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With the help of good data, workforce analytics can reveal insights to determine who is the best person for the job, what kind of investments to be applied within the individual, what types of skills should be developed, and which section they are tend to be deployed or promoted to.
There have always been large amounts of data. There have always been tools available to capture, store, manipulate and analyse it. But in the not too distant past, the volume of data exceeded our tools’ ability to manage it effectively. The notion of ‘big data’, when the term was established, referred to the challenge that then-available tools were falling short in their ability to manage exponentially increasing volumes of data being generated in a rapidly growing array of structured and unstructured formats. It was a case of ‘too much, too fast’.
Fortunately, tools have become more sophisticated. Their ability to handle the 3Vs of big data (volume, velocity, variety) is much better. For leaders who seek to make better use of data in their decision-making and operations, we have come to a ‘tipping point’. “Data, whether ‘big’ or ‘small’, needs to be managed effectively if we are to get value from it.” said Paul Surprenant, President Director of Mercer.
There is no one right formula for organizations to use data more effectively, but a few rules stand out.
- - Know what matters: leaders have always used information in their decision-making. The challenge used to be it was limited, now there is almost too much. To deal with this, prioritize where you need data excellence. Identify where good information is an imperative in your decisions and operations. Assess this across your organization. For each function, identify the decisions and processes that truly matter.
- - Understand what you have: identify what data you have available. The key word is ‘available’. Be expansive. It is more than just your internal applications. Think of ALL the points at which you collect data, from the frontto back-end, and how you collect it.
Look externally, too. Companies have rich internal databases, but external data adds context.
- - Think ahead: visualize how you want to see your information and never stop refining the picture. Think of the information you will need in 3 – 5 years. Challenge yourself, will this data really differentiate your firm from your competitors, or will you all be using the same information when making the same types of decisions.
Big data offers wonderful opportunities. “I read a great deal about how firms are using big data to refine their products and market and sell them more effectively. But it is more than that. Big data is being applied in many ways and it is bringing about impactful social benefits in healthcare, workforce planning, government services, risk management and actuarial analyses, climate modelling, research, even traffic management!” Paul mentioned.
Satya Radjasa, Country Business Leader at Mercer, added that big data could also be used by the Government to improve public services. “It is really possible. Our Government can utilise big data to reveal insights about which public services are already good and which are not suitable. Almost every functions of an organization could make benefits from the big data usage. The right time for an organization to start utilising their big data is right now,” he said.
Satya addressed the importance of big data in workforce analytics. Having sufficient data about employees would be helpful in determining what helps them to perform their responsibilities, develop their careers, and succeed as a person within the organization. Beside retaining best talent, big data can also be useful in hiring practices. Which schools produce the graduates that typically get the higher performance ratings when they start in the organization? Is there a correlation between students who have extracurricular activities and their good performance at work? Having data to answer those questions would be useful to make informed decisions about hiring and promotion.
With over 20 years of experience, Mercer is the largest workforce data provider in Indonesia. Mercer works with companies to leverage local and global data, bringing them together to perform benchmark analysis on how those organizations perform against peers. “We start with business strategy, and from there we help each organization understand and build its workforce and talent for the future,” said Paul.
Marsh & McLennan Companies
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Jakarta 10270, Indonesia
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