HRBoss Blog

How can Big Data help HR?

Move from ‘gut-feeling’ to evidence-based decision making

Attracting and developing talent is one of the key roles HR has in any organization. Before the rise of Big Data, the challenge of accurately identifying future superstars had been too sophisticated for HR  to undertake without an element of guess-work.

How could HR possibly get to grips with such a range of variants such as education, prior experience, skills, leadership, cultural alignment and many more? Now, it is possible to analyse all of these contributing factors simultaneously. As a result, patterns and trends in the data emerge and critical business insights are surfaced…insights that were previous buried in overwhelming amounts of data.

Big Data enables HR to funnel information of enormous volume and diversity, from multiple data streams such as HRIS, payroll, talent management solutions, whilst enabling analysis of Data and relationships in real-time. With Big Data, there is no limit on the number of questions business and HR leaders can answer about their people.

By capitalising on Big Data technologies, HR is able to test theories and carry out complex predictive analytics, creating significant competitive advantages for organisations.This is crucial in winning the war for talent and in helping an organisation execute business strategies more effectively.

Perceived Barriers to getting started with HR Big Data

HR Big Data sounds great in theory, but it is often perceived to be far beyond the reach of an HR department struggling with regular reporting cycles and a glut of workforce related data stored across multiple systems.

This HR data is kept in a number of different locations- from large disconnected systems (Payroll/Timekeeping/HRIS) through to spreadsheets and simple text documents. Often, HR is unable to aggregate their data in one place, causing issues with the internal BI (Business Intelligence) and analytics teams (if they have these available) when it comes to reporting. The HR reporting process is slow and is often stuck in Excel hell.

For many HR departments simply getting all of their data in 1 place and having real-time reporting capabilities would be a big win, even before the holy grail of predictive analysis and Big Data capabilities are achieved.

There is a false perception that an HR Big Data solution means implementing complex enterprise talent management solutions – costing an excessive amount of $$$$, incurring massive change to existing business processes and requiring a long and painful implementation. With the right tools, this isn’t the case.

In 2014, HR will need to have a solid Big Data agenda in place. What is yours?

Click here to access the full eBook which reveals how you can get started on Big Data Strategy for HR.