The rapid proliferation of IoT technology has made it possible to collect data on more and more aspects of our daily lives. As the power and capacity of big data continues to grow, so does its wide range of practical applications – including recruitment.
Until relatively recently, big data had little relevance in the world of HR. Data collection was instead more commonly a staple of external channels, such as sales, adverts and product development. But today, finance and HR departments are finding new ways to integrate powerful analytics into strategic decision making processes, greatly improving employee retention, performance and organisational culture in general.
Big Data and HR
In an article for Forbes, Josh Bersin explores the new roles that big data is taking in Human Resources. Talent analytics seeks to answer important recruiting questions and influence hiring decisions. Since most businesses’ payroll makes up at least 40% of revenue (more than £2.749 trillion is spent on payroll around the world), it’s clearly worth understanding the key forces behind human capital.
A statistical analysis of sales performance for new employees, for example, revealed to one of Bersin’s clients that alma mater and GPA had no impact on success rates. Rather, those with an accurate and grammatically correct CV, at least some academic experience and an inherent ability to work in unstructured environments were the most successful salespeople.
A Vital Tool
It is no surprise, then, that big data and talent analytics have quickly become a popular tool among HR professionals. In her article, “Talent Analytics: A Crystal Ball For Your Workforce?,” Meghan Biro of Forbes outlines the many applications for big data in HR, as well as its long list of advantages.Beyond informing strategic change, like in the case of Bersin’s client, talent analytics is a powerful tool for those looking to make more informed management decisions, whether in compensation, promotion or placement.
It is similarly a brilliant predictive tool, as analysis of the most successful employees can help companies develop a baseline for future hires with tools like pre-hire screening surveys. The Harvard Business Review highlights workforce forecasts, which “analyse turnover, succession planning and business opportunity data to identify potential shortages or excesses of key capabilities long before they happen.” Using employee data, a company can forecast promotion rates and internal transfers, or staffing needs for areas of key growth.
Analytics can also help put a quantitative value on metrics once intangible, such as employee engagement. Best Buy, for instance, found that a 0.1% increase in employee engagement at a specific store has a value of more than £68,000 in annual operating income.
Avoiding BiasAdvancements in big data and related technology can also greatly impact diversity and inclusivity. In a recent interview with HRGrapevine, Kirstie Kelly of LaunchPad Recruits explained how unconscious biases can enter the recruitment process and get in the way of diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.
“Bias exists for a number of reasons and makes us draw conclusions based on candidates’ backgrounds, the way that they articulate themselves, and this could potentially end up being one of the parameters recruiters use to assess candidates,” she explains. “We also see behaviours where people have a propensity towards people of particular backgrounds, gender, race and experience.”
However, Kelly believes that technology can help, allowing recruiters to track multiple data points to help keep such biases out of the process
“For example, using video recruitment, you can identify a candidates age, gender, race, through language patterns we can start to determine someone’s capability through psychometric we can start to judge whether somebody is more suitable for the job. You have to take a multi-signal approach and use technology to demonstrate whether there is a match rather than allowing people to make a judgement.”
Through gaining a more thorough understanding of how such unconscious biases manifest themselves in the hiring process, recruiters can make the proper adjustments to limit those biases, and thereby increase cultural and intellectual diversity within the organisation – both crucial to bolstering employee productivity, innovative thinking and ultimately, the company’s revenue stream.
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