Why big data, social and mobile will become more interdependent

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With skills shortages for key positions and even more workers on the market (often without the right qualities), companies that haven't already need to develop retention and engagement initiatives. In 2013, HR leaders continued to adopt technologies that will better help them to implement, deliver and measure these initiatives. Big data and analytics, social media platforms and mobile were more readily accepted as part of the HR plan than ever before. In 2014, these trends will become more interdependent as HR leaders move beyond the adoption phase and learn how to maximise their value and educate the business on their benefit. In essence, they will become an ‘organisational enabler’.

Big data will fuel HR

According to research conducted by Bersin by Deloitte, 60 per cent of companies have now invested in data analytics to make sure that their HR departments are more data-driven. The benefit of using data to inform and measure critical HR decisions was well known in 2013 thanks to widespread discussions in the industry and media.

The big software and Internet companies such as Google are leading the way in using data analysis for HR purposes. Google has been ‘crunching’ people data and working with HR to understand how employees respond to benefits and adapt their strategy accordingly. By analysing data in the US, the business found it had a 50 per cent higher attrition rate amongst mothers than in the rest of the business. Acting on the data, the company extended maternity leave and its attrition rate for new mothers dropped down to the average rate for the rest of the firm.

In 2014, more companies will follow Google’s example of using data to inform future plans. In doing so, they will elevate its adoption from using it for tactical means – for example, a simple analysis to calculate sick days for an employee – to strategic. To do this, HR will need to challenge the typical preconceived notions and plans that have been in place for years. For example, some in the business may believe that the best way to recruit is by choosing people from top colleges and universities. However, further analysis into the productivity and retention of employees might dispute this notion. A large piece of this will also include educating the business on the benefits of using big data for HR strategies, and its positive impact on shaking up archaic HR structures and replacing them with new plans that, ultimately, help give the business a competitive advantage.

Training and recruitment will move beyond simple mobile apps

In 2013, mobile apps were hailed as the solution to help HR leaders empower employees to learn, search and apply for jobs on the move. Apps have also been a way for HR departments to cater to the now dominant bring your own device trend. By providing employees with apps that are available to download on multiple devices, HR has navigated past the constraints of providing learning and training for typically closed off software systems.

In 2014, the focus on mobile will shift towards understanding how it can be integrated with social to attract and retain the best talent. For example, in 2013 companies started to look at social portals that integrate popular platforms, such as Twitter, in one place. These also enabled employees to create working communities that help them engage with peers and share knowledge both professionally and for social purposes. HR departments found these beneficial in helping to keep employees integrated with the work culture and to inspire better loyalty. In 2014, they will look at ensuring that these are available on the mobile platform in addition to and integrated with the learning and recruitment apps that are already available.

This will improve the user experience and ensure that employees are using and adopting these technologies for the benefit of the business.

Collaboration with other departments will enable social recruitment

HR departments have started integrating talent management systems with social media platforms to better engage with employees. Through this, they’ve been able to share training tips and tricks, improve employee interaction and give real-time feedback over social platforms on any learning initiative.

In 2014, social will continue to be important in talent management initiatives but the focus will shift slightly to place more emphasis on social recruitment. HR departments will have already dabbled in engaging with potential candidates via platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. However, this will become much more sophisticated. By working more closely with marketing departments and using data analysis, HR departments will get savvier at understanding their target recruitment demographics, which platforms to use for engagement purposes and the best way to convert leads into candidates. Those who don’t will fall behind in attracting the right talent.

As HR leaders look to maximise their use of data, social and mobile, they will need to integrate their technology systems. To do this, HR will need an open platform that enables them to integrate APIs while still choosing the systems of most benefit to their unique business needs.

2014 will not be a year of firsts in terms of using technology, but it will see HR use it to maximise its benefits. Social, data and mobile will merge together to help HR strategically plan and measure success in a way that they have not done before. Open technology platforms will be key to integrating systems and helping HR departments realise their benefits in full.

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