HR in 2015: Big Data & Big Opportunities

It’s the time of year when, having reviewed the previous 12 months and told us all what we already know, every commentator starts to predict the next big thing for the New Year. We are quite sure of the next big thing in HR for 2015 – HR, or perhaps more accurately named, workforce analytics.

Initially, big data raises more questions than it provides answers – to start with, what is HR big data, and what can you expect from it? But, once you get past this, the further questions it prompts are probably more stimulating and compelling.

For instance, within data, and with the use of predictive analytics, are there patterns in relation to skills, experience, and other background attributes (college, degree, volunteering, social networks) that can be used to predict engagement, productivity, contribution and value to an organization? And, will it be possible to incorporate social sensing into the mix? For example, can companies look at the wider attributes of potential recruits such as thinking, communication and learning preferences; personality; culture; ‘fit’; behaviors?  Can these be incorporated into an integrated, more holistic recruitment solution? Are there better ways of designing workplaces that take in to consideration social context and real-time feedback based on communication patterns and interaction styles?

2015 should be the year when HR adds data analytics capabilities to its teams; creating models and driving insights that optimize recruitment methods and HR processes. These new skills, combined with new workforce engagement and communications capabilities, should fundamentally change the nature of HR; making it a more powerful force in all aspects of business development, growth and strategy.

Beyond workforce analytics, other areas where 2015 will shine a light on some new innovative practices becoming more mainstream, include the following:

Adding recruitment marketing to the company’s marketing mix. A strong talent brand can reduce cost per hire by up to 50% and lower staff churn by 28%. It’s important to ensure alignment between a company’s brand and the personal brands of job applicants – aligned values will help ensure good fit and easier integration with existing teams. Similarly, a company’s marketing messaging in trying to attract talent must be aware of, and supported by, social and viral commentary to build a brand that not only attracts talent but delivers on its promise.

Another area is improving social and video communications, and enhancing interviewing skills, to accommodate a new generation of recruits. Technology is increasingly becoming an integral part of the recruitment process; through the use of social media and networks, video interviewing and virtual meeting tools. For a start, today’s prospects expect to be able to find and apply for jobs easily from mobile devices. HR must keep pace with an increasingly tech-native workforce in order to be able to engage with Millenials and Generation Z.

And finally, integrating corporate, internal and company social communications with core HR processes, in a responsively designed interface, enabling self-service from any device will improve workforce engagement and deliver better workforce experiences. For instance, people can keep up with the organization’s most important news without having to keep switching between multiple channels (email, intranets, enterprise social networks, etc). It may also help employees overwhelmed by the non-stop bombardment of information, by placing the most critical information in one place, alongside other workforce related activities e.g. booking a vacation, approving a pay rise, or providing instant recognition of a team member.

2015 should be the year when HR realizes the need for data analysts and statisticians who can help create models and drive insights that optimize their recruitment methods. This, as well as new engagement and communication methods and systems, should fundamentally change the nature of HR, making it a powerful force in all aspects of business growth and strategy.

Just this week, Hays and CIPD stated “HR directors must focus on developing their skills in data, analytics and social media to “future-proof” their careers”. Read the full story in Personnel Today

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