By: P.C Kiran Kumar, Associate Vice President – Impetus Infotech (India)
It is an undisputable fact that with the world becoming a nexus of interconnected devices, digitally-driven lifestyles and rapidly shrinking global boundaries, the Internet of Things is becoming an integral, pervasive part of everyday workings. Every aspect of today’s life – be it social, professional or personal – has by and large adapted to the ubiquitous digital medium. Needless to say, such high dependence on IoT has also led to a massive amount of data being generated every instant. It is estimated that the world at present generates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data on a daily basis. This number is only set to rise further as the smartphone adoption increases and the internet penetration becomes better; studies indicate that the amount of data generated every second will touch 50000 gigabytes by the year 2018.
Such numbers might boggle the minds of the laymen, but enterprises, businesses and governments are exulting in this veritable deluge of information. Big Data is extensively being used across the globe for improving operational efficiency, enhancing consumer engagement, decreasing costs and optimising the revenue streams. Using extreme segmentation and user profiling to develop a highly personalised approach that ultimately breaks down the target consumer base into a market of one; businesses can now predict the what, when, where and even why of your next purchase, before you even make it. This has resulted in more tailored end-user offerings, better delivery of services and higher consumer engagement.
Given the impact they can have, it becomes imperative for enterprises to leverage the benefits of Big Data technologies to optimise one of the most integral functions of their business – Human Resource Management. Payroll has traditionally been one of the biggest expenses on an organisation’s bank account, and smart talent management has emerged as a huge priority in today’s corporate landscape. In such an ultra-competitive scenario, Big Data technologies can help businesses in saving a good amount of money by optimising their decision making when it comes to policy management, employee retention, talent development and prospective hiring.
To understand the difference Big Data makes to the corporate policy management, let us first consider the setup of which we are talking. Traditional approach to employee management has chiefly been reactive. Whether it is a dip in the employee performance or an issue with job satisfaction, the HR intervenes after the problem is apparent. On the other hand, Big Data technologies leverage an in-depth analysis of internal factors along with external inputs such as social media data to create a comprehensive employee profile that can predict any employee’s behaviour for a considerable future with a high degree of accuracy. An employee’s professional output, interoffice communication, response to situations, self-assessment, satisfaction quotient, peer/management opinion, employee behaviour and social media data are all carefully analysed and deconstructed to identify if the issue affecting an employee is restricted to an individual or has a wider impact, if the employee is going to stay or leave, or whether it is feasible to actually initiate the process of retention for that employee. This helps employers in saving unnecessary expenses incurred as a result of failed employee retention efforts, enables them to identify and improve upon their office structure and drastically reduces their attrition rates.
Another field where Big Data analytics has been helping enterprises is the field of talent recruitment. The hiring decisions through traditional techniques are often made on a ‘best guess’ basis, as the recruiters only have access to the information being provided to them by the prospective employee. This one-sided access to information during the hiring process severely restricts the efficacy of the decision making due to its lack of transparency. Big Data, on the other hand, processes all the information available to narrow down the talent pool and zero in on the perfect talent that adds great value to the organization.
Similarly, Big Data can deliver insights into the company’s overall employee satisfaction to the employers, helping them identify their top performers as well as underperformers and taking adequate steps to boost motivation, employee engagement and performance. Moreover, by analyzing an employee’s strengths, weaknesses and modus operandi, Big Data technologies also help businesses in identifying the most suitable training programmes for their employees to nurture their inherent talents and extract the maximum value from their investment.
There was once a time, not so long ago, when the term ‘smartphone’ was not even coined, mails were delivered physically and social networking involved actually going out and meeting people over coffee, lunches and dinners. Today, however, it is a completely different ball game. Our social interactions are now mostly conducted on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, while most of the interoffice communication takes place via emails and messenger applications. Even menial everyday tasks, such as buying grocery or hiring a maid, can now be completed with the power of the Internet and the benefits that digital technology brings. In such a digitally-oriented atmosphere, leveraging Big Data technologies for optimizing the HR function is no longer an option for the enterprises – it is a mandate.