry Clerk

Key Skills of A Data Entry Clerk

Perhaps counter intuitively, the world is experiencing a growth in demand for data entry services and resources who can do it for them. Counter intuitively because in an increasingly digital world, one might expect more and more information to be created directly in a digital format, without the need to go through an additional step of conversion into digital. Which is perhaps how it is happening, except in certain cases where ab initio digitization has some constraints, like in the case of a medical prescription being handwritten by a doctor.

The demand we are experiencing might be based on the legacy information still in a manual format that the world is trying to rapidly convert to formats that can be read and understood by machines, making processing more efficient.

And that brings into focus people who can do these jobs as well as skills for data entry.

It is understood that data entry is a catch-all term that encompasses a variety of jobs and roles. With the primary aim being the same, of transferring data available in manual or hard-copy or paper media onto media and in formats that can be read, understood and processed by software applications. It could include entry of information on an insurance claim form or information on name cards dropped at the company booth at an industry event. It might be done remotely or from a defined workplace. It might need to be done on a local system or a server across the seven seas. It might be done inhouse or outsourced to a specialist company or freelancers.

The range is wide. However, the range of skills that a data entry job seeks, fortunately, is not that wide. In fact, the skills required for making a success of a role of this nature are fairly generic in nature and one could expect most people aspiring to work white-collar jobs to possess them is some modicum. There are also no requirements either of advanced educational degrees or a specific type of prior experience. These can be captured in a few paragraphs, as detailed below:

 

Communication skills for data entry 

Communication skills form the basis of all human interaction, whether, friendly or antagonistic, whether social or work-related. Without the ability to communicate, human co-operation and co-ordination that has taken man to the pole position amongst living beings, would not have been possible. When they start going to school, communication skills are among the foremost areas of focus for teachers of those young minds.

There is no reason communication skill will become less important at the workplace. Being a place where people interact with definite objectives in an effort to achieve something, the importance of communication skills can only be higher. The ability of an individual to receive instructions, either through an interaction with his manager, or through a written email or document, and being able to understand it correctly, is the first step towards doing a great job. If you are not able to understand instructions, there is not much of a chance you will have of doing the job well.

Of course, apart from the task, communication skills are required for interacting with colleagues, customers, vendors, and everyone else, both verbally and in writing. This includes both written as well as verbal communication, and covers spelling as well as grammar. Incorrect and unprofessional language has the risk of leaving a bad taste in the recipients’ mouth and should be guarded against.

With independent training centers operating at each of its facilities, oWorkers ensures that all staff who work on client contracts are at a minimum defined level in terms of communication skills. Regular refresher programs are also held to keep sharpening them.

 

Typing skills for data entry

The keyboard is the primary medium of interface between humans and computers. Computers have been taught to understand instructions provided through a keyboard, where each character and each combination of characters is unique and cannot be mistaken for anything else. Of course, the combination of characters that convey instructions to a computer can also be conveyed by means of a file transfer that includes the same combination or sequence.

However, where the combination does not already exist in a digitized format, it needs to be created, and that is where data entry comes into the picture.

Typing skills refer to both the speed at which one can type, and consequently transfer information to a computer, as well as the quality, or accuracy, with which that activity is performed. Since we seek to transfer information in a designated format, not doing it in that format must have consequences that we seek to avoid, hence the need for accuracy. If accuracy was not a requirement, typing in would not be required as the information could be dumped any which way onto the computer.

However, since that is not the case, accuracy levels need to be high. The lower the accuracy, the higher the overhead cost on checking and correction for the organization.

oWorkers uses a variety of assessment tools at the time of hiring, including typing tests. IQ and EQ tests are some of the other evaluations carried out. oWorkers also provides its employees ongoing access to tools for polishing these skills.

 

Skills for data entry include familiarity with computer applications

An understanding of the human-computer interface will facilitate any process where computers are used. The greater your understanding is about the work you do, the better the outcome is expected to be. Same is the case with data entry.

A person who has no idea about keyboards and interfaces will, firstly, need to spend some time learning about them. This will perhaps place him in a position where he can start the work. However, as this is a job which we are asking a thinking human being to do, there must be scope for errors. A person who has familiarity with computers and software applications is likely to have a more intuitive understanding and hence catch errors more easily, as compared to a person who is not so familiar.

Of course, it is a moving target. Newer applications are coming up all the time. Like a medical practitioner would make the effort to keep up with advancements in medicine so that he can provide the best advice to his patients, so should the data entry operator.

oWorkers delivers on client contracts with the help of employed staff and not freelancers. This places us in the unique position of managing growth for our staff. We constantly make an effort to upgrade skills of our employees so that they can create more value for us and for our clients.

