Data, Analytics Take Center Stage

This article accompanies New Tech Directions.

As noted in this Q&A, data, analytics and how HR leaders are making more informed decisions about talent will be one of the important themes at the HR Tech conference this year. Here are some highlights illustrating just how this focus on data and analytics is changing how HR works at several leading organizations that will share their data-driven transformation stories at the conference.

At ConAgra Foods, one of North America's largest food companies, human resource leaders realized that data would be the key to transform HR from an administrative and support function into a strategic and consultative business partner. The "vision" was clear: the need to move from making decisions based on business leader's intuition, to one where decisions were based on facts and backed up with data. The keys for making this transformation at ConAgra were in the combination of modern HR-technology solutions, along with the support and sponsorship of key executive stakeholders. The ConAgra HR-transformation story should help other HR organizations plot their paths to becoming data-driven business drivers.

The use of data for candidate identification and assessment also continues to be an important trend for HR and talent-acquisition leaders in organizations of all sizes, and conference-goers will hear how several are applying technology to these processes and using data to drive better recruiting outcomes.

For marketing services company SendGrid, its challenge was to find a better way to answer questions such as, "Is the candidate ready for a new job?" and "Would the candidate be a good match for our culture?" In an environment where so much information is potentially available online about candidates, having a way to make sense of this data became essential for the growing company. SendGrid turned to a technology solution from one of the HR Tech Conference's 2013 "Awesome New Technologies for HR" providers, Entelo, for help in consolidating online profile information, examining social signals and applying "Big Data" and predictive principles. At the conference, SendGrid will share how they are now better able to assess candidates for both their willingness to make a career change, and their likelihood of success at the company.

Data-driven approaches to HR and talent management extend beyond recruiting, too. One interesting application of a more quantitative talent-management-decision-making process that will be showcased is in the area of Affordable Care Act compliance and its related workforce-management implications. Whole Foods Market plans to share its experiences with the ACA, which include -- as a key element -- the application of technology from Equifax Workforce Solutions. For a large and diverse workforce, keeping up with the ACA requirements, understanding how staffing and employee scheduling decisions impact compliance with the Act's provisions, and giving managers and business leaders the data they need to make informed decisions simply would not be possible without a comprehensive and data-driven approach. As its story goes, data, technology and an innovative approach to information visualization and delivery are empowering Whole Foods to stay ahead of problems before they arise.

Data and analytics remain central to almost every HR-technology-enabled transformation, no matter what kind of organization or the specific nature of the challenges it is facing. HR Tech case studies from leading organizations such as Kimberly-Clark, Google, Goldman Sachs, Bloomin' Brands and more will all showcase how an emphasis on data and analytics are essential to delivering world-class HR service and enabling HR to play a vital role in business-transformation efforts. Additionally, presentations and expert sessions from leaders at LinkedIn, Mercer, Bersin by Deloitte and others will focus on giving HR leaders the insights they need to empower their own analytics initiatives.

 -- Steve Boese

Jun 17, 2014
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