hr big data analytics

Supriya Nigam is a lead Content Writer & Digital Marketing Strategist at CareerBuilder India. Her passion for helping people in all aspects of digital marketing flows through in the expert HR Technology industry coverage she provides. Also, an avid Yoga practitioner.

With the advent of big data, HR is primed to become a right strategic and more evidence-based business partner to senior leadership. Today, big data analytics and HR work as “one” providing an opportunity for businesses to make the most rigorously evidence-based workforce management decisions ever.

Big data not just fuelled hiring but solidify the HR’s reputation as a strategic business partner that makes evidence-based, analytics-driven decisions – especially when it comes to talent. It means speeding up the hiring process, improving sourcing and selection and reducing the cost. All of which equate to substantial competitive advantages.

HR Big Data Analytics – Two parts of one equation

The approach of data as a prediction business tool is not novel or new, but the sophistication and intensity of which it is now being used are quite new. The role of big data analytics in HR and L&D is of utmost importance because it empowers the connections and conversations. It offers a new set of insights, around the complex and profound organisational issues including, change, culture and learning. HR big data analytics help businesses to optimise the way in which they deliver and scrutinise the transactional elements of Human Capital Management.

What is big data?

Big data is exceptionally large sets of data that may be evaluated computationally to reveal trends, patterns and associations, especially relating to human interactions and behaviour.

However, HR Big data analytics primarily defines the analytic techniques operating on big data. Rather relying on intuition, decisions are made by massive amount of current and historical data, emerging technologies and statistical analysis.

Why is big data needed in HR?

By using the HR big data analytics solutions, businesses can analyse the vast amount of data in minutes and seconds. It helps them to reveal previously hidden sentiments, patterns and workforce intelligence.  The accuracy and speed of insight delivered to any device including tablets and smartphones. It implies that organisations are now in a position to make better, faster decisions.

Here are some statistics to give some idea of the scale of change that organisations can expect with the arrival of big data:

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– By 2018 it is estimated that 64,00 organizations with a workforce of 100 or more will implement the HR big data analytics.

– AS compared to last year; there is a significant increase of 38 percent of companies correlating business impact to HR technology.

The HR Big Data Analytics – Challenges Ahead

hr big data analytics

When enterprises seek to develop HR big data analytics perspective, they experience some challenges. The first and foremost is laying their hand on the data they need – which is refined, systematic and reliable.

According to industry speculators, such data falls into following 3 categories:

  1. People data. Including skills, demographics, engagement and rewards, etc.
  2. Performance data. Data captured from the use of instruments including, goal attainment, 360 assessment, and succession and talent programs.
  3. Program data. The data collected in the form of participation in programs, attendance and adoption ranging from talent management to leadership programs, training and development to key projects and assignments.

The Problem.

Here the challenge is this much data is often long-winded and difficult to access. The problem arises due to two reasons – systems and structures.

1. Structural barriers

It primarily indicates the issue among relevant people, HR functions and performance operations. The problem is augmented when separate HR teams are operating across the business units. For instance, in conglomerate companies, data often become the glue which links together the vast purpose and mission.

The ideal solution is to share data and turn it into valid insight as a business improvement tool.

2. System barriers

The existence of poorly integrated and incompatible systems is another major issue among organizations which is holding them back. Most companies are operating under such HR systems which cannot talk to each other.

Also, there is a concern of security. Sometimes, the smooth flow of information access is hampered by authorisation problems which distort everything from critical information to social media access.

Above all, database and IT skills can be perceived as a challenge for most organizations. Today, the advent of transformational HR tools and systems demands the ability – to program often prerequisite and to use database query languages to run some fairly basic data enquiries. Now, it can provide skill problems every so often necessitating the resourcing of “extra capability”.

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To tackle the issue, it is imperative for organisations to have integrated IT and HR systems which enable the data to be stored consistently. Also, empower people to access the data with appropriate protections for integrity.

Also, organizations must also select right tools for allocating access and analysis. These tools must be integrated with wider systems.

Where the big data analytics fits in the human resource?

When HR is concerned, big data is a big deal. It empowers human resources and employers to make more informed decisions. Now, let’s take a look at where big data analytics fits in HR or other words how HR can leverage the “big data” to simplify their workflow.

1. Talent

Quickly and precisely forecast “Who”. With sufficient data, you can easily predict who going to be high performers and high achievers among new hires. It implies that you will quick in deciding if they should be shifted to fast-track programs.

2. Turnover

Attrition is the nightmare for most of the organizations, today especially when workforce size is becoming millennials dominant. With HR big data analytics you can forecast the risk of the most turnover based – which positions, which units, and which functions. Moreover, you can reduce the loss by modelling the scenario in advance.

3. Risk

Leverage the HR big data analytics to run the simulations on which candidates are likely to experience the drop in their performance. Also, create realistic profiles of which candidates are at risk of leaving prematurely and when.

4. Retention

Similar to attrition, retention is something that needs everyday innovation. Here again, big data analytics can help you to determine what resources should be targeted and allocated regarding retention activities.

5. Future-ready

HR big data analytics also enable you to model the various changes that an enterprise may experience from political to global level. And, what the impact of talent sourcing, hiring, engagement, performance management and retention could be.

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When is the right time to embrace the HR big data analytics in your organization?

We already know that when it comes to HR technology, “no-one-size-fits-all”. Similarly, not all organizations are ready to adopt the big data analytics yet.

Here are handful questions that must be answered which help you decide better whether you should consider the HR and big data mix within your organization or not.

– There is a business problem to be solved.

– The CEO (business leader) wants it.

– Regulators demand it.

– Investors are interested in it.

– We can use it to cut more cost from HR.

– The cutting edge technology is here, so let’s use it.

As a business leader, you need to evaluate your reasons as mentioned above wisely and present a convincing statement why you need to implement the HR big data analytics within your organization.

Adoption of HR Big Data Analytics Demands Transformational and Tactical Approaches

If data driven and people analytics strategies are to take off, they should be pushed as transformational projects with day-to-day management and total enthusiasm.

Tactical Approaches

– Make stories from the collected and derived statistics.

– Tap and map the skills necessary. Leverage the talent to develop aligned analyst.

– Attract more capability from areas such as economics, psychology and anthropology.

Transformational approaches

– Move it up to the HR capability plan.

– Make HR big data analytics a continuous transformational development

– Emphasis it on the main business priorities

Today, big data analytics is the key part of the business conversation. Hence, HR professionals need to fully embrace the challenge of workforce analytics and meet the looming challenge of big data. To successfully achieve a business goal it is mandatory for organizations first to understand how and where big data analytics fits in their HR.


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