07/07/2015 08:22 EDT | Updated 07/07/2016 05:59 EDT

Why HR Departments Should Be Embracing Big Data


When you hear the term Big Data you might associate it with certain functions of an organization, like marketing, product development or customer relationship management. You may not think about HR as part of this equation.

By definition, human resources is intrinsically tied to the personnel within an organization. From hiring, to training and administration, people are at the core of HR. So in a sector that requires a high degree of human interaction, businesses might ask, what does that have to do with Big Data?

It's hard to deny that technology has transformed the way companies approach staffing, with more tools to help find the strongest candidate for a position, at the right time and in the most strategic way.

Here's an example: millions of job-seekers turn to Monster to upload their resume and be considered for open positions. As you might imagine, this creates a massive volume of data. Employers come to us with a particular need for talent and using data analysis, we can tap into our database to pull out a tiered list of the strongest candidates. But organizations are also optimizing their internal processes to determine their needs on the long-term.

The Role of Analytics

So what role can big data play?

As Harvard University professor Gary King stated, "Big data is not about the data." Ultimately, it's about what is done with the data. This is where predictive analytics comes in.

In the past, companies might have used analytics for the staffing basics of who, when and why. We see the potential that mining big data can bring when it comes to how predictive analytics is changing the way businesses find and retain top talent. Businesses can use big data to be competitive in a wide range of ways:

  • Talent acquisition and pipeline planning. Organizations can be more strategic and proactive, gaining a better understanding of why an opportunity might be appealing to a candidate or what location might be the best fit for a recruitment campaign.
  • Saving time. Data can help reduce the time it takes to fill a position by making the search more accurate and the candidates better suited.
  • Job posting effectiveness. Organizations can determine trends and response levels based on demographics, location and industry.
  • Evaluate candidate quality. Analytics can allow recruiters to more efficiently assess a wider range of candidates than traditionally possible.

Don't Be Afraid to Test the Waters

Adoption of Big Data and analytics into the HR function has been far from widespread. Deloitte's 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report found that only eight per cent of organizations feel their company is "strong" in the area of HR and people analytics.

Organizations that are curious about how they might benefit from big data and analytics may consider starting small. Run a pilot program introducing a big data intelligence tool into one facet of your department. Don't try to do everything at once -- you can scale the tools into other areas in a way that makes sense for your organization.

Forward-looking companies are seeing the potential big data can bring. Those who aren't considering its impact may find themselves out of the running in the hunt for top talent.


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