Embracing Big Data is a Must for Successful HR Departments

Gina Deveney
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In the years since Big Data made its appearance in the mainstream consciousness, individual businesses have begun to integrate it into standard operating procedures. Human resources departments, in particular, benefit from data-driven systems. In fact, according to some experts, data will be a key to HR success in the coming years.

Big Data has exciting applications in hiring and employee management, making it a natural fit for HR departments. According to a recent study by Towers Watson, data-related technology now ranks in the top three HR investments. Before you can integrate data-driven practices into your department, it is crucial to understand the ways they can transform your organization.


For HR departments, one of the most exciting impact areas for Big Data lies in the hiring process. Hiring has long been an expensive and time-consuming practice, with highly unpredictable outcomes. Data-driven systems can make it easier to select employees who are more likely to perform well and stay longer, thereby reducing costs and increasing profits for the company.

Using public data, information collected by data companies and the answers to pre-employment tests, companies can create a profile of each candidate. The company must also compile and analyze extensive information about current and past employees to understand the predictors for success. Then, a data-analysis system compares the two sets of information and returns a list of candidates who are likely to perform well on the job. This method helps HR departments overcome natural human biases and choose candidates based on facts rather than intuition.

Employee Management

In traditional workplaces, managers and HR departments make decisions based on observations and hard numbers. Without constant oversight, however, it can be difficult to spot the reasons behind observed patterns. Employee information systems that use Big Data allow HR professionals to gather information on every part of the business process. The systems can track everything from transaction time to sale amounts.

With a wealth of information about day-to-day practices, analysts can spot patterns and correlations. That information helps HR departments understand where employees need more training, locate bottlenecks in the system and identify the causes of common problems. With sophisticated Big Data systems, it is possible to identify the struggles and strengths of individual employees and provide the appropriate resources to enhance performance. Using sales data, HR professionals can determine the best times to bring in temporary support for overloaded employees. When all parts of the system are working effectively, employees experience less frustration and increased job satisfaction.

As more human resources departments begin to invest in Big Data, it is becoming essential for success. By finding ways to integrate data-driven systems into your company early on, you can keep up with competitors and develop a process that works for your company.

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