If You Think Big Data is All About Numbers, Think Again

Data. Analytics. Statistics. Not the topics you’d expect to dominate human resources. But the big data conversation is not only getting louder, HR’s role is the center of the discussion.

After all, if big data is really about looking for relationships in data sets, who better to play a role?

Cutting edge analysts like John Sumser have been talking about big data since 2012. But experts and academicians are complaining that HR still isn’t taking charge.  After the recent Wharton People Analytics Conference, professor Peter Cappelli complained that the real work was happening with CIOs and in IT—not in HR:

“The big-data people aren’t reinventing the wheel. They’ve already found things that traditional HR researchers never knew and, frankly speaking, never thought to ask. One reason is because they have better data,” said Cappelli.

But do they?  Or do they just have more of the quantitative we’ve come to drown in?

As big data has gotten bigger, HR has shifted towards a metrics approach. After all, with ATS, HRIS and performance metrics, it’s easier (and cheaper) to rely on the numbers to drive decisions. And companies such as Microsoft want to take it all the way.

Wharton Magazine reported on Microsoft’s presentation at their conference:

“[During] the presentation by Dawn Klinghoffer, senior director of HR Business Insights at Microsoft, Klinghoffer delved straight into Microsoft’s end goal: to eliminate human interaction from the hiring process at Microsoft.”

Why would any organization want to eliminate the human process from anything?

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Susan LaMotte is the founder of exaqueo, a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact exaqueo to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.

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