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Posted by Lambda Solutions on May 13, 2014

love-big-data-300x300There's a new buzz word in town. "Big Data." You've heard about it and you likely have it, but are you using it to your advantage? If you have an open talent development and management platform in place, with integrated performance management, you are collecting a significant amount of data on your workforce and on individual employees. You can use that data for decision making and also--this is huge--you can back up your business proposals with hard data analyses. Yes, big data information gives you a lot more clout in the board room.

Big Data: Predictive Human Resources

Reporting on what is happening in your workforce now is the first step to making smart human resources decisions. You likely already have the ability to access key performance indicators (KPIs) and can generate workforce scorecards for planning. This kind of reporting is essentially a rear view mirror approach to planning. The next level of analytics maturity takes reporting a step further. You can understand what is taking place now, and anticipate what might happen in the future. In other words, you can develop predictive analytics for HR. Big data is essential to the latter because predictive analysis requires high sample rates in order to be considered statistically sound.

Big Data: Don't Waste It

These numbers might blow you away; they certainly got to me. The HR consulting firm, Bersin found in a study of more than 700 organizations, 75 % of HR managers said that HR analytics are important to their organization. However, 49% said they had no plan in place to ensure they could accumulate and interpret the right data. What a waste. Don't throw away valuable information.

If you are a strategic HR Executive, you will want to ensure that you contribute data-based insight into both workforce planning and individual employee performance. Let's focus on your workforce planning. Here are a few ways that this fount of data can be of use to you.

Turnover and Retention

You may be able to predict future turnover in specific functions, business units, or geographies by looking at factors like commute time, time since last role change, and performance over time. This means you can scale hiring efforts accordingly and focus retention activities on those more at risk areas and reduce it in other areas where retention strategies are less necessary.

Alignment with Objectives

Aligning talent development and corporate strategy is difficult. Often it seems corporate goals are large, unwieldy and difficult to grasp at the department level — let alone at the individual level. But, it doesn’t have to be. If the data shows a significant gap, you can rework role descriptions and tasks to bring work into alignment with corporate strategies.

Performance by and across roles.

By looking at average performance metrics over time, you might spot a particular department or role that may under perform. Armed with facts, you can devise a turnaround plan.

Profit Prophets

Can you find metrics that link staffing levels to profit? Or training and development expenditures with profit? You’ve got the data to run analyses that combine revenue data with staffing over time. Using predictive models, you might identify areas in which a staffing investment of $1 million could produce talent capable of increasing revenues by $5 million in the coming year.

Test Assumptions

Some organizations think that by allowing people to work from home, they save on infrastructure and other operational costs. The real question is: Are there offsetting performance losses, resulting in lower revenues that might dwarf the savings from telecommuting? Maybe CEO Marissa Meyer had more than just a hunch when she issued the edict that Yahoo employees could no longer work from home. Armed with data, you can test assumptions about your HR practices.

Big Data can add solid statistical and analytical backup for human resources planning. We haven't even begun to look at how it can transform your employee performance practices. Another time.

Ready to learn more about an integrated performance management system? Contact us. We're here to help.

Topics: Analytics

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