Using Big Data to Predict Employee Patterns

Big data can be an invaluable asset when reviewed to assess consumer trends. The same tools can also be used in conjunction with employees. Now, business owners and managers are applying data analysis behind the scenes, making informed decisions with regards to hiring new talent and maintaining the needs and expectations of the active workforce.

Prospective Employees
The same traits that can be pulled from consumer pattern analysis also come in handy during the hiring process. In an article written for USA Today, Battery Ventures investment firm partner Roger Lee emphasized the importance of hiring managers understanding the type of employee the company is looking for. Lee expressed the benefits of paying attention to social media usage patterns to determine when ideal candidates may be available for hire. An increase in a candidate's time spent on Facebook and Twitter could suggest unemployment. Lee added that businesses should collect data during the interview process to cross-examine with hiring goals.

Big data can also be used to eliminate preconceived notions that may arise from simply viewing a candidate's resume. Heather Huhman, a contributor to Entrepreneur magazine, wrote that a candidate with a scattered work history may turn off potential recruiters at first glance, but that this information can be misleading. Infrequency on a resume could be a sign of bad workplace practices. but data analysis can reveal external economic factors and a low demand for an individual's skill set have hindered long-term employment, not necessarily an issue with the prospective hire's attitude or performance.

Current Employees
Several companies have been using prediction algorithms to help with crew retention. Bloomberg reporter Jack Clark has been studying these data uses for some time, and he noted that business intelligence systems learn about an enterprise and its employees over time to make educated predictions. Based on a company's history of hiring and firing practices, staff salaries, promotions and relocations fused with economic factors such as the estimated cost of living for a particular area, business intelligence software can determine the levels of workforce satisfaction. This data is then developed to create surprisingly accurate predictions of which employees may be ready to say goodbye.

Nicole Fallon, assistant editor of Business News Daily, explained that allowing employees to be aware of their own progress in the face of sales goals and company policies can be a motivational tool. Non-management staff enjoy the experience of being in the discussion of what succeeds and what does not – staff members learn about more than just their own position and gain a respect for the business as a whole this way. Enterprises need to ensure all crew members understand how systems and software operate so that personal goals and expectations can be monitored by both employees and supervising staff effectively.

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