Big Data and Analytics have become part of our corporate world in the recent times. Several key business functions such as Sales and Marketing have been using them effectively for decision making. Is it now time for HR to also explore this area and leverage its strengths?
That is the theme of the discussion with Anuranjita Kumar, MD and CHRO, Citi South Asia in this video, as she shares her views. Anuranjita shares that “Big Data and Analytics is an evolving landscape in our current market. It is not just about data; it is also about analytics.” There is heavy reliance by companies on these areas, for tracking the consumer end of the business so that they can gain insights into areas such as their preferences.
For HR, there are several factors to be evaluated from the past – such as the investment made in infrastructure and the tools available for them to use. She feels “It is always a Catch-22 situation – Should HR make the case or should CEO be focused on that?”
The first step to do this is to acknowledge that there is a need for data and analytics. Even in our current marketplace, companies do track HR related statistics like recruitment offer acceptance rates. Data is definitely being used at some level. What is needed is to expand this data and move into the future such as predictive hiring. These are the kind of people analytics are the ones that will interest the business heads.
Are we currently evolved enough for analytics to become a part of HR, in Indian organizations? Anuranjita says “HR has always used some data, so it is not about starting from scratch.” They are already using it for headcount reports, attrition hiring, high-potential tracking. It simply needs to be used more, to garner a more proactive people strategy.
That is the space HR is trying to reach. A lot of data is present internally and externally, but it has to be brought together effectively for it to make business sense and be leveraged. For this, tools are needed.
HR needs to first get sponsorship from the CEO and key stakeholders to start this journey, because it is these stakeholders who will be using the people analytics for decision making. A lot of business decisions tend to be based on gut or intuition. As per her “Data will help to validate and back such decisions”. Secondly, the partnership with technology is critical. They need to know what we want and then technology has to deliver as per our requirements rather than the other way round.
Organizations also need to start taking informal sources of data such as social media seriously and possibly leverage it. Informal sources of information, therefore should be considered, but not used for deciding, since it is driven by perception.
Finally, for an HR department which is starting the process of using data, the focus should not be on getting leadership buy-in. Anuranjita says that “The first step is to Use the data, then Improve the system and finally Broaden the scale and be inclusive”.
So get started with what you have and then build the case with leaders for investments.