In many industries and corporate areas, big data analyses have been part of everyday processes for quite some time. They support companies in achieving a strategic focus, in planning, and in assessing business processes and products. In HR department, big data is still underrepresented – however, we think this is going to change.

HR professionals limping behind

According to a study by Bitkom and LinkedIn from 2015, although a quarter of companies are open to big data, only nine percent of companies surveyed actually use data analysis in their HR departments. However, another 27 percent have clearly recognized the importance of the topic, and are working on it. 65 percent of companies, in contrast, haven’t thought about the issue at all.

Focus still on internal data

Things will probably look very different in just a few years. In reality, the scenarios in which the Human Resources Department can profit from big data are diverse – especially now, that the war for young and talented workers is fully underway, big data is very useful. Companies that already use big data analyses typically focus on internal data. Eight out of ten companies use master data, for instance, or information on illnesses or continuing education days. Analyses are intended to help companies optimize personnel use, personnel controlling, and personnel planning. Only 16 percent of companies take into account external data like labour market statistics, analyst reports, or information from social networks.

Making predictions with big data? It could happen in HR

Big data is less popular – today, anyway – as an aid in making predictions. But that doesn’t mean we can just toss out all of the potential benefits it could offer: assuming a good basic data pool, for example, recruiting could determine the likelihood of a certain group of candidates to change companies. Today, more than ever: winning employees and keeping them in your company are two sides of the same coin in our age of changing demographics. During application processes, a prediction of who is likely to leave your company could be a key consideration in making the decision between two otherwise equal candidates. We could even imagine creating more detailed candidate profiles for open positions – profiles that promise candidates who would remain loyal to the company. Last but not least, big data can help companies efficiently measure the effectiveness of employer branding.

Increase sustainability

For the time being, such analyses are only enjoying a niche market. But HR managers have said their goal is to make recruiting a more sustainable process and to place their personnel strategies on a secure foundation for the long-term. It’s only a question of time before making predictions with big data has become an established tool in the HR department.

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