Big Data is Revolutionizing HR: Are You Being Left in the Dark?

December 13th, 2013

Historically, the gold standards in hiring have been resumes and interviews. Good tools still, but resumes can mask many faults and interviews can favor those who are more naturally articulate and personable. Until recent years, HR professional have had to rely largely on experience and instinct as they make their final staffing decisions.

By creating new streams of verifiable information, Big Data has changed the face of talent management. As noted by LinkedIn Vice President of Talent Solutions Dan Shapero, “Recruiting has always been an art, but it’s becoming a science.”

Big data is a big deal – and it’s important to understand how you can use it to your company’s advantage.

What Big Data Means for HR  

Increasingly, companies are analyzing employee data to answer a variety of critical questions, such as:

  • Why does one employee outperform another?
  • How long does it take for a new hire to become productive?
  • Who do certain leaders succeed while others fail?

Energy conglomerate Black Hills Corporation recently doubled its workforce to about 2,000 following a corporate acquisition. The company was faced with a looming talent risk due to an aging employee base, a lack of specialized skills, and a lengthy timeline for getting workers up to full competence. Forecasts showed that Black Hills could lose a daunting 8,063 years of experience within five years unless drastic changes were made.

Black Hills applied workforce analytics to calculate how many employees would retire per year, what types of workers would be needed to replace them, and where those new hires might come from. The result was a groundbreaking workforce planning summit that prioritized 89 action plans to address the potential talent shortage.

There are dozens of stories out there that parallel the success achieved at Black Hills Corporation. It all boils down to utilizing workforce science to grow, stabilize and finesse your HR strategy.

Deliver the Best Data

In the rush to deliver the best data for HR applications, companies must consider how they can equip their leaders with not only the right information, but also the best means of using it and quickly synthesizing key insights from it.

Your analytics must be:

  • Relevant: Information must be applied to business issues using a top-down approach, rather than wasting an unnecessary amount of resources on bottom-up data mining.
  • Valid: The quality of your data is critically important, as is the way your managers are educated in the credibility of talent metrics.
  • Compelling: Analytics must tell a story. Your HR team can’t just present raw numbers and expect recipients to “get it” and identify the correct message. Be prepared to listen to and understand your audience, create a plot of related storylines, and deliver conclusions that tie all the key factors together.
  • Transformative: Ultimately, actionable analytics must change leaders’ behavior. Your executive team should be ready to change its mindset and make faster, better decisions as a result of talent data.

Armed with the right data, company leaders have countless opportunities to reduce workforce costs, identify revenue streams, and successfully execute plans and strategies.

To ensure that your company is staying current with industry trends and demands, including the latest developments in data mining and analysis, read our related posts or contact the expert team at Select Group, Inc., today.

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