The term “big data” has recently become ubiquitous, affecting every aspect of a business. Big data offers businesses deeper insights into undiscovered or unidentified areas and highlights new opportunities. In turn, it allows businesses to adjust to make smarter business decisions, run more efficiently and lead to higher profits and happier customers.

The use of data analytics has revolutionized how businesses are gaining insights and has positively impacted a number of sectors. For human resource teams particularly, data can be helpful to build and strengthen teams within their organization. Data is also collected and used to predict where to find the best candidates, how to establish the most effective hiring practices and how to onboard new employees. In this article, we will discuss how businesses can use data to source and attract new talent, monitor employee and company performance and predict growth areas.

Source and attract new talent

Employees come from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and schooling. For HR professionals, it is important to know these factors about your employees. One way to gather this information is through employee surveys. Surveys can help you direct your talent sourcing initiatives by finding common links between where your employees first heard about the company or where they went to school. This can provide the HR team with information to help lay the groundwork for predictive analytics.

In addition to surveying current employees, HR teams should also track job applicants’ traffic to find more about their schooling or to learn where their referrals originated. HR teams should include a section on the application to discover where candidates initially heard about your company. For example, if the majority of your candidates are finding your company on Indeed, this can indicate where you should focus your recruiting and hiring efforts.

Monitor employee and company engagement metrics

Data analytics is used to predict and monitor both individual and team performance. HR teams can use this information to pinpoint exactly where an employee may be struggling and help address those concerns before it is too late. Data analytics can strongly influence the bottom line and can help measure a company’s performance.

In any company, employee turnover is bound to happen. Data analytics can pinpoint specific reasons why employees may be leaving and highlight the commonalities. Perhaps there is a department with a significantly higher turnover than others or employees under a specific manager may have a higher turnover. Data analytics allows HR teams and leadership to uncover issues and make the appropriate changes.

Predict organizational growth areas

For any organization, the ability to predict and forecast your employee growth is valuable. It lets your company determine what specific areas you should invest in and helps you anticipate future resource needs. For example, if you are a start-up company, data analytics can help you determine how much technical equipment to purchase: if you are currently a team of 20 but you have hired six new employees in the last month, analytics can tell you if what you allocated for the year for new computers and phones is sufficient. In addition, the rate of employee growth can also have an impact on the choice of office space and training and onboarding budget.

The role of an HR team is ever-evolving and as new technology continues to emerge, so do the opportunities for HR teams to add even more value to their organization. Data analytics not only helps businesses source and attract talent, but it can also help track individual and team performance and predict areas of growth. Taken together, data analytics provides your company with a healthier bottom line.

Matt Thomas is the President of Indianapolis-based WorkSmart Systems, Inc., which he founded in 1998. He is active with the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), and has dedicated more than 20 years to the PEO industry dating back to his early career with industry leaders ADP and NovaCare Employee Services.

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