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Big data, big benefits

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Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

Analytics are a significant consideration for business areas like marketing, sales and website management, but did you know it has also landed a position of importance in the HR world? Although it may not be the first thing you think of when you consider HR skills, analysis of big data is actually becoming an important function for HR professionals and departments. Working in a profession that is very people oriented can make some people leery of trusting their decision making to numbers, but the fact is, numbers show a black and white picture of what’s successful and what’s not. When coupled with your own experience and instincts, big data can make a big difference.

A decision-making tool

One of the most beneficial ways that big data can be used in HR is to assist with decision making. Big data is most successful when teamed with both good analysis software and your experience. For instance, you may rely on analytics showing that a certain salary offer is appropriate relative to the market to confirm that you’ve made the right decision. Big data is extremely valuable, but it by no means replaces your instincts or expertise. It’s also important to remember that big data is really just a set of numbers that represent people. Without your skill to determine the type of information you need for your efforts, you could be wading through hundreds of results. In short, it’s important to understand how these two knowledge sources (you and the data) come together in order to make the most of both.

Your workplace GPS 

Wouldn’t it be great if a voice popped into our work conversations and told us to make a U-turn when they start heading in the wrong direction? Well when you have big data on your side, you basically have a workplace GPS that can help you reroute, determine the best path and just provide a bit of guidance when it’s clear that you’re made a wrong turn. By utilizing analytics to periodically check your efforts, it’s apparent pretty quickly when something isn’t working. You don’t necessarily have to wait months to measure success when you can see real time analytics, evaluate the competitive market and compare to what your organization is doing.

Proving what matters

While those of us who work in HR absolutely understand the value of all the things an HR department does, executives sometimes struggle to understand its importance when the benefits aren’t specifically financial. However, numbers speak for themselves when you use big data to explain why your department needs a budget increase, why you are trying a specific approach or how successful your department has been. Not only can you show how you’ve been successful but you can also compare your efforts to averages or industry standards to help put it in perspective.

Whether your company is large or small and whether you use online big data sources like PayScale, gather your own information or utilize automatic analytics, every organization can benefit from big data.

Has your company utilized big data? Tell us about your experience with big data in the comments section below. 

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