When it comes to “Big Data,” small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) don’t have the same volume of information as large companies. However, that doesn’t mean that HR teams at SMBs can’t benefit from data integration and analytics similar to what large organizations use. The opportunities are great. According to the SMB Group, only around 18% of small businesses and 57% of medium businesses currently use business intelligence and analytics solutions.
HR expert Josh Bersin has suggested that “talent analytics” is a better term for big data applied to Human Resources. The goal of talent analytics initiatives is to drive better performance from the workforce. Data analysis can be used to support a wide variety of HR concerns. Examples of ways that SMBs can use talent analytics include:
- Identifying the employee characteristics that are associated with high levels of performance
- Finding what factors contribute to high levels of employee engagement and retention
- Determining which individuals have the skills and competencies needed to be good leaders
- Evaluating the quality of the candidate pipeline
- Finding better ways to attract and hire individuals who will be successful in the organization
Gathering and analyzing big data may sound intimidating, but in reality, it doesn’t have to be. Bersin suggests that in most cases, HR analytics projects can be completed using a regular relational database (such as Microsoft Access) or with Excel spreadsheets. To gather data, you may need to look no further than the analytics module of your applicant tracking system.
A good first step is to identify a specific HR problem that can be addressed through big data or talent analytics. Since small and medium sized businesses have limited time and resources, it’s important to be strategic when starting a Big Data project. Think about the nature of the business and brainstorm about specific business issues that can be solved with analytics and information. Although many companies use Big Data to better understand customers, Big Data can also be used to improve other functions such as talent acquisition or operations
In the next and final post in this blog series, we will we will discuss how HR leaders in small and medium sized businesses can build support for a big data initiative. The payoff for these projects can be great, since a data driven approach to talent acquisition often leads to cost improvements, lower turnover, and better candidates. And don't forget -- if you need to streamline your hiring approach, talk to the team at Hyrell today!