The big data trend has quickly made its way to the human resources industry, and HR professionals should welcome it with open arms. Where HR is concerned, big data is a big deal. It empowers employers and human resources to make more informed business decisions.
In fact, 6400 organisations with 100 staff or more will have implemented big data analytics by 2018, according to a 2013 SAS study of more than 1200 businesses. What’s more, a Towers Watson survey of more than 1,000 organisations last year found HR data and analytics to be among the top three areas for HR technology spending.
There are four reasons to welcome this growing trend within the HR industry.
“Big data” is a big buzzword reverberating throughout the business world, and for good reason. Big data serves as a window into employees’ professional lives. By tracking, analysing and sharing employee performance-related data, employers and HR not only gain more insight on employees, but boost individual motivation and overall engagement.
Companies like The Container Store, for instance, are even using wearable tech, designed to improve communication within its stores, to track employees when they’re at work. Using the Theatro Wearable Computer, store management can access performance data, including how employees communicate with coworkers and customers and where they spend the most of their time.
Applying big data analytics to employee performance can also help employers identify and acknowledge top performers, along with workers who may be struggling in their positions. Investing in talent management software can assist HR professionals in gathering and analysing the data they need to evaluate individual performance levels.
One big advantage of utilising big data within the workplace is the opportunity to learn why employees leave. Moreover, big data reveals why the other employees stay. With tools like employee satisfaction surveys, team assessments, social media, exit and stay interviews, etc. HR can essentially predict (and thus, prevent) employee attrition.
Take Xerox, for example. With the use of big data analytics, it was able to reduced its attrition rate at call centers by 20 percent. By analysing various sources of employee information, HR can more accurately identify issues that lead to lower employee engagement, as well as opportunities to boost engagement.
Formal training programs, professional development events, lunch-and-learns with industry leaders — employee training, while necessary, can be costly. Measuring the potential and effectiveness of training initiatives, however, can ensure that employers are making wise investments concerning employee development. However, CEB’s 2014 Global Assessment Trends Report revealed that only 45 percent of its 1400 respondents use measures of potential to guide development and succession plans.
Employers should focus on obtaining data related to training program participation and outcome. Are employees taking advantage of the professional development opportunities being offered to them? Furthermore, are they applying what they learned through training programs, activities and events to their work?
Conducting regular performance appraisals or incorporating 360-degree performance reviews can help employers and HR better understand the effectiveness of their professional development efforts.
With the use of big data, HR has an opportunity to become more analytical and strategic in acquiring candidates. Not to mention, this data can help employers avoid making bad hires. Twenty-seven percent of employers said a bad hire cost them more than $50,000, according to a 2013 CareerBuilder survey of more than 6,000 HR professionals. Big data prevents big mistakes.
Rather than relying heavily on repetitive resumes and intuition when it comes to hiring, take advantage of big data analytics. Learn more about potential hires through their various social media profiles, online resume databases, records of employment, applications, tests and even challenge-based games or contests, like Google’s Code Jam, a global, online software-writing contest that attracts over 7500 people each year.
This wealth of data can help employers and hiring managers identify great talent by sorting information into trends and narrowing down the talent pool.
The bottom line? Big data can help employers and HR professionals gain more insight on existing talent to better retain and train. Plus, turn to data to land the best quality talent in the future. Now, why don’t we openly welcome big data in the HR industry?
See: Asia Responds: HR Big Data…or HR Big Flop?