HR Must Make Better Use of Big Data

HR must be able to make sense of data analytics.

Many businesses see the importance of employing a staff that works hard and has potential. However, some firms aren't sure how to measure just how far their workforce can take them, and may actually be affecting the company bottom line in the long run. A recent study performed by talent measurement firm SHL revealed those in the HR realm have too much on their plate and are failing to take in the insights from employee data that can help them make key decisions for their workforce in the future.

HR Not Paying Attention to Employee Data
With 77 percent of HR professionals not knowing how the potential of their workforce impacts the success of the firm in future and and less than half of organizations using objective talent data to drive business decisions, many companies are lacking the insights that help them address staffing issues. The mass amount of data produced each day is making it difficult for HR professionals to understand what data is useful, and what can be pushed to the wayside.

"Our research shows that even though organizations measure employee performance, they have historically focused on efficiency data, like how well an employee is performing versus data that allows them to make a strategic talent decision," said Ken Lahti , vice president of product development and innovation at SHL. "This means key information on talent potential and future capability is overlooked, effectively making targeted programs that identify the next generation of leaders and nurture talent for critical roles ineffective. This increases succession risk for organizations, putting business performance and continuity in jeopardy."

Firms Focusing on Other Process Aspects Besides Big Data
Employee data seems to be on the back burner for many firms, as many processes are taking precedent before analytics. The survey demonstrated 55 percent of respondents are looking for ways to engage their talent, 52 percent are researching leadership training strategies and 49 percent are interested in performance. 

"HR is still grappling with its ability to provide strategic data to the business on its workforce and is ill-equipped right now to take advantage of big data," said Lahti. "They do not yet have the systems and tools required to identify people intelligence, create metrics, and link HR data sources together."

Forty-three percent of respondents are looking into workforce planing/talent analytics. This number needs to be higher, as companies must to get the most of of their employees and can't afford to have staff members that are not getting the job done.

"The ability to analyze greater volumes of complex workforce data and translate in to meaningful talent metrics offers HR the opportunity to identify skill shortages and development opportunities, while also answering the most pressing talent questions, such as whether the company has the talent to execute on its business plan and grow at the desired rate," said Lahti.

HR Departments Must Embrace Big Data
Many business leaders are reluctant to change processes at their firms. However, incorporating big data resources and analytics into managing the workforce must be a part of strategy for the upcoming years. A recent article for Resource Nation discussed how companies are able to use large data sets to find the right employee for the job, instead of just hiring the one who looks "good enough." These insights aren't only about finding the job candidate that is most qualified for the positions. Big data streams can also provide information about which prospect can impact the firm in the future. By using analytics, HR professionals can begin to compile a team of superstars.