According to Glassdoor’s chief economist, Andrew Chamberlain, 2017 is going to be the year that the human resources function transforms itself into “people science.”
The basis of that prediction is the rise of big data, and how that data has infiltrated and transformed everything from product functionality to financial offerings. What 2016 has shown us is that as businesses generate more data from their employees and customers, good analysis of that data can lead to smarter decisions and happier consumers.
Chamberlain points out that HR and recruiting have yet to experience the benefits that can be reaped by participating in this evolution. According to Chamberlain, “Using data science in HR to make even small improvements in recruiting, hiring, and engagement has the potential for huge benefits to organizations.” Considering that the average cost to replace an employee that has left the company is slightly over $100,000, the potential bottom-line benefit could be enormous. And of course, in addition to the enormous dollar savings, the reduction in team turmoil would provide an enormous morale boost with lower turnover rates.
But if HR decides to tap into the data that can be assembled at every stage of an employee’s progression from on-boarding, through training and promotions, the potential for improvement in culture, customer satisfaction, and bottom-line savings, could be huge. And the nice part is that these data are available at low cost through a number of third party providers.
Other solutions are also beginning to appear in the general HR arena. Tools like “sentiment trackers” can gather feedback in real time. Tools like these can be used to create high employee engagement using this real-time data to gather actionable insights delivered directly to managers, not just HR or the CEO.
So this new Big Data era promises future-focused HR executives a very different type of role going forward. There is a lot of “low-hanging fruit” for HR to harvest – and the good news – it doesn’t cost all that much. For it to become a reality, HR only has to look as the cost of turnover, litigation, and non-compliance to provide adequate ROI justification for moving briskly into this new frontier.