HRBoss Blog

HR Big Data Event Singapore 2013

On Friday, 25 October 2013, HRBoss hosted an exclusive HR Executive Lunch for Singapore’s HR elite, at the Salt Grill & Sky Bar by Luke Mangan. Located on the 55th floor of ION, HR Director attendees indulged in sky-high dining and discussed the opportunity that Big Data represents for HR.  ‘Cloud’ dining at its finest, excuse the pun.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the buzz around Big Data as leaders across every industry and sector gear up to face the implications of this Big Data explosion. HR Is no different. The lunch event discussions shed light on what Big Data really means for leaders within the HR sphere.
Talking points included:

  • What exactly is HR Big Data?
  • Is Big Data a concern within your own HR department? Or is the Big Data buzz more relevant for other business functions, such as sales or finance?
  • Are you experiencing increasing pressure to provide relevant and predictive employee analytics to the boardroom? If so, how are you adapting HR processes to deliver on this?
  • Is Big Data already a part of your People strategy? i.e. to measure organizational risk, leadership pipelines, impending workforce gaps and engagement factors? If not, do you have plans to put a strategy in place?
  • What does Big Data mean for HR? How will it impact on HR… and are you ready for it?

We caught up with Julien Arnaud, Country Manager of HRBoss Singapore, to find out how the event went and get a brief round-up of the event:
How was the event?

It went really well thanks, we had a fruitful discussion on how Big Data is impacting HR and some interesting insights surfaced. It was also an excellent opportunity to connect with the HR industry elite, learn from their experiences and share insights with like-minded people.
So tell me, what exactly is Big Data…and, specifically, what is HR Big Data?
Big Data is about aggregating data & analysing it to ultimately make better business decisions which are based on facts rather than feelings. For HR, it’s about harnessing the overwhelming glut of data that lives across many different HR systems and using it to better align the people strategy with the business strategy. Essentially, it’s about moving away from running a business on ‘gut’ feeling and promoting decisions based on business intelligence and measurable business processes.
What were the major painpoints around HR Big Data that HR Directors in Singapore are feeling?

The HR Directors present all agreed that their biggest headache is the inability of their BI/analytical teams to aggregate their HR data. On top of this, they have many issues surrounding the quality of data delivered. One HR Director had her Data analyst ask for a 90% accuracy rate to be the accepted standard as their reporting process is so manual- needless to say this Analyst is no longer working there, but this illustrates the challenges she is facing. Just being able to get all HR data into one place, and ensure it is accurate is beyond the capabilities of many organisations. How can they talk about the predictive modeling opportunity presented by Big Data when they have this basic hurdle to overcome? They dream of seeing timely, simple, accurate reports that contain data aggregated from all their different systems. Business transformation through data analysis and predictive modeling is sexy in theory- but it seems very ambitious given that they first have the problem of pulling out accurate reports and getting their data in 1 place.  This is precisely the frustration that EmployeeBoss addresses: get all your HR data in one place, real-time reports and a helicopter view of your entire organization.  
Is Big Data just another ‘buzzword’? What was the general consensus?

Big Data is too much noise for a lot of frustrated HRD's. That said, if we regard Big Data as simply arming HR with accurate data-on-demand pulled from all their HRIS, then the prospect of Big Data becomes much more palatable. The HR Directors present all agreed that HR Big Data is far from a fad and will become a key part of their HR strategy moving forward. How this happens is another matter. In my view, any Big Data HR solution needs to be delivered in small chunks that can realize quick wins for the HRD's and their business. A staged approach with objective, obtainable milestones, focused on delivering what is promised early is the way to go.
What does Big Data mean for HR?

Traditionally, HR is very manual and process driven in its approach. But this is shifting as HR sets is sights on becoming a more strategic business player and to taking its rightful seat at the Boardroom table. Big Data is the natural way for HR to achieve this by delivering relevant data that supports C-Suite decision making. It’s not about changing policies or processes, but having the ability to aggregate, analyse and recommend strategic changes based on this information.
HR is bedfellows with so many different IT systems, such as payroll, Talent Management and Leadership to name just a few- each with their own different systems, processes and reporting tools. This makes it practically impossible for HR to be strategic as employee data is stored in so many different locations.  Because of this, HR ends up resorting to Excel to run manual reports on a monthly basis - a time-consuming process which is inherently at risk to human error. Even though HR is able to pull data from multiple sources to analyse it, it’s still very limited because it is only static data which cannot be drilled down into further without running another report. The option to slice and dice data across your HR systems is something that HRDs can only dream of. This is exactly what EmployeeBoss delivers to HR and I’m looking forward to getting EmployeeBoss into companies where it can make an immediate and valuable impact.”

Here are some suggested articles for further reading:

1. The Datafication of Human Resources

2. Big Data in Human Resources: Talent Analytics Comes of Age

3. Big Data in HR: Why It's Here & What It Means

How EmployeeBoss works: 

1st - Using an intuitive user interface, map organisational structure to the back end of EmployeeBoss (Includes all legal entities / departments / locations / functions / levels, etc) 
2nd - Aggregate/feed all employee data into 1 place- the EmployeeBoss platform- from unlimited HRIS, payroll, TMS, raw data, spreadsheets & other data sources. 
3rd - Choose Dashboards & Reports, or create new dashboards from scratch. Select drill-down dimensions from the EmployeeBoss market leading analytical toolset. 
4th - EmployeeBoss will create a dynamic organizational chart of the entire company from the information imported into the system. The user then configures what information can be viewed in this chart, including drill-down analysis. 
5th - Once complete, the user can view your data across virtually any dynamic/dimension, allowing for slice and dice reporting across geographical location | legal entity | function | business units.
Setup and configuration is then 4~8 weeks, depending on the amount of data to be aggregated.

About EmployeeBoss 

Data is pulled from unlimited customer systems ranging from core HRIS applications, such as payroll and training, through to simple spreadsheets. After the information is initially loaded, a holistic HR data system is in place that can deliver wide-reaching workforce insights in an instant.
With all HR Big Data sources being integrated on to a single platform, business leaders can leverage comparative analysis and predictive modeling for critical workforce decisions. This can be used strategically in predictive modeling of workforce behavior, such as identifying future recruitment needs or tracking succession, promotion, and turnover patterns.

The expansive amount of data available will surface insights on the strengths and weaknesses in training programs and sales processes, alert management to potential flight risks of top talent and highlight ‘outliers’ in employee compensation. Companies use these data insights to analyze and collaborate on plans to optimize the workforce and to align the people strategy with the business strategy.

View presentation slides from the event below: