big data in HR

In an era where Big Data is transforming our workplaces, professionals in Human Resources aren’t left untouched. As HR personnel seek innovative tools to hire, retain, and manage employees efficiently, they can’t ignore the potential of Big Data. 

But no innovation is free of challenges. Understanding the risks that derive from incorporating Big Data into your business is the first step to protect your assets and remain competitive in the long term. 

In this guide we’ll look at the benefits and drawbacks of using Big Data in HR. Let’s dive in. 

Big Data and HR: Let’s Cover the Basics

Big Data, alongside other emerging technologies, is taking the world by storm. In 2023, the global big data analytics market size was valued at $307.52 billion, and it is expected to continue growing at an annual rate of 13.5% to reach a whopping international value of $745.15 billion by 2030. 

The HR sector has certainly not been immune to this new technology. Big Data – which refers to large datasets that are too extensive to be managed by traditional data-processing software – can be used in HR for a variety of purposes like streamlining the hiring process, improving employee engagement, and fostering talent retention.

So, in practice, how can HR be used? Here are some of the benefits you should know about. 

  • Streamlining the recruitment process 
  • Systematically identifying suitable candidates in less time.
  • Improving evidence-based decision-making
  • Using analytics to assess productivity and workforce optimization strategies
  • Monitoring employee behaviors and identifying patterns 
  • Predicting future performance, turnover, and risks
  • Enabling a better understanding of employee sentiment
  • Aiding in devising effective engagement strategies
  • Supporting competitive compensation planning through insights into industry pay standards and trends.

Last but not least, as more and more companies introduce Big Data, this technology has become essential to remain competitive in today’s fast-changing market!

5 Big Data Risks HR Departments Need to Watch Out For 

There’s no doubt that Big Data can certainly propel the HR sector into its next era. Nonetheless, all new technologies come with risks and challenges that need to be managed to ensure a smooth digital development. 

Below, we’ll look at the main risks of Big Data and at what you can do to prevent them. 

Possible Responsibility and Legal Issues

One big risk of using Big Data in HR lies in the realm of responsibility and legal implications. The smallest oversight could lead to lawsuits, breaches of confidentiality, or non-compliance with data protection laws. 

To navigate these potential pitfalls, it’s crucial to work closely with a specialized legal team like Marble Law. This can help ensure that all data usage aligns with current legislation and is both ethical and responsible.

Potential Privacy Infringements

When it comes to Big Data and HR, one potential risk you need to consider is privacy infringement. If you operate within the HR section, you’ll already be aware of the importance of upholding the highest standards in terms of privacy regulations, handling, and internal policies. 

But when using Big Data, the risk of infringing privacy laws increases tenfold! A large amount of sensitive employee data will be at stake, often including personal information, performance metrics, and even their health data! 

If this information is mishandled or falls into the wrong hands, not only could it harm the employee’s privacy rights, but it could also potentially damage your company’s reputation and trustworthiness!

Data Breaches

When using big data in HR, a major risk to consider is the potential for data breaches. These are, certainly, a growing threat for most companies, but they are even more so if you rely on complex systems such as Big Data. 

Should your systems become compromised, the effects could be disastrous. Unauthorized parties can gain access to confidential employee information which may be detrimental to both individuals and your organization. Therefore, stringent data protection measures are not just recommended, they’re absolutely necessary in ensuring the security of all HR-related data.

Overreliance on Technology 

Remember, it’s crucial not to lean too heavily on technology when managing your HR operations. Yes, Big Data systems can provide great insights, yet these insights should be used in addition to human discernment, not as a substitute. Keep in mind that whilst algorithms are quite robust, they are not perfect. 

It’s possible they could overlook subtle factors which a seasoned HR professional would recognize immediately. Therefore, always ensure a balance between your reliance on tech tools and the valuable human touch in your decision-making process. Additionally, maintaining this equilibrium is instrumental in making the most out of Big Data while mitigating associated risks.

Difficulty in Establishing Causality

In the context of Big Data, causality refers to the relationship between cause and effect within the data. It’s about identifying specific actions or occurrences that directly influence outcomes. For example, an HR department may want to determine if longer employee breaks cause an increase in productivity.

However, establishing causality can be quite a challenge. This is primarily due to the risk of confusing correlation with causation: just because two data sets share a relationship does not mean one triggers the other. 

Never forget that assuming incorrect causal relations can skew HR strategies and lead to inefficient resource use. For instance, if we consider our earlier example, it might not be that longer breaks enhance productivity; perhaps more productive employees simply manage their time better, allowing for longer breaks. Hence it’s crucial that you investigate thoroughly before drawing conclusions based on data relationships.

Preventing The Risks of Big Data: Start Here 

Ultimately, it’s vital to understand the risks of using Big Data in HR and actively work towards their mitigation. Starting with a well-planned policy that defines clear boundaries and safeguards can go a long way in preventing data misuse, ensuring that the potential of Big Data can be harnessed efficiently and responsibly. 

And, of course, don’t forget to work with a team of specialized professionals who are able to foresee and avoid the risks involved with implementing new technologies.