Big Data in Human Resources: Revolutionizing Employee Performance

Human Resources is one of the most vital departments in any company. Hiring, training and retaining staff are key elements to any successful organization’s growth. Companies spend an average of 28 percent of the entire operating budget on HR-related resources, and for good reason: in a recent study by CareerBuilder, 27 percent of employers believed a single bad hire could cost them as much as $50,000. A qualified HR department can deliver efficiency and improve employee performance, leading to increased profits in the long term. But as important as HR is to business, traditional practices are in serious need of an update. With the incredible advances brought to us by big data analytics, it was only a matter of time before the big data spotlight was shined on HR.

There have always been huge swaths of collected employee data, from resumes, to performance reviews and exit interviews. Yet these valuable collections had been underutilized, without the benefit of big data. Data analytics and visualizations allow HR departments to discover important insights about their staff, which can lead to keeping employees satisfied longer, and ultimately retaining them, improving employee performance and training, and streamlining hiring practices. Here are just some of the ways in which human resources is using analytics to leverage employee data.


Talent Analytics

Big data insights are utilized in HR at the point of hiring. Vetting appropriate candidates with data has been referred to as Talent Analytics. Companies can now study all of their past hires, search for correlations in interviews, and find which patterns led to successful employee performance over time. After using this process, a leading financial services company found that factors like college GPA, where a candidate went to school, and the quality of employment references had no effect on their later performance. But other factors like: grammatically correct resume, success in prior work, and ability to work under unstructured positions were all excellent indicators of a successful future employee.

Training purposes

Once a candidate has been hired, training is essential to fully utilize that person’s potential. Poor training, or lack of training, can take a perfectly capable employee, and throw away any talent they may have for the position. Companies spend millions on professional development, team building and formal training every year. The Association for Talent Development released a survey that found on average, a company will spend $1,208 per employee on training and development. To help ensure this money is spent wisely, HR departments are using analytics to maximize this investment and to determine their efficacy.

Organizations can develop metrics for each training module discovering test results, employee comprehension and personal engagement. Analytics also allows HR to study how effective different approaches are. Personalized training lessons may be created to work with individuals different learning styles, such as auditory, visual or kinesthetic, to name a few.

Employee Performance

Once a new employee has been hired and trained, performance analytics plays an important role in following up on their regular achievement. Data scientists have begun utilizing wearable devices that track employees while they’re working. These devices provide valuable information such as how much time is spent in each department. Also, recording daily employee performance gives insight into the top team members, as well as those who are struggling. This attention to detail paints a clearer picture for human resources to see where future training is needed.

Employee Retention

One reason big data analytics and human resources work so naturally with each other is because of the amount of data regularly collected. Employee satisfaction surveys, exit and stay interviews, and team assessments help HR professionals keep abreast of the overall climate around the company, how happy the staff is, and what changes can be made to preserve or improve employee performance and temperament. Large corporations like Credit Suisse use data from employee reviews and pay histories to discover which employees are most likely to quit. These companies can then be proactive and offer further opportunity to these individuals.


The reason big data analytics goes so far in human resources, is that the information garnered is done so on an involuntary level. That is, in the past, employees would fill out a survey or questionnaire, knowing full well that their answers would have some effect on their position. But by analyzing what employees do, rather than what they say, HR gains precise insights into what is actually happening in the company. In the bigger picture, we can see that big data, once again, is helping companies streamline their operations, and finally enable them to view with accuracy where their organization has been, and more importantly, where they are going. 


Interested in data analytics for your company? Eccella Consulting specializes in bringing companies into the future by utilizing their data to its fullest potential. To get started, click here!