Gut Feeling or Big Data: What should HR Managers follow?


How Big Data can be leveraged by HR professional to measure performance, predict behaviour of employees and also acquire talent.

There is no doubt in my mind that we are in the era of Big Data. Has Big Data attracted the attention of the HR manager? Are we using our people data to create value? Is Big Data creating an appreciative workplace? Are we ready for the Big Data plunge?

It is said that HR professionals are good with words and not with numbers. And perceptions are facts, if not proven otherwise. Leaders across organizations believe that HR is a key function for strategic and operational decision making. Hence, there is a huge business opportunity around human capital measures.

Mind you, it is not just another passing fad. I believe there is a lot of value to be mined from data.

Going beyond traditional HR thinking
Almost all the major HR conferences around the globe capture the importance of Big Data and its imperative applicability in HR. I strongly feel that it has to be the experiential way now. It is time to execute and walk the talk. We have to leverage the power of data and analytics ‘right now’, to achieve results.

Madhav Vamsi

Few of the challenges for HR today are measuring performance, predicting behaviour of employees and most importantly, acquiring talent. The biggest challenge, however, for any organisation in this economy, remains the agility in hiring the right talent. Evidence-based decisions should be the order for HR.

The hallmark of competition would be the intelligence to use and customise data, and HR must be ready to ‘change the paradigm’. As an HR practitioner, I see a large opportunity for HR to become chief data analysts and business intelligence experts, to maximise the success of business units and leadership. How is this possible? By simply building analytical capability! The way I see it, analytics offers a great chance for the professional to enhance HR’s position and status in the organisation.

The ability to structure and analyse Big Data has ensured two dividends: a) better revenues and b) better customer understanding. Until now, only the very few ‘mature’ HR teams were using statistical and econometric techniques, such as regression to take a logical approach while making HR-related decisions. However, with so much at stake, the current usage of semi-technology is not enough. There has been a fruitful collaboration between computer scientists and statisticians. It is time for HR professionals to collaborate with these units and build predictive models by basing hiring decisions on data.

Gear up for the uphill yet worthwhile task
So, how do enterprises leverage big data/data analytics to make strategic hiring or personnel decisions?

Key determinants
1. Preparing the in-house HR department with analytical talent: Unfortunately, the HR department does not comprise ‘metric junkies’ or ‘data freaks’. Never mind, they will learn. After all, they are in the industry where change is inevitable, and so is learning.

2. Choosing the right software tools

What could Big Data do for HR and hiring managers?
• Predict job posting success accurately
• Predict the right screening techniques that would yield the best-performing recruits
• Analyse current job posting opportunities for successes and failures
• Compare job roles with similar job roles in other organizations
• Choose an appropriate job board to post openings, thus, ensuring better hit ratios
• Find the right sources of talent
• Help HR look at talent in niche and local markets
• Help HR understand salary-related-trends, most importantly, economic trends
• Enable HR to predict the outcome on investment made on the talent acquisition strategy
• Analyse post to hire ratios, making the entire hiring process scientific and predictive.
• Resolve the huge challenge of performance measurement
• Eliminate biases among organizations’ hiring managers and leadership

Good decisions come from good data and not from hunches or gut feel
Fellow HR buddies, if you are all geared up for this data era, be prudent and wary, since the world now is completely driven by data and digital technology. Wait a minute! Does that sound too daunting a task? Do not worry. We do not need to perform all the analytics ourselves. We just need to choose the right software. That is it!

As an HR practitioner, I strongly believe that with so much advancement in Big Data, HR is indeed poised to become a more evidence-based strategic partner to the senior leadership in the near future. The HR department, without in-house analytical talent, is at a mighty disadvantage. Let us learn and acquire skills to run HR data engines. HR cannot be a ‘strategic’ partner in today’s global market, without embracing data analytics.

(The author is campus head,


Comment on the Article

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

20 − sixteen =