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Big data: an opportunity HR professionals cannot afford to ignore, global SHL report warns

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In HR there is still untapped potential for the use of big data to enable employers to make better decisions about people, a report published today from measurement solutions company SHL has found.

The, 2013 Global Assessment Trends Report, states with talent usually being organisations most costly asset and a key differentiator between business success and failure the potential for better use of big data is an opportunity HR professionals cannot afford to ignore.

The report surveyed 592 HR professionals worldwide across a variety of industry sectors. It outlines key trends and insights into talent assessment practices year on year and challenges facing employers in 2013.

It found there is a lot of room for improvement in big data as less than a quarter of respondents said that their organisations have a clear understanding of workforce potential.

The report looked at who owns talent strategy and stated the "responsibility" for talent strategy ultimately lies with the group that can "demonstrate how managing talent impacts the bottom line". It states this requires objectives data on people.

Less than half of employers surveyed reported using objective data to make decisions about the workforce and less than half use talent to drive business.

The report showed that all employers have data about their workforce which can be used to help drive business results but the quality and accessibility of that data can impact its usefulness and HR professionals are reporting that there is room for improvement in these areas.

While nearly 75% of organisations have formal performance appraisal or management processes in place for employees, less than one-fourth (24%) of respondents indicated that their company has a clear understanding of their workforce's potential, the report found.

It also revealed that less than half of respondents said their employers use objective data on employees' competencies and skills to make workforce decisions. It states that this could be due to the ineffective use of competency models: only one-third of respondents indicated that such models are used effectively in their organisations.

Not only are HR professionals reporting most organisations do not have a clear

picture of their workforce's potential, they are also dissatisfied with how their

systems and automation help them manage talent data.

More than one-third of HR professionals indicated having competency and skill data integrated with their overall talent management systems.

However, the report showed less than one out of five respondents (18%) indicated that they were satisfied with the systems and automation for managing talent data. The report believes this dissatisfaction could be due to the lack of accessibility of HR data to those who need it, as only 17% of respondents indicated that their HRIS systems are accessible via smart phones/mobile devices.

The report also showed that social media data was not critical to hiring decisions. It found while 60% of companies use or plan to use social media searches as a hiring tool in 2013, less than 30% believe the data is useful in determining candidate fit, and only 11% believe it is critical to hiring decisions.

The report included results from an online survey of 592 HR professionals completed in November 2012.