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HRO Today & TMT Welcome @ADP to Guest Host #HRTechChat

Topic: Big, Bigger, Biggest: How Companies Are Using Data to Drive Business Outcomes of All Sizes

When: Friday, Oct. 12 @ 2pm ET / 11am PT


#HRTechChat's questions this week come from ADP, and following are the company's sage answers—a robust springboard for teeming tweeting this Friday, Oct. 12, at 2pm ET / 11am PT. Click here for the preview.

Q1: What is #BigData & how does it relate to HR & talent management?
A1: Big Data is defined as the potential knowledge locked in the estimated terabytes, petabytes and exabytes of information that is being created daily and stored throughout the cloud. 
The good news is that HRIS systems have stored enough core employee information on recruiting, performance, compensation, succession and learning to fill up hard drives in cloud servers around the globe.  As a result, HR professionals benefit from having a wealth of information at their fingertips that can assist them in making a variety of decisions, from recruiting to retention to strategic expansion plans.  The bad news is that mining the knowledge out of all that data is incredibly challenging.
Q2: How do we even begin to analyze the tremendous amount of data we are privy to? 
A2: With organizations only able to digest approximately 5 percent of the data they have today, the challenge of Big, Bigger and even Biggest Data is daunting.
The first—and often most difficult hurdle to leap in analyzing data—is connecting data from different domains together and in defining the relationships between different data elements and what those relationships mean.  Is an increase a positive or a negative?  Many times the value isn’t in the data, but in the insight into the relationship between the data.
Q3: Is there such a thing as Bigger & Biggest Data?
A3: Yes and no. Although these terms are not industry standards, they provide an expanded view of how we can use Big Data. By breaking Big Data down even further, we can help HR professionals answer myriad questions, depending on what they are trying to achieve.
  • Big Data includes all the HR related data that is available regarding past and present employees.
  • Bigger Data includes a collection of more than one company’s Big Data, acting as a benchmark for analyzing information.
  • Biggest Data is all the Big Data available that can help answer questions beyond the scope of HR and into the realm of traditional business.
Q4: What are some examples of how Big, Bigger & Biggest Data has helped guide better #HR decision-making?
A4: With the help of Big Data, employers can now answer many tough HR questions that were difficult to impossible to answer before. One example is: “Where do our top performers come from?” Whether they come from a particular college, geographical region or other third-party company is immaterial.  The fact is that the company would have to break down silos in order to answer the question, and then the data would have to be related.  This is the first—and most simple—level of Big Data for HR.
Bigger Data is the next logical step because it requires gaining access to a wider world of HR data.  For example, an HR VP would probably be interested in the answer to the following question: “If we pay new employees at 75 percent of the salary range instead of 50 percent, would we get the type of talent that would make us more successful?”  There are numerous questions that have to be answered before the core question can even be attempted, but Bigger Data can help do just that.
Biggest Data can break out of the HR domain altogether. Suppose there is a market analysis that says a new mine will open in 2015 that could supply vital raw materials a company needs for its product in Peru.  Does that mean that it should staff a new factory in Peru?  What will the talent market look like in Peru for skilled labor and management?  Will current managers move there for a short or long term assignment?  Biggest Data can help answer these types of questions. 
Q5: How do you relate Big Data to the long term? Can you look at short- & long-term?
A5: Often we get caught in using data to make short-term decisions—it’s a “give me an answer now” mentality. Big Data in talent management allows HR leaders and departments shift to long-term thinking and planning by taking into account trends, to be more predictive. This results in better strategic decision-making on the part of business and HR professionals alike—and together.