Make Sense of Big Data at #EXCELLENCE15

If you’re working in Human Resources, I know you have heard about big data. It is the catch phrase on everyone’s lips. But what is big data and why is it important to you? Big data refers to the mountain of organizational data that resides in various systems. Often these systems do not connect so the data may not be usable. I know from experience that there are many HR leaders who are using Excel and other tools to try to consolidate some of the unyielding data into a format that they can use to aid in making business decisions. I’ve taken this approach in the past too. This is not only time consuming, it can lead to inaccuracies in consolidation and also in analysis.

Big data is important because, if you have access to information on your organization’s data on pay, turnover, job movement, etc., you can make better workforce planning and management decisions and can be compliant with complex requirements. But what if you don’t have the time or the skills to handle the large amount of data your company has? What would you do?

At Brandon Hall Group’s upcoming HCM Excellence Conference in January, I will be tackling this very topic with industry experts Mike Psenka from Equifax Workforce Solutions, Steve Boese, co-chair of the HR Technology Conference, and Edward Pertwee from BT. We’ll be talking about how to use data in key areas, such as turnover. We’ll help attendees understand how they can best use technology to access the data, filter, sort, and analyze the data. Misinterpreting data will also be covered because there are so many times bad decisions can be made with good data.

The good news is that there are technologies and tools out there to help you wade though all your compliance concerns. As HR has been told for years, a majority of what we do is not considered strategic. I’ve said before that HR is strategic and that even handling the most routine issues that fall under compliance, we are still strategic. The panel and I will be talking through how the Affordable Care Act and the compliance planning related to it can be strategic. With the ACA coming into play, some employers began pushing hourly workers under the 30 hour per week threshold. The unintended consequence of this and similar tactics are the very reason HR pros need to focus on the big picture strategy of handling ACA requirements.

I’m also fascinated with fast turnover. When employees leave the company within the first twelve months of hire, there is something wrong. We’ll also explore regrettable versus non-regrettable turnover and how knowing the numbers can help you plan for the future. All in all, it will be a great session. I hope you’ll join us for the HCM Excellence Conference. We’ll be in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, January 28- 30, 2015. Click here for more information.


Trish McFarlane, VP and Principal Analyst,
Human Resources Practice, Brandon Hall Group

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Trish McFarlane