Companies Look to HR to Interpret Data And Find Its Competitive Edge, Webinar Told

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By Caryn Freeman  

Jan. 14 --With so much new technology, employers are at a point where the rate at which data is coming in is sometimes surpassing their ability to handle it, and they will be looking to HR to interpret that data, John Sumser, principal analyst at HRxAnalysts, a research and analytics firm in San Francisco, said during a Jan. 9 webinar.

What all of this new information does is create an atmosphere where certain business functions, particularly HR, begin to reconsider existing policies and practices, he said in the Oracle human capital management webinar, “The Economics of Labor Data, Make Big Data Work for You.”

“Now companies are better able to compare real numbers to conventional wisdom, and what we are discovering is that the conventional wisdom is often wrong,” Sumser said.

Hiring managers, for example, get performance statistics from the recruiting department that outline averages, he said. “So as a hiring manger, you get no interesting data about solving your business problem,” Sumser said. Often the data only measure the output of a certain department but offer little analysis of the employee experience, Sumser added.

The competitive edge that comes from HR is going to require that it offer more variations on information by pulling data together in ways that had been previously thought to be impossible, he said.

“Companies are going to discover that they will be combining a lot of data to solve increasingly complex issues about the workforce,” Sumser said.

“Over the course of 2014 you will be hearing a lot about how to shape the answers that come out of HR and attach them to specific business outcomes,” Sumser said. This information will also allow for a better understanding of a company's position in the labor market as it looks to fill specific jobs, he said.

“I find it fascinating that if you ask most companies who their competition is for recruiting talent, you get the same answers you got 10 years ago,” Sumser said. “So until you know your recruiting competition, any question about using other labor market data to make sense out of things is sort of a fantasy.”

“Once you know who your competition is, you can start to understand the rudiments of competition, and the rudiments of competition are where the market data gets interesting,” Sumser said.

Companies can determine how many jobs are out there, what percentage are for positions similar to those your company is hiring for and who are the competitors, he said. “Now you can get a clear picture of what market share you're competing for and can use real-time labor market data to drive job construction and compensation,” Sumser said.