We’re officially in Q2 of 2017, and it’s clear that some of the same industry-leading trends that having been influencing HR for years have continued to advance and will remain hot topics for the foreseeable future. Big Data and its natural counterpart, analytics, showed the potential to impact nearly every aspect of HCM–and recent advancements have made them increasingly instrumental for today’s HR and business leaders.
Leveraging Yesterday’s Data to Change Tomorrow
Big Data provides a staggering wealth of quantitative information, often mined from millions of complex data points to shed light onto patterns, trends and outliers that can significantly affect organizations. Because of Big Data’s sheer enormity, advanced analytics are necessary to glean any usable insights from these massive collections, and current technology is capable of much more than simply detecting organizational trends (although this alone is quite valuable, too).
Today’s analytical HCM solutions can predict everything from performance success to retention risk, using unbiased mathematical algorithms to forecast future scenarios with tremendous accuracy. What’s more, the development of prescriptive analytics takes predictive measures one step farther, offering fact-based, real-time suggestions at key decision points to assist employers in making their most crucial leadership decisions. These prescriptive analytics solutions are part of a new generation of insight-driven tools that enable organizations to easily harness the power of Big Data and gain a competitive edge for the future.
HR leaders and executives are empowered to proactively plan for and protect against obstacles, instead of responding retroactively. American Fidelity Assurance Company, for example, benefited significantly from implementing UltiPro’s data-driven predictive analytics, and an in-house curriculum that guides managers through step-by-step strategies to motivate high-risk, high-performing employees. In addition to improving retention, American Fidelity was able to concentrate on developing their high-potential and top-performing individuals and increase engagement among employees (and management) as a result.
The People Factor
As human resources professionals, it’s important not to forget the human aspect. Let’s face it: people can be complicated and unpredictable. While data analysis has come incredibly far in its evolution from real-time to predictive to prescriptive, a common criticism of Big Data is its inability to recognize the emotions and motivations behind why people acted the way that they did.
Understanding what inspires employees and what they care about most is a crucial aspect of building a workplace that values, engages, and retains its people. Annual performance reviews and exit/stay surveys simply aren’t effective enough at recognizing the actual employee experience. That’s why I’m extremely excited about new sentiment-analysis technology, which combines natural language processing (NLP) and machine-learning algorithms to interpret and analyze comprehensive open-ended surveys and reveal underlying employee emotions. These surveys, which can be sent out at regular intervals and completed on both desktop and mobile devices, reveal not only what your employees are saying, but also the underlying emotions they’re feeling. Here’s a glimpse of how it works:
Using prescriptive analytics and sentiment analysis means that today’s leaders can review both quantitative and qualitative data to understand past trends and future developments. Even better, they’re supported by real-time, actionable insights to improve every aspect of the employee experience while pinpointing future high performers and flight risks. Big Data and analytics may be the same buzzwords we’ve been using for years, but they’re anything but yesterday’s news.