Sunday, April 21, 2013

Big data and human resource management

Two recent pieces on how analytics and big data sets are being used to make more informed decisions about employees:

(1) Today's NYT cites how companies are starting to take a more scientific approach to measuring and evaluating human resource decisions.  Not only are big data dogs IBM, Oracle and SAP in the chase; eHarmony also is looking at how to make better employee-employer matches.  Initial applications appear to be focusing on high-turnover service jobs in places like fast-food restaurants and call centers.  The story is full of anecdotes; the most insightful one for me was Google's decision to stop worrying about GPAs and SAT scores in deciding who to hire.  I wonder what they use now?

(2) A recent piece in the Economist (link courtesy of Freakonomics) also discussed how big data capabilities are being used in HR.  Two of the examples came from Evolv, a San Francisco company that has become recognized as a leader in work place analytics.  One client learned that the choice of browswer used by a job applicant was correlated with higher job performance and less turnover (those who used preinstalled browsers like IE and Safari do not do as well as those who installed their own browser, such as Firefox or Chrome).  Another learned that there was no real difference in performance between those with criminal records and those without. 

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