“Big Data”: A Tool for Talent Management?

The most modest organization has large amounts of information, i.e., “Big Data”, on its operations, suppliers, customers, and especially on its employees.  Even knowing as little as length of service, hours worked, job function, performance data, and location can be telling as to which employees are likely to succeed or not.  The basis for Big Data decision making is founded in that class that most students ignored or only took the one mandatory course.  That course usually covered the statistical foundation concepts of data collection & presentation, variability, central tendency, sampling theory, inference & hypotheses testing, regression & correlation, indexes & time series, and seasonal & cyclical analysis.  While an employer with a few dozen employees can manage them with no more of a sophisticated tool than a good memory or paper notebook, even a middle sized organization of a workforce of few hundred needs to look deeper.

To illustrate the role of Big Data and Talent Management, the Polytechnic Institute of New York University recently hosted a day-long workshop titled: “Talent Management 2.0: HR Innovation In The Big Data Era”.  Speakers at the workshop included NYU-Poly instructors from the computer science, engineering, and technology departments.  Additional speakers included individuals representing PepsiCo, Aon Hewitt, Google, SAS, Morgan Stanley, JetBlue Airways, and Accenture.

Aasonn, a global systems and technology services consulting firm, recently reported on a study by the MIT Sloan Management Review: “From Value to Vision: Re imagining the Possible with Data Analytics”.  The MIT study found that while “17% of product development, 19% of marketing, and 20% of operations respondents reported using analytics to drive innovation”, however only 8% of HR organizations used analytics to drive talent acquisition and retention.

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