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Big Data Explained

What is big data and why should HR care about it?

—Puzzled Practitioner

October 2, 2013
Related Topics: Dear Workforce

Dear Puzzled:

The concept behind “big data” involves analyzing large volumes of data – which is rapidly changing – using new tools and technologies. Although the big-data idea applies to companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and Twitter deal, which deal with huge amounts of data, the same techniques apply to the human resources function.

HR departments have access to hundreds of data elements about their employees: demographics, performance and compensation, job history, assessments, work assignments, training history and more. HR leaders care able to use this data to understand behavior patterns of high-performing employees, thus helping the company dramatically improve its performance.

Other big-data applications involve analyzing payroll information to identify what is known as “payroll leakage,” such as areas of high overtime or other inadvertent expenses. Companies are now using tools for “talent analytics” to improve sales performance, reduce turnover, cut payroll expenses, boost customer service and client retention, reduce fraud, and a myriad of other critical business challenges.

Our research shows that only 4 percent of HR organizations have mastered the art of exploiting big data to their advantage. Soon, however, using big data strategically will emerge as a mainstream capability – and a major new competency – for HR departments.

SOURCE: Josh Bersin, principal, Bersin by Deloitte, Oakland, California, Sept. 4, 2013


 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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