Big Data is here whether you like it or not: and it could save your company
Before you read the words ‘Big Data’ and decide to stop reading, let me just say this: whether you like it or not, big data is going to be increasingly important to your organisation. You may already be a big data fanatic and have decided that ‘data mining’ is now the core role of your HR team. Or you may be a complete sceptic and believe that face-to-face conversations will always be the most important part of your role. The truth, as ever, lies somewhere in between. Data will never replace the human touch, but we are increasingly learning that data – if correctly analysed and understood – can help enormously in understanding how, when and where we need to apply that human touch.
For example, take time and attendance scheduling, staffing, and monitoring hours worked. You’ll have systems and processes already in place for this. That internal data is extremely valuable, and you or a team in your organisation will already analyse it to some extent to keep track of any trends or irregularities. How does that become ‘big data’? Well, by increasing the granularity of that data by asking more questions, and increasing the sources you draw upon. If you bring in employee self-service, allowing them to input their time, performance management, expenses, you name it, via their mobile devices, then your data increases exponentially while the effort needed by managers decreases accordingly. Layer onto that data taken from external sources, and you can benchmark your company’s data against your sector locally, even globally.
According to the latest global research by ADP, surveying thousands of employees across North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific, 91% of respondents believed that ‘employees will primarily rely on self-service to solve problems and get their job done’ either today or in the future. In addition, 95% felt that ‘Tech will enable organisations to proactively adjust individual/team performance’, while 82% believed employees will soon ‘define their own work schedule’.
Business decisions are increasingly based on the understanding and interpretation of data. A survey of executives in 2015 found that 72% agreed with the statement “Our HR strategy is significantly influenced by the analysis of business and people data from across our operations”, and 70% expect to begin using or increase our use of Big Data and advanced analytics to inform HR decisions over the next three years. Yet only 67% agreed that its HR leaders are yet able to clearly demonstrate tangible correlations between people management initiatives and business outcomes1.
Time and attendance must be agile, regularly updated, and the software should be simple and easy to use. As organisations look for increased accuracy and effectiveness in their management solutions, while offering more flexibility to their employees and contractors who may work from home or other remote locations, HR departments must keep pace with new programmes and services to ensure that teams remain seamlessly connected.
This may sound nerve-wracking if you’ve used the same tools and systems for years. But really it is a cause for celebration. Those tools and systems have been holding you back. New technology exists now that is much easier to use, saves time and money, while offering far, far greater insight into your workforce – what they really do, how they really feel, and how management can work with them to boost productivity and engagement.
To learn more how to use Big data and analytics to empower the modern workforce read our latest report here.
1.KMPG (2015), Evidence Based HR: The bridge between your people and delivering business strategy