4 Reasons Why HR Benefits From Better Data Intelligence

June 28, 2016 Zuman

Human resources is in the middle of a transformation. The department's role is no longer simply that of "hire, fire, retire." Instead, it's becoming an integral part in how companies are meeting a new digital future with increasingly diverse populations of workers and modes of thought.

This sort of evolution is mandating the use of data in novel ways in addition to redefining traditional HR practices. Still not entirely convinced? Here are four reasons why your HR team should take a page out of the finance department's book and dive into data science:

1. Hire better
Just because the role of HR is shifting doesn't mean traditional responsibilities are getting thrown by the wayside. Rather, the manner in which such change is occurring often targets these tasks and asks, "How can we make this easier? How can we do this better?" This is where data comes into play. Using big data when hiring allows HR professionals to look past the traditional resume and interview schematic to get a bigger picture. Professional social media sites like LinkedIn, blogs and portfolios, tests, online resume communities, challenges, and more help HR foster a more comprehensive idea of not only an applicant but how they are situated in relation to the job market as a whole.

2. Communicate more easily across departments
As business and culture grow more technology-driven, the language around such advances is permeating and infusing interactions, and HR, as the keeper of company well-being, needs to be able to communicate effectively with both members of the C-suite and millennial IT guys. As Dean Geoffrey Garrett of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania told the Wall Street Journal, business leaders and managers without technical backgrounds still must be "able to talk to the geeks."

3. Improve training
Ensuring employees are getting the training necessary to advance both their performance and the company as a whole is best achieved when program outcomes are measured. While qualitative metrics help, HR is also able to measure output and compare those employees who have made use of development opportunities versus those who haven't. This will help HR leaders deploy the most successful training programs and save money by cutting those that simply aren't up to the job.

4. Boost returns
According to research from Bersin by Deloitte, those companies that have implemented big data strategies in their HR departments and that focus on analysis rather than reporting have experienced significant returns. Josh Bersin wrote in Forbes that these high-performing companies are twice as likely to have high-impact recruiting programs and boast leadership pipelines that are 2.5 times as robust as their counterparts. On top of that, HR sees a boost in respect for how it uses data in strategic and targeted ways. Companies are becoming more data-driven operations, and these are only a few reasons why HR departments should incorporate analytics into their strategic processes.

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