“Big numbers are one thing when it comes to various social points of presence, but is anyone measuring interaction and engagement? If so, how?”

mindsThat was one of the questions I posed last week at the Recruiting Trends Social Sourcing and Recruitment Summit in Washington, DC. An eclectic and electric room for sure, with my TalentCulture #TChat Community co-founder Meghan M. Biro by my side, we moderated a end-of-day discussion with some very smart folk about social recruiting, HR and business trends and issues. And, at the literal end of the day, we all agreed that a sound social recruiting strategy comes from understanding how different social sites complement one another, not how they compete.

But back to the question above, because we got a little stuck on data bigness. The fact is, some larger progressive companies that were in the room with us like Intuit are collecting buckets full of valuable data across their recruiting and HR functions and measuring value outcomes that not only align with the specific business areas and objectives, but actually help create the very focused objectives themselves — and actually tackling the proverbial quality of hire via social sites equation across divisions, departments and teams. The immediate and future strategic and tactical power is in the granularity, not the bigness.

That’s not the case with most of us yet. We’re still focused on the bigger buckets of non-predictive marketing data, the mass marketing mentality (how many applicants per job req and site), when we need to be stuck in the small minds of big data, collecting the data and metric bits that help validate the immediate and future fruits of our labor. It’s not just about the number of LinkedIn group members, the number of Twitter followers, the number of Facebook likes, and where the applicants are coming from.

The small minds of big data isn’t derogatory and are more than just source of hire, time to hire, time to fill and other metrics we’ve already been painstakingly tracking for a long time, just a little better now with smarter software and greater computing power. Unfortunately it gets more convoluted if we’re using legacy software systems and other archaic tools of measurement from the past (I didn’t say slide ruler, but spreadsheets and email come to mind).

Big data for business, HR and recruiting isn’t about measuring Twitter brand sentiment or the economic truth behind the unemployed, underemployed and the unemployable — it’s about measuring AND forecasting the specific business analytics from recruiting to outplacement and all in between. We need regular access to workforce analytics that provide actionable information and insight. The data in question should be fluid across systems while being able to “crunch the business” with a variety of sound snapshot and predictive analytics for any specific business area including:

  • Talent Pool Viability
  • Skills and Competency Analysis
  • Hire Quality and Cultural Fit
  • Employee and Contingent Engagement
  • Hiring vs. Workforce Development
  • Workforce Growth Rates and Costs
  • Talent Retention and Turnover
  • Overall Business Impact

There are workforce planning software solutions available today that enable us to drill down into specific areas of our businesses and find the gold, but none better that what my new employer’s solution Peoplefluent InSight enables us to do.

With InSight’s hierarchy-driven analytics, we can segment our data the way we need to and when we need to. It’s almost like magic. Really. Other workforce planning software solutions limit organizations to pre-determined analytic options and reports. InSight allows us to continuously track and evaluate the effectiveness of strategic workforce planning initiatives and decisions. It’s here where we can keep our business goals and workforce investments in complete alignment.

Welcome to the small minds of big data. Together we can see the world of work’s future.