Is Big Data the New Trend for HR?

12 Apr

Using Big Data for Human Resources RecruitmentAmid the many changes occurring in the HR industry, experts believe managers should focus on the volume of stored data to help with hiring needs and performance management.

According to Forbes contributor Josh Bersin, of Bersin by Deloitte, HR professionals should expect to see the use of big data increase over the next few years to help drive business decisions. HR software system providers are expected to start creating tools to help human resource personnel analyze and segment employee management data, added the source. So how are organizations going to use big data to measure business success rates and employee retention?

HR to Utilize Big Data to Understand Employee Performance
One of the benefits big data has to offer human resource managers is its ability to store, retain, and track employee performance within the workplace. According to Bersin, relying on a gut instinct alone is not enough to base a hiring decision on or choose whether or not an employee should receive a raise.

A statistical analysis conducted by Gartner measured the success of the company’s hiring and employee performance over the first two years for new hires. Gartner relied on educational factors, including good grades and college locations, when deciding whom to hire, reports Bersin. The group believed that these factors were key indicators on which job applicants would be successful within the workplace, but after those two years, the group was proven wrong on the demographic factors they were basing their hiring process on.

The top three things that had no influence as to whether or not a new employee was successful in the workplace included where the candidate went to school, the grades they received, and the quality of their references, Gartner research revealed, as cited by Bersin. So two of out of the three least important employee performance measurement factors Gartner was basing its hiring process on turned out to be irrelevant when it comes to the success of new hires and their company, he wrote.

Six Resume Factors That Account for Employee Success
According to the data, recruiters and human resource managers should look at factors outside of education alone to determine whether or not the candidate will be successful within an organization. Gartner was able to measure six key factors that highly correlated with the success rate of new hires and their employers.

The majority of talent success was reflective of previous employment opportunities listed on a job seeker’s resumé. With the use of big data, Gartner was able to identify these key factors that would yield a successful hire:

  • A clean, error-free resumé
  • Educational completion of some sort
  • High success rate in sales
  • Record of achievements in previous positions held
  • Ability to take initiative to get work done
  • Time management and multitasking skills

Gartner identified these key factors as big data information that can help aid HR managers and recruiters make the smart decision when hiring, reported Bersin.

Numbers Matter
Businesses are looking for HR managers to take on a stronger business role, reported Resource Nation. CEOs use numbers all the time to analyze business needs, and they expect HR managers to jump on board and communicate by using data instead of gut feelings or qualitative records, added the source.

But before HR managers take on the language barrier, they need to come up with a strategy to make big data work for them; otherwise, they will become swamped with numbers and no solution to analyze the mass amount of information. With big data, HR managers can track employee performance starting at the initial interview and throughout the course of employment, Resource Nation said.

The source recommends HR managers capitalize on the fact that they can create markers within these performance measurement systems based on time or achievements to accurately measure performance. These markers help managers see positive employee skills and identify what areas of the organization are experiencing a skills gap. Employee management software along with big data helps HR pinpoint qualified workers within the business to fill these positions and/or measure job applicants who will aid in business progression.

Company decision makers, team leaders, and business higher-ups are more likely to have a positive reaction to assessment data rather than a gut feeling, added Resource Nation. Numbers continue to help HR managers measure and analyze employee performance to help them make better, smarter hiring decisions during the recruitment process to bring in employees who will contribute to business meeting goals and objectives.

We want to know what you think about using data to analyze and strategize during the recruitment process and to manage employees. Do you believe it’s a better way to read and predict who will be successful in the workplace? Or should HR managers continue to rely on resumés and personal impressions during the interview process? Sound off on how your company is changing its human resource structure to integrate big data as a recruitment strategy in our comments section.


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  1. Roundup: This Week’s Popular HR News from Around the Web | Cost Management Services - April 12, 2013

    […] Is Big Data the New Trend for HR? Amid the many changes occurring in the HR industry, experts believe managers should focus on the volume of stored data to help with hiring needs and performance management. […]