Forget about Google. One of the world’s favorite sites has got to be LMGTFY.com. “Let me google that for you.” With the wondrous world of the internet and ubiquitous information, ubiquitous access through our mobile devices, and ubiquitous connectivity, whenever someone asks a dumb question in email, you get to just send them back a link to LMGTFY.com (since most of the time you don’t actually know the answer anyway – I can’t count the times someone asked me something I didn’t know but I gave them the answer after googling it.) It’s a bit sad though, that we have such incredible access to information in our personal lives, but our access to HR information seems to be severely limited. We are just starting to do cool things in HR to answer interesting questions about our employees, but in a couple of segments of the industry, it’s about to get completely fascinating.
(NOTE TO READERS: I stopped writing about specific vendors a long time ago, but today I’m going to highlight a couple that I think are doing really great work – but it’s more about the work that I’d like to highlight, so don’t take this as a vendor plug!!!)
Oh, we love buzz words. I know I’ve been writing about big data and social HR a lot this year. If the last decade was about the shift from HR administration to talent management, the next decade is going to be about creating insights about our people and making them own their own development. When we talk about information, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft have been creating algorithms to search data for years. HR just hasn’t had to tools to do it. Things are about to change rapidly.
Use Case 1: Using Big Data to Use Your Employees:
Use your employees? Oh that sounds terrible. The reality of this is that it’s really cool. A small company called Careerify (careerify.net) started selling a product last year that allows you to easily grow the volume of high quality employee referrals you get. What they do, is they allow employees to connect their Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, Twitter and whatever other networks they have, so that you can help them understand when they should refer someone to the organization. Let’s say for example that you have an opening for an electrical engineer. Careerify would help you push an internal campaign to your employees, perhaps sending them an email that automatically identifies people in their network who are electrical engineers. It goes a step further though. Because you might be linked to a number of the employee networks with a variety of data, you can target the location of people on top of jobs. But it even gets better… let’s say you know you have a culture of people who are active, outdoorsy, and fit, and there is an electrical engineer who happens to be a bass fisherman and loves to skydive (based on photo tags in Facebook). This EE would be scored higher than individuals without those interests.
The ability to mine employee networks (with their opt in) and present employees with easily selectable pictures they can click on to invite someone in their network to apply is almost too easy. We all know that employee referrals are the fastest, highest quality, and lowest cost recruiting source we have, but we just never knew how to make it easy for the employee. By using big data to reach into employee networks and analyze profile attributes and even tags and update activity, you could literally improve your core recruiting metrics (time to hire, cost of hire, quality of hire) in weeks.
Use Case 2: Bringing More Information to Recruiters
To be totally honest, I’ve been trying to work out why recruiting is always ahead of the curve when it comes to HR technology. I think at the end of the day it all has to do with the fact that it’s a function the business actually depends on. If they (managers) don’t do performance reviews, their organization probably won’t suffer for months or years. If they don’t fill the open seat though, their productivity is suffering the very next day. A company called eQuest (been around much longer than Careerify) has been using big data to answer some of those questions around “why aren’t I hiring anyone right now?” What is interesting and wonderful is the completely different approach organizations like Careerify and eQuest are taking.
eQuest looks at the market through job boards, and correlates your recruiting activity to activity in the market. Basically, if that same electrical engineer position is still open in 60 days, eQuest can tell you what ever other company is doing differently. For example, based on what is out on the job boards, you have 3 EE jobs open out of 50 in your local area. It just might so happen that you are offering a lower compensation rate, so you are getting 60% fewer candidates than the average EE job opening (demand is up, but you have not adjusted to market yet). Or, it could just be that in the last 6 months, there are fewer EE candidates even looking at and opening those job postings (supply is down).
Unlike Careerify who tries to solve the problem by making it easier for your employees to help you, eQuest tries to solve it by putting better data in your recruiter’s hands. Both are completely valid mind you, just different approaches to big data. With either technology, I actually think we are getting closer to LMGTFY.com for HR and recruiting. When my internal recruiter asks me if “I know anyone,” I’d have to think about it. But if Careerify asks me, and automatically sends me a clickable picture of 5 people who already match, I only have to think about whether I really want that person around or not. On the other hand, if my recruiters are asking “Why the F isn’t anyone applying for this job?” eQuest can probably give you a pretty good answer as well.