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Collection of full-length papers and in-depth analysis of economic and management issues.

Big Data: Insights for Better HR Policies

Big Data: Insights for Better HR Policies

PARK Ju-Young

Mar. 4, 2013

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Originally released on February 7

Recognizing the benefits that “big data” can have on their performance, leading companies around the world are aggressively devising ways to employ the colossal amount of information that is generated daily. Their efforts have helped them not only refine product development and marketing but also more efficiently and scientifically manage their workforce. In other words, companies are adopting more sophisticated ways to meet employees’ ever-personalized and diversified needs, based on their analytics of personnel data.

There are three basic principles in using big data for human resources issues. First, the data is used as the basis of HR decisions. This helps circumvent faulty assumptions and attitudes from previous experiences and practices. Second, micro-targeting is implemented. This approach focuses on specific needs of individuals, rather than pursue one-size-fits-all answers. Third, predictive and preventive measures are stressed. Here, big data anticipates difficulties that can disrupt employees’ work routines and guides management to preemptive steps.

The three principles are exhibited in a variety of companies. Google, for example, made it a rule to make all people-related decisions based on data analysis and operates the people analytics team consisting of HR specialists. Software developer SAS pores over the data of former employees and utilizes the findings to retain top talent by better addressing their needs. Canadian outdoor equipment brand, MEC uses data from its in-house employee survey to initiate preventative measures for its factories around the world.

In utilizing big data, companies must be careful not to confuse compiling and analyzing information as a goal itself. What matters is identifying specific issues and solutions from the data. At least three years are required for companies to utilize big data. Along the way, special attention should be paid to data collection and utilization to ensure privacy. Employees’ consent must be obtained to ensure transparency and openness of data operation. Last, but not least, companies should remember that the key to successful use of big data is deep interest in employees’ situations and the will to resolve even their minor problems.

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