Startups and enterprises can leverage Big Data Analytics to optimise workforce

By Muqbil Ahmar

High-profile companies, particularly the e-commerce ones, have been laying off a number of employees. Ola fired around a thousand employees. Reportedly, India's e-commerce marketplace Flipkart also laid off around 800 employees. Other enterprises and startups have also been cutting hundreds of jobs. Globally too, there have been such management decisions. Cisco is reportedly cutting 14,000 jobs in 2017 and Intel too laid off 12,000 employees. Startups such as Zomato and Foodpanda also fired employees. There could be several reasons for the pink slips: from over recruitment to poor financials to bad management decisions. Whatever the reason, laying off doesn’t augur well for the company itself; in fact, it has the potential to backfire. Valuable resources could migrate; frustration could erupt in employees staying back; long-term damage to a company’s image, production, and reputation and so on and so forth.

Big Data and Analytics can help HR streamline recruitment
Big Data and Analytics can help in sensible hiring and avoid layoffs. Well-researched recruitment is a precursor to prevention of mass firings. Not only that the technologies can also help companies deal with the enormous number of candidates that they have to screen as there is always chance for error. Additionally, the technologies factor in several other aspects such as background checks, market conditions, manpower requirement, etc. Also, processing of salaries and appraisals can be tedious, particularly in big corporations. All the data can be tough to handle. This is where Big Data comes into the picture; it removes the error out of the equation.

First of all, what exactly is Big Data? It is actually a term used for data sets so huge or complex that conventional data-processing methods would be insufficient. Big Data and Analytics tools process those data sets to find hidden patterns and unknown correlations, leading to discovery of meaningful market trends, candidate preferences and other useful recruitment information. Analytics may use several forms of data that may remain untapped through conventional programs. This includes data from Internet, social media and activity reports, candidate emails and survey results. HR firms can apply Analytics to describe, predict, and improve recruitment performance leading to workforce optimisation. The tools can also conduct sentiment analysis over data from social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. A company can use Analytics tool to find out prevailing market sentiment and decide whether it is the right time for recruitment.

How does Big Data work?
Big Data uses mathematical and statistical tools together with algorithms to discover trends and make predictions. The tools take into account parameters such as benefits and compensation, job history, and level of education. This can lead to workforce optimsation, prediction and maintenance of optimal labor pool, and performance assessment, thus helping recruiting managers decide who to hire and how to retain talent.

“It is impractical to expect that managers would take foolproof decisions. They do go wrong at times. The errors increase as soon as the number of parameters to be factored in the calculations increases. People just can’t track and memorize that huge data. Therefore, it’s best that algorithms sort it out,” said Somesh Misra, VP, Products and HR, Deskera—a global business software provider having its own Big Data and Analytics tool.

There are several tools in the market that can take the hassle off for HR departments. Tools like AppDynamics and Workforce Analytics reduce the burden in several ways. They not only assess and predict whether a potential candidate would accept a job offer or if the prospect only in exploration mode, it would also track other significant feed such as social media. For example, culling information on the frequency of a potential candidate’s visits to LinkedIn, the frequency of LinkedIn page updates, whether the candidate is exploring different other options, whether he is asking for recommendations from other LinkedIn users. The tools also provide information on aspects like cultural fit of a candidate for the organisation, their personality with respect to organization values, etc.

Big Data HR tools give companies an edge
These tools help companies avoid taking the firing road in the long term and help them retain resources crucial to their growth. In today’s corporate world of cut-throat competition, companies need to be good at identifying, recruiting as well as retaining talent with the appropriate skill set. Through Big Data and Analytics, HR departments can collect, generate, visualise, and access data in a way not possible before. The technologies can go a long way ensuring that image and reputation of a company built over several years doesn’t get tarnished.

With over 10 years of experience in the field of journalism, the author is a technology evangelist and avid blogger.

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Updated Date: Oct 24, 2016 16:57:26 IST