BY Capgemini
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IT trends spotted and checked by experts


What happens

80 % of HR directors have never used big data. Nevertheless, a third of those questioned expressed an interest in big data as a decision-making tool or as a means of knowing their employees better. (Study: Quantmetry and Digilab RH, Althéa Groupe)

so what?

President of Digilab RH, a company which supports HR directors in using big data.

From recruitment to developing and understanding an employee's potential, big data is a potential boon for human resources managers. But with limited knowledge of new technology, HR professionals have a lot of catching up to do.

How can big data help improve recruitment?

Traditionally, "matching" tools rely on a preliminary semantic analysis. They link CVs to job descriptions through key word associations. By mixing together large volumes of data, big data technology goes beyond that by identifying fields of expertise.  
This enables recruiters to discover candidates who would otherwise have been rejected. A candidate's Java development skills, for example, would be detected without the word Java even being mentioned in their CV. Inversely, it is also possible to create a profile of employees who have succeeded in a given position in order to find similar candidates in the labour market. 

What are some other uses?

When it comes to skill development, big data, via a predictive approach, can identify the training needs of different kinds of employees at different moments in their career. Thorough analysis of HR data can shed light on possibilities for career development based on a series of transferable skills. After training, a professional will be able, for example, to become a machine operator without ever having practiced the trade before.
To forecast resignations, big data can establish risk factors by analysing the causes of past departures. Similarly, by anticipating risks linked to absenteeism, the company will be able to take adequate measures (hiring temps or employees on short term contracts) in order to avoid staff shortages.

Finally, big data can help with baby boomer management. Thanks to new legislation an employee can decide to postpone their retirement, thus making it difficult to make plans in terms of recruitment or internal promotions. In all of these situations, the common denominator is the use of tools that aid decision-making - the actions that result from these processes will still be carried out by humans. 

Why are HR directors lagging behind in this area?

HR has been the IT world's poor relation for a long time now. Over the past fifteen years we have witnessed the implementation of Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) such as SAP or PeopleSoft, but they simply seek to optimise the processes that currently exist. Big data, however, has moved towards new practices and has shaken up organisational models.  

HR directors are not automatically drawn to big data: many of them have backgrounds in social science and law. Moreover, they have neither the time nor the budget to dedicate to it. A final problem is that personal data management is often confronted with strict legal constraints.
Despite all of this, HR departments are a gold mine for this type of data. They manage and generate a lot of data, stemming and ranging from personal appraisal interviews to surveys on the social climate. Often, no analysis of this data is carried out.

Who cares?

  All companies confronted with recruitment difficulties and high levels of employee turnover, as well as training institutes, recruitment agencies, employment websites and local authorities who wish to strengthen activity within their region. Temporary work agencies are also in the mix. Randstad, alongside Capgemini, has developed a decision-making tool which enables users to view skills within a given job pool. It does so by cross-referencing its CV database and its internal skills base with millions of job offers from various job boards as well as data from public databases similar to those of France's National Institute of Statistics. In France, Pôle Emploi (The French National Employment Agency) has teamed up with Bayes Impact, a start-up specialised in big data. The latter has been working with anonymous data from job-seekers. Its application will help job-seekers to carry out more effective job searches. 
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