Talent Circles

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

How to Harness the Power of Big Data in HR & Recruiting

Since the creation of analytics for human resource professionals and the need to evaluate the workplace, big data is here to stay.  In 2012, the buzz in HR circulated around the need for big data and how to effectively use it in your organization. Since the inception of analytics, reporting, and increasing the need for evaluation, big data has helped the old HR department in multiple ways.

Big Data's Role in Human Resources 

Big data is complex especially in an HR context.  I liken big data to your bedroom closet.  It is unorganized with purses, bags, and shoes thrown everywhere.  You are overwhelmed and don't know where to begin.  

In bigger ways than before, HR departments are tapping into information from job seekers, exiting employees, and current staff using seemingly unrelated data that upon further analysis correlates to one another. Before the use of big data HR was the go to department when something went array. This has caused a shift in the blame game in the workplace.

According to research compiled by Bersin & Associates, 6% of HR departments believe they are “excellent” in analytics and more than 60% feel they are poor or behind. While the trend is still new, most organizations will start investing huge resources into becoming current in big data. HR professionals are flooded with data from all spectrums, from employee data, location data, compensation data and many, many more. In order to help fix your organization, you must look at the problem instead of the data.

Analyzing Human Capital Metrics  

One of the biggest ways to harness the power of big data is to start with the problem and then analyze the data. With tons of information at your disposal unless you know how to use it to better your organization, it’s just data. If your company has problems with turnover, sales productivity, or anything else it’s important to understand which data is important and how to utilize it. Don’t fall into the trap of looking at a wide array of data because it can get expensive. Take the time to build out your platform and make it scalable.  Working in scale is especially important when it comes to human capital and human capital metrics.  

Another way to harness the power would be to clean your data. Since HR companies compile an extensive amount of data it’s important to keep up to date with all the information. Fields change on a daily basis and it’s easy to get buried in the vast amounts of data available. Without a clean and concise set of data all sorts of problems will arise. There are tools out there to help you with this process, but one ex-Google scientist, DJ Patil, once said that this process is ultimately a manual people-intensive process.

The future of Big Data in the HR space is limitless. With companies investing more and research more on the benefits, big data will continue to get bigger. This process is more than just analytics and requires a deeper understanding of the numbers and the root of the problem. If you put the hard work into compiling, analyzing, and researching you will obtain the numbers you need to better your organization. Big data is here to stay, how will you use it?

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.  She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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