It’s Time to Take the Plunge: How HR Can Migrate to Big Data Analytics

This week’s post is brought to you by David Spring, Optis' Business Development Analyst.

You’ve probably heard the buzz about big data analytics. Is it a fad? Is it here to stay? Should you dive in? Yes, it’s time to take the plunge and start using big data analytics for making human resource program decisions.

The results of HR analytics provide concrete evidence for making effective decisions. Analytics illuminate metrics and statistics related to your people data; measures related to not only job performance, but also pinpointing problems with absenteeism and interrelationships between utilization of the various paid/unpaid benefits available to your employees. This is beneficial for the short and long term. Begin to build an HR Analytics Team and partner with an organization that complements your existing HR department; even if your team currently consists of just you. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that a partnership can provide:

Supplements stretched resources - you are likely bound by limited resources. First and foremost, how readily available, integrated and summarized is your people data? Data has to be manageable for statistics to be measured and relationships to be identified. Is your HR data joined so that relationships can be identified between the different types of data? Or, are you already aware of whether, for instance, one location or job type more heavily utilizes certain benefits more than other groups?

Lightens your workload - your time is valuable, precious and consumed with responsibilities other than to design a way to integrate and summarize your HR data. Leave this legwork to the people data experts.

Provides guidance – if you are inexperienced in regards to analytics, that’s okay. Analytical skills, in part, are associated with organizing data in a useful fashion, identifying and answering business questions and detecting the most actionable items from your HR data. Even if you have developed analytical skills, it’s not likely you consider yourself a data scientist; nor are you necessarily interested in becoming one!

Create the Right Partnership Choosing the right HR analytics partner is important; you want an organization with whom you are compatible. Compatibility is driven by many characteristics but a few include: having the right sized vendor that can adjust to your needs, data expertise, and a vendor that will challenge you to new heights.

Implementing a new HR solution requires explanation and guidance. When your expertise is not in data integration and HR analytics, you may be unclear as to how to go about providing valuable, actionable information to senior leadership. The right partner will come alongside explaining the truth while opening the door to new possibilities with your HR data.

A vendor with data expertise is also important. This type of expertise spans the horizon of different HRIS vendors and incorporates this type of data even when changes occur. The vendor should be able to securely, collect, join and assemble benefits, payroll, talent and other types of data in order to maximize what can be learned from this data integration.

Furthermore the right partner will challenge you by providing the appropriate level of guidance as needed. Not everyone likes to be told what to do! While similarities exist between the types of questions asked by practitioners of HR, not all organizations will pursue the same path to answer those questions. One company may pursue learnings that can be obtained from relationship between the data triumvirate of workers’ compensation, disability and FMLA data. On the other hand, a different company may investigate the relationships between safety, productivity and payroll. Learnings and subsequent actionable items may be different for each individual organization. Let your vendor guide you in the right direction.

It’s time. Big data is useful and can give you insights into your organization. You are ready. Take the plunge.