How will big data fundamentally change HR?

admin, 7th August 2017

Human Relations has always been exactly that – human. But with the advent of big data, the traditional role of HR is changing rapidly. HR professionals no longer sit in the corner of the office, but are likely to have a seat at the executive table as companies realise that having a data-led talent strategy is becoming increasingly important as the war for talent escalates.

But, just how is big data impacting HR?


Big data will affect recruitment in a number of ways – but primarily, it can eliminate bias in hiring. There are many advantages of having a diverse workforce, but our unconscious biases can sometimes impede a commitment to diversity. As you can imagine, data doesn’t have a problem with unconscious bias – it’s objectivity can ensure that you are always hiring the best candidate.

Furthermore, good data insight could save you hours of time by ensuring that you are only contacting people who are open to changing jobs. Of course, the market is full of actively searching candidates, but it’s in the passive market where the top talent really lies. Big data can highlight candidates who not only fit the skillset you need, but also those that are receptive to changing roles. That way, you’d only spend time contacting people who are likely to pursue the opening, saving you time and energy.


Nearly 4 out 5 business leaders rank employee retention as important or urgent – hiring is a costly endeavor after all. So, how could people analytics help you retain staff? Well, workforce analytics can help you identify the employees who are most at risk of leaving. But, knowing who is going to leave can only prepare you for the inevitable. You need to use data cleverly to identify why these people are at risk of resignation. That way, you can remedy the problems and retain your best staff.


Big data really comes into play when looking at employee productivity. Analytics from a Bank of America call centre showed that when employees took breaks together it improved overall productivity. This led to organisational changes which in turn created a 15-20% increase in productivity. Data can also be used to identify the skills gaps in your teams. You can therefore increase team performance by offering training or bringing in new staff.

People are the most important part of any business – it simply cannot function without them – so being able to objectively measure your workforce will help you build a talent strategy that really works. Get in touch with RTM today to find out more about how workforce analytics can transform your business.

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