MAKING SENSE OF THE NUMBERS IN THE TECHNOLOGY SPACE
Analytics and metrics have been identified as one of the eight major trends in human resources (HR) management for the next decade.
With the technological revolution brought about by data-mining tecnologies at an all-time high,one can only dream of the limitless possibilities that analytics can churn out.
What does this is really mean for HR and HR practitioners-the real end users of all this seemingly endless stream of analysed data?
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a) BIG DATA-ORIGINS AND DEFINITIONS
Big data is a term adopted by market researchers that refers to what Gartner describes as ‘high-volume, high-velocity, and/ or high-variety information assets that require new forms of processing to enable enhanced decision making, insight discovery and process optimization.
The term originally coined by Doug Laney of Gartner referred to the three vs volume, velocity, variety
Since then, many others have added more vs into the mix including validity, veracity, value and visibility.
b) THE REAL MEANING
For organisations, ‘big data’ means a humungous volume of data on almost every known facet of information generated by the company.
It is what marketers are really after-data about potential employees, suppliers, customers, prospects, products, geographies, and community.
Data is churned and analysed from every possible angle to get an infinite variety of interesting insights from work-force demographics to working practices, as well as understanding employee habits and lifestyles.
The ability to ‘data mine’ these seemingly meaningless transactional data and translate them into a sensible warehouse of information that can be used to make critical business decisions is what adds value to ‘big data’.
And this is exactly what organisations are looking to get their hands on.
c) THE IMPLICATIONS FOR HR
From a HR perspective, ‘big data’ is a dynamics gold mine for the prospective employers, which can cover all areas of HR management including the full life cycle of HR functionality across different categories, disciplines and borders.
More importantly, ‘big data’ will deliver tangible results after processing an inordinately huge amount of data collected from various sources, both internal as well as external.
A technology-enabled solution that meets even half of the above requirements would give you a distinct competitive advantage. This is what modern businesses yearn for.
However, the trick is to put this massive amount of information to work for you, not only for HR, but for the entire organisations.
Doing so gives greater visibility and demonstrates innovation and leadership for the HR Team.
To effectively leverage on this intricate and voluminous set of data, you may want to engage the services of ‘data scientists’, a new professions that marries the science of information management with the demands of the latest technology innovations.
d) WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
As analytics become a trending innovation in the technology space, it is more so for HR analytics.
For organisations that have yet to use information systems such as SAP, People Soft or SAS, this might be your stepping stone
Investing in a custom built solution tailored to meet the needs of the business would definitely give high visibility to your organisation.
This is crucial as HR would then be seen as a strategic business driver in the organisation, rather than just an operational and administrative unit.
‘The ability to handle extremely large data volumes,’ predicts Yvonne Genovese, vice-president and analyst at Gartner, ‘will become a core skill in business and organisations.’
‘Increasingly, they will be looking to use new forms of information-such as text, context, and social media- to identify decision-supporting patterns. This is what Gartner calla a patrern-based strategy.’’
e) PREDICTIVE ANALYTICS
Technology companies are pushing the barriers of innovations when it comes to HR analytics.
Predictive analytics (Figure 1) is the latest buzzword in the management pages of technology journal globally.
What this means is that such technology has created an unseen sophistication and intelligence that is able to predict the future based on past trends, and analyse the future outcomes of business decision based on the data currently available.
On the top of the smart HR dash-boards, more organisations are turning to predictive HR analytics to give them an in-depth overview of their workforce and to make predictions on the future behavior of their employees.
This is a most welcome addition when it comes to hiring, training, developing and managing employees, especially where it involves diversity in culture or other factors.
Case Study: Impact of Predictive Analytics
Xerox reduced call centre turnover by gathering and studying data on characteristics and job performance of front line employees, then applying what it learned to the hiring process.
Evolv, an analytics firm found that employees without call centre experience were just as successful as those who had it, allowing Xerox to broaden its candidate pool.
Armed with such detailed information on what made successful hire, Xerox was able to reduce attrition by 20%
Give that it costs Xerox us$ 5000 to train a call center employee, that reduction had a real financial impact.
f) CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
Predictive analytics solutions certainly look like the future of technology. Moving forward,it is high time for HR practitioners in Malaysia to look into big data and HR analytics.