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HR professionals making 'big' discoveries with their data deployments

Rachel Wheeler Archive

Big data is everywhere. It's being used to predict the outcomes of major sporting events and national elections, but the analytics strategies are also being applied on a smaller scale in human resources departments across the country. With a growing stockpile of information, human resources professionals are teaming up with data scientists to find those needles of insight in the haystack that will let them know which employees will be top performers on the job. As business intelligence tactics are applied on a wider scale, it's crucial that companies also incorporate the necessary data quality tools, such as address management, to guarantee that all of the information they used is absolutely accurate. 

Human resources grapples with data deluge
While it would seem that companies couldn't get enough data, new research is surfacing that shows some adopters actually have more than they can handle or use. This may especially be the case among small- and medium-sized businesses. A recent survey by SHL looked into the ways firms are tapping analytics for hiring decisions and found that when big data is leveraged effectively, firms can recognize a boost in performance and retention of almost 20 percent. 

However, the survey also found that companies are overwhelmed by the amount of information on the internet and in their databases that can be harvested to derive better hiring information, according to Midsize Insider. The deluge, as it's called, is being caused by a burst in data growth in which 2.5 exabytes of content are generated every day. 

The dilemma companies now face is determining which information is valuable and which data is only clogging their systems. 

Finding the unexpected traits that make the best hires
Once HR teams and IT professionals discover which bits of information signal that an individual will make for a successful hire in contrast to the information that simply makes a candidate look good on paper, they can begin to realize cost savings and productivity increases. 

"It could be a potential game-changer for HR, but it's going to require a change in HR competencies and how HR is comfortable in using data to influence and inform the business and not simply track and measure compliance-related issues," Ken Lahti, vice president of product development and innovation at talent-measurement firm SHL America, told Workforce Magazine. 

Workplace performance firm Evolv on Demand recently discovered four unexpected correlations regarding on-the-job success - honesty is a better performance indicator than experience, criminal experience isn't necessarily a negative in some professions, long-term unemployment does not necessarily mean individuals are poor performers and that selective internet users are often more successful than conformists.