If You’re Not Using Big Data in Your HR Department, Here’s Why You Should Be


When you think of the ways that big data is used by businesses, it’s probably the marketing and finance departments that spring to mind. However, using in-depth insights and analytics can also be extremely useful for HR practices, whether you’re growing your company or just looking to make sure your team is efficient as possible.

Here are some of the best ways you can use big data to the advantage of your human resources department.

Improved Hiring Process

Big data allows companies to make the hiring process much more efficient. Technology like HRIS means that CVs can be sifted through at rapid speeds to look for keywords such as a specific job title or qualification, and data from social media and recruitment sites also makes it easier to find potential hires.

With so much data now available headhunting is now easier than ever before. For example, if a company is expanding into Italy and wants to find new employees or business partners they only have to do a search of an Italy business directory to find professionals with the right levels of experience in their industry who are located in the region.

Save Money from Bad Hires

Choosing the wrong person to fill your position can end up costing you a lot financially. Not only in terms of their salary and any benefits they receive, but also the money spent on things like the hiring process, any training required, as well as the time involved in these activities.

Hiring someone who turns out to not be a good fit for the role can also have detrimental effects when it comes to things like productivity and even your brand’s reputation; both of which can cost you revenue in the long run. Using big data allows you to cut back on the risk of making a bad hire by using more in-depth information to base your decisions on, and ultimately saves your business money.

Increased Productivity

Big data gives businesses the chance to increase their productivity levels by measuring their performance metrics. Through these insights managers can determine how well individuals are performing, how they’re interacting with clients and other staff members and even how stressed they are.

Companies can also monitor how well their teams are working together. For example, the Bank of America used big data technology to track employee movements and their interactions with another. The results showed that that teams who were friendliest with each other ultimately were the most productive.

Improved Training

Offering a plan for professional development to your employees is necessary in order for them to feel confident and have all of the skills needed to continue to be successful in the role as your business grows. However, the reality is that training can easily become expensive, which is why it’s imperative to look at how the money is being spent.

In order to ascertain how wise these outgoings are, you need to monitor the analytics surrounding employee training, such as how many people are participating, whether the skills learnt are being applied, and whether or not they’re making a positive change on productivity and overall revenue.

Find What Matters

Another important use of big data in the hiring process is that it allows you to identify the factors that are most relevant for your business when deciding who is and isn’t a good fit. For example, you might determine that how long someone has worked at their previous positions isn’t actually a good indicator of success for your position, but you need someone who has worked at a large company.

This means that as well as using third-party resources such as a business database to narrow your employee search, you should also look internally at the data you have on previous hires and their outcomes. Ultimately different organisations will glean different insights from this kind of data, so it’s essential that you carry out an analysis of your own HR data to really understand what you need from an employee.

Employee Retention

Getting employees to stick around long term can be a problem for many businesses, but constantly having to go through the whole hiring process for the same positions can end up costing you a lot of money. This is another area where big data can come in useful; businesses can look for patterns to determine the types of people who stay at the company for a long time, and those who are more likely to leave after a few months.

This process could involve looking at things like the staff member’s activity online, their job history, their attendance record, how well they’ve been performing and how that relates to how they’ve performed in the past.

Once a business has a clear idea of their ideal employee, it becomes much easier to recognise this in applicants, and they can also use this data to spot when someone is going to leave. If it’s a team member who is a productive and valued asset to the company, HR can then put a plan into place to prevent them from leaving the company, e.g. offering a raise or promotion.

Predict Changes and Challenges

Using big data as part of your overall business strategy will allow you to predict changes both to your company and the market as a whole.

Whether it’s something positive such as an increase in sales thanks to a seasonal increase in demand, or something negative like a rival company taking a much larger share of the market, being able to predict potential ups or downs more accurately will give you more time to adequately prepare. For example, if you need to hire more staff or make redundancies in order to save money.

While big data is talked about less frequently in an HR context, as we’ve explored above there are plenty of ways it can make a positive impact on the department’s operations. There’s no question that big data is here to stay, so by taking the steps to implement it across your whole organisation now will ensure you keep ahead of the curve and remain as efficient as possible.

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