Big data is often seen as a cold, numbers driven business process, where people are reduced to digits on a screen and achievements are simply KPIs being hit. However, this is not the case in many HR departments and companies across the world, where big data and analytics have been fully embraced.
It is not just the kind of people who were pushing fads like sitting on an exercise ball or using standing desks either – HR analytics has become a world beater. Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmström from MIT even won the Nobel Prize In Economics in October 2016 for their work in the field, with the jury saying ‘The new theoretical tools created by Hart and Holmstrom are valuable to the understanding of real-life contracts and institutions, as well as potential pitfalls in contract design.’ It has hit the mainstream and even won the world’s most prestigious award, but what exactly can it do?
The first, and arguably most important element of the HR process is hiring the right people for your team, which is something in which data can have a key role. One company that is revolutionizing how companies are doing this is Chemistry Group, having recently partnered with SAP to create an HR analytics innovation lab.
Initially, the labs will be used to find key identifiers for the best candidates through mining data beyond what many traditional services currently do. A major part of this is through looking beyond simple psychometric tests done by millions of companies already. Instead, the idea is to mine across a candidate’s entire digital footprint, not to necessarily find embarrassing photos from high school, but to identify the real personality traits of an applicant. Gareth Jones, chief innovation officer at The Chemistry Group explains it as ’An individual’s ‘digital footprint’ provides a far richer and more objective picture of that person than current assessment approaches could ever hope to do and, if modeled in the right way, a far more accurate way of assessing their potential.’
It means that through data mining and algorithms, companies will not only have the opportunity to look beyond qualifications and pressurised interviews at who will be the best fit for their team, but also gives a certain validation for the candidate too.
A key anxiety for new hires is that they may have gotten the job through luck, perhaps some slight exaggeration on a CV or simply being strong during the interview process.