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This is a guest post by Kate Smedley


In The Rise of HR, big data is described as HR’s most important ‘natural resource’ but HR still remains largely resistant to analytics. According to research carried out by Deloitte only 14% of businesses have any type of talent analytics programmes in place and just 4% have predictive analytics capabilities.

Big data gives HR the opportunity to make evidence based decisions that correlate with the overall strategy of a business. People analytics is about examining data to identify patterns in behaviour, determine facts that HR is not aware of and to predict talent acquisition and retention patterns. It is vital during the hiring process and throughout the lifecycle of an employee. Here’s why:-

Big Data tells you if your existing methods are working

Metrics are an invaluable tool for HR leaders to understand the effectiveness or otherwise of existing hiring and retention programmes. The move towards data driven decision making incorporates both analytics and performance metrics. As the skills shortage squeezes global business leaders, HR must adopt a strategic approach towards talent management. Big data is the starting point.

Big Data identifies your high risk assets

As well as its ability to identify the source of your most successful hires, big data identifies your high risk assets – the top performers who may be on the point of resigning. PwC’s 18th Annual CEO Survey identified ‘scarcity of talent’ as one of the major concerns for global business leaders. Data provides insight into trends in employee turnover and engagement enabling HR to adopt a pro-active stance and prevent talented employees from handing in their notice.

Big Data improves employee retention

Staff retention is a very real problem for HR. Research carried out by Hays found that one third of UK companies experience turnover levels of 21%. Analytics helps HR to identify and recognise the high achievers, as well as employees who are struggling in their roles, evaluating why they leave and why they stay. Data provided by social recruiting, exit interviews and interviewing new hires will help businesses to reduce attrition rates.

Big Data offers improved workforce planning

The most effective workforce planning strikes a delicate balance between what your business needs and HR’s ability to meet those demands. Big data enables employers to more accurately forecast future patterns of employee movement, allowing HR to plan talent and skills needs and adjust its seasonal and long-term recruiting requirements.

Big Data reduces errors in the hiring process

Talent analytics provides accurate data on historical hiring patterns to reduce the risk of a bad hire, rather than rely on CVs and ‘gut feeling’. Sophisticated HR software offers online testing, self-assessment by applicants, automated, personalised engagement and an improved candidate experience which extends to onboarding.  The expanse of data available enables HR to identify the skills and talent it needs.

Big data improves performance strategies

Performance data offered by talent analytics provides insight into the engagement levels of your company’s high performing employees, together with their common core skills, competencies and typical behaviour. The most accurate data will predict how long a specific skilled group will perform at their peak. By tracking, evaluating and sharing performance-related data, HR gains more understanding of the individual motivation of employees.

Big data incorporates automated recruitment marketing

Applicant tracking systems are today’s CRM (customer relationship management), identifying and tracking qualified candidates through the hiring process. Analytics enables HR to build and nurture a talent pool while providing an awareness of the behaviour of those candidates through their engagement with social media and automated e-mails.

Big data is HR’s most natural resource as it simplifies and streamlines the hiring process. Start small. Investing in scalable HR software allows HR to gather and analyse the data it needs to evaluate and improving hiring success, streamline the talent pool and recruiter better people faster.

Download the report ‘Big Data – Overcoming the HR Fear Factor’ here.


IMG011With 18 years of experience in recruitment and HR, Kate Smedley writes on behalf of Advorto. Advorto’s recruitment software provides workflow and structure across the entire hiring process, offering a dynamic database of candidates and analytics. Used by some of the world’s leading organisations, it provides a straightforward first step into HR analytics and big data.