Survey: Most HR Professionals Overwhelmed With Big Data

Atlanta — Feb. 26

A new survey by SHL, a talent measurement firm, found that 77 percent of HR professionals are unsure how big data’s workforce potential is affecting their company’s bottom line. Moreover, less than half of organizations surveyed use objective talent data to drive business decisions.

The study of nearly 600 HR professionals suggests that HR is overwhelmed by the volume of employee data and struggles to elicit meaningful insight that will help drive businesses forward and deliver results. The findings were revealed in SHL’s “Global Assessment Trends Report 2013.”

With organizations focused on restructuring, cost-cutting and growing the top line in tough markets, HR’s 2013 priorities reflect the organization’s need to engage their talent, according to 55 percent of those surveyed, and cultivate strong leaders (52 percent) to drive change.

The report also revealed that the other priorities of HR professionals are performance management (49 percent), workforce planning/talent analytics (43 percent) and training (42 percent).

Furthermore, the report revealed that HR professionals are facing a “big data deluge,” with confusion about how to manage talent data to impact company performance. As of 2012, about 2.5 exabytes of data are created each day, according to the survey. That number is set to double every 40 months, the survey said.

Two major challenges for HR to overcome are data quality and accessibility, the survey said, and respondents indicated there is room for improvement in these areas.

Despite workforce planning and talent analytics being referenced among the top five priorities, less than half of respondents (44 percent) said their organizations use objective data on employees’ competencies and skills to make workforce decisions, and only 18 percent of HR professionals are satisfied with the way their organization manages talent data.

However, according to the upcoming report from CEB, SHL’s parent company, organizations that are effective at using talent analytics can boost employee bench strength, performance and retention by up to 19 percent.

Social media is one source of data that is adding to the deluge and distracting HR from the metrics that matter, the survey found. Despite 88 percent of employers claiming a lack of confidence in the quality of candidate data from social media sites, 20 percent use that information to make hiring decisions and 30 percent believe it is useful in determining candidate fit.

The Global Assessment Trends survey was completed by 592 HR professionals from companies headquartered throughout the world, including the U.K., U.S., China, Australia and South Africa. It also covered 10 industry sectors across small, medium and large enterprises.

Source: SHL