 

Ability to understand the Big Picture

This actually has less to do with this particular task, and more with the broader principle of management, which applies here as much as it does in other places.

While data entry is often placed in the lower section of the skill pyramid, we must not forget that it is the individual who possesses skills for data entry who is doing that work for you. While there could be more educated and more experienced people in the organization, a combination of factors will result in a person or set of persons being selected for this role. Like someone said, roles are not better or worse, they are different. All roles need to pull their weight for the organization to be successful.

The greater the connect this individual has with the Big Picture of the organization and what it is trying to achieve, the greater is the likelihood of him putting in his bit, and even going the extra mile, to fulfil that vision. After all, every person wants to be a part of something bigger than himself. He might be getting a lower salary, but he can also be an equal contributor to the organization achieving its vision.

oWorkers is blessed with a leadership team with over 20 years of hands-on experience in the industry. Their frequent interactions across all levels of staff create a homogeneity and clarity in terms of organizational vision and its trajectory.

 

Internet and Research Skills

A few years back, data entry tasks were generally done on ‘local’ systems and networks. This was to make use of the computing power available in that system or network, while avoiding placing a load on the network that connected it to the external world.

In the last few years, internet capacity has increased manifold and there is redundancy, or excess capacity, everywhere. With adequate capacity being available, data entry jobs are now being done on the internet where the operator is in one location while the server where the data is going could be anywhere in the world. This creates obvious flexibility, as operators are able to work from home, or anywhere, pertinent especially in a Covid-19 environment. This also saves a possible subsequent step of consolidation in case data entry was being done in multiple locations on local servers.

Many times, an operator may need to validate information or source it from other sources on the internet. Hence, familiarity with the internet as well as internet research skills are a necessary part of skills for data entry.

With a large number of technology companies as clients, including unicorn marketplaces, oWorkers has access to the latest technology and tools. This enables our staff to stay current with technology trends, including developments on the internet.

Prioritization and multitasking

Work priorities in the modern world change fast and often. What was critical an hour back gets pushed to a lower priority because another more urgent issue has reared its head. Data entry is not immune to these changes and the operator must constantly adapt.

Very often multiple projects are in progress at the same time. Depending on the priorities allocated by the organization, operators need to complete the tasks in sequence. If the requirement changes, the individual should be able to bring the current task to a logical pause in a manner that it can be picked up from that point when possible, by whichever resource who is assigned that task (yes it can go to someone else), seamlessly.

In the same manner, your skills for data entry should enable you to pick up a half-completed task when required, and take it through to completion, when priorities do change. Hopefully the previous operator would also have left the undone task in a neatly compiled manner to facilitate uptake by someone else.

Hence, multi-tasking and prioritization are important skills. Just to clarify, prioritization not so much in terms of taking decisions on priority of tasks, but working on changing priorities with gusto.

As an equal opportunity employer, all employees get opportunities suitable for their skill level. Staff also get to work on a variety of projects, both for upgrading their skills as well as keeping them fresh.

 

Time Management skills for data entry

Date entry is an activity that can be tracked down to a keystroke level. Many jobs even pay on the basis of keystrokes done. In many jobs some amount of buffering is possible, in the name of meetings, or research or something else. But very few such possibilities exist in data entry. One just cannot hide from keystrokes. What you do is visible and transparent. If you are on a keystroke-based pay plan, no room for fudging data is available to you.

Time management becomes key in this scenario. The operator needs the ability, and sense, to be able to allocate time to various activities and ensure that his target earning expectations are being met by the allocation. Equally, the organization may have expectations of output on an hourly or daily basis which also need to be tracked and met.

On account of its close connections in local communities, oWorkers is able to hire for short-term peaks in the client’s work. This delivers huge savings to the client as they don’t need to retain staff at peak levels all through the year.

In data entry, each keystroke has relevance. Some pieces of information may only be one keystroke in length. Just like the phrase ‘time is money,’ in this case perhaps ‘keystrokes are money.’

 

Numeracy

Like communication, this is an essential human skill and a useful addition to the skillset of a data entry operator. Large parts of data is numeric; rainfall patterns, dates of birth, population, income levels, price index, one could go on and on. A person with numerate skills can make sense out of the data that is being input and identify patterns as well as issues. For a non-numerate person, a number is like any symbol, with no meaning associated with it.

Numeracy enables one to handle numbers with confidence, whether it is in a personal discussion or in a data entry process.  

Not only do we evaluate for numeracy during the hiring process, our employees have an additional skill, that of languages. oWorkers supports clients in over 22 popular languages of the world.

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