How to Use HRMS to Get the Most out of HR Big Data

If the whole point of an HRMS application is to streamline HR processes and create business efficiencies, then the basic means of achieving that is by the centralisation of HR data. In one way or another, all business cases for the introduction of that first HRMS pivot on the idea of getting rid of all those spreadsheets, photocopied forms and scattered pockets of information.

Recommended reading: get to grips with Big Data with this comprehensive guide to the data analytics capabilities of your HRMS

By and large, it’s a case of mission accomplished; even the least sophisticated HR system will enable you to gather up all those scraps of employee data and keep them neat, tidy and accessible via a single portal. But that’s just the first step. Once you have your HR database centralized in your HRMS, a whole world of info-crunching possibilities opens up and with phrases like HR Big Data and HR analytics being bandied around in the annual top trends lists for the last couple of years, it’s time more organisations started leveraging their HR information assets.

Mining & Combining

Big Data is a natural by-product of the so-called ‘data-fication’ of the modern world. So many of our working and daily life transactions are conducted via electronic means that the majority of our lives are now a matter of record – and those records are just waiting for the right HRMS solution to mine and combine them with the wealth of workforce HR, payroll and learning and development data held by most employers.

The HRMS database combined with an exponential growth in connectivity affords a great number of opportunities and the existence (and potential value) of HR Big Data is its foundation.

As the UK’s CIPD said in a recent report, although the term Big Data is commonly defined by the three Vs – volume, velocity and variety – a fourth can be added: value. And HR Big Data usage is potentially invaluable to HR practitioners and senior executives. For a function which is so often responsible (or at least, heavily involved) in employee engagement, culture change and ensuring that the workforce fit for today becomes the workforce fit for tomorrow, being able to understand people in more depth and detail can only improve data-driven HR decisions and strategies.

New Insights & Analytics

As our HRMS combines existing HR information is with other data sources such as external salaries, customer information, industry performance data, and social media (regarding both current and potential customers and employees), new insights and analytics become possible in the arenas of workforce diversity, succession planning, talent management strategies, retention analysis, and so on. It becomes easier, for example, to examine the patterns of high-performers within the workforce and find points that can be duplicated and incorporated into corporate standards and training.

However, the early adopters of HR Big Data’s possibilities are the recruiters. In much the same way as they were the first to utilise social media they are beginning to leverage the information out there as part of the hiring process, using job board data to tag and target specific talent communities, analyse public online interactions for indicators of applicable skills, and using social data to determine cultural fit.

The HRMS database combined with an exponential growth in connectivity affords a great number of opportunities and the existence (and potential value) of HR Big Data is its foundation.

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Dave Foxall

About the author…

Dave has worked as HR Manager for the Ministry of Justice for a number of years, he now writes on a broad range of topics including jazz music, and, of course, the HRMS software market.

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Dave Foxall