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How Data is Transforming HR

Well and truly into the New Year there are many opportunities to be had. In this week’s article, we introduce you to Big Data and explore a few select ways in which it can help develop your organisation's HR.

What is Big Data?

Big Data in HR refers to the use of the multitude of data sources available to your organisation, including those that are not usually associated with HR. This may include advanced analytic platforms; cloud based services; and visualisation tools to evaluate and improve practices including talent acquisition, development, retention, and overall organisational performance.

Furthermore, Big Data involves the integration and analysis of internal metrics, external benchmarks, social media data, and government data to deliver a more informed solution to complications that your organisation might be facing. Big data in HR allows leaders to go beyond simple headcount and be more predictive rather than reactionary.

Let’s Review some of the stats:

  • The amount of data is growing exponentially. Today, best estimates suggest that at least 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is produced every day (that’s 2.5 followed by a whopping 18 zeros!) Can you imagine how much even just a smidgen of that information could help your business from everything from social media (who is talking about your brand) to how candidates find and learn about your brand (which you can then use to tailor your recruiting methods).

  • IDC estimates that by 2020, business transactions on the internet- business-to-business and business-to-consumer – will reach 450 billion per day. What a huge amount of rich data that could tell you all about your key consumers and their behaviour online which could then help shape your marketing strategies.

  • The volume of global online business data doubles every 1.2 years, according to an academic estimate from the W.P. Carey School of Business.

  • 65% of business executives from global brands say they embrace big data to stay competitive.

Tips on how use Big Data in your Organisation

Start with what you already know:

Often you can source a large portion of big data already from your own organisation but you need the analytic experience and skills to perform the right analysis. Most companies have vast amounts of HR data (employee demographics, performance ratings, talent mobility data, training completed, age, academic history, etc.).

Ask Questions:

The trend of using big data for human resources is commonly referred to as talent analytics. Big data in marketing can gather and analyse data from customers, whereas alternatively talent analytics gathers and analyses data from a company’s current and prospective employees. The goal in most cases is to optimise what the company spends on its employees to identify the answers to questions like:

- Where is the money going?

- Can it be put to better use elsewhere?

- Is the business maximising it's return from the money allotted to employees?

These and many similar questions are what big data attempts to answer, and as more and more organisations implement big data solutions, they’re quickly finding new ways to prevent wasteful spending.

Review performance, employee sales revenue reports and employee survey data:

At a glance you’ll be able to identify who is you greatest asset when it comes to sales, and who might need to improve. You’ll also be to have the opportunity to open a dialogue with an employee who may be underperforming. These reports will show where the gaps are – do you need an additional team member assigned to a particular project? Or additional tools to improve efficiency? Helping a current employee is always more cost efficient than hiring a new one.

Businesses with a high turnover rates end up spending thousands of dollars on employees that don’t end up staying with the company, which is a costly waste of resources. With big data, you can get a more accurate picture of who is leaving and if there are any patterns among those seeking employment elsewhere. At the same time, big data can be analysed to identify patterns for people choosing to stay with the company, eventually coming up with a model for employee retention.

If you are planning on hiring new people into your organisation, big data will also help you develop pre-hire screening surveys that predict which applicants are most likely to succeed and produce higher sales. When you’re looking for new people, you can also look at data from job sites and social media to find people with the exact qualifications you want for a particular position.

We’ve only just briefly touched on some of the many ways big data can help your organisation and its HR processes – have you used big data before? Share with us some of your specific experiences below


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