The Data Driven Future of HR

This week we are looking at how the explosion in data being gathered in organisations and the advent of AI [artificial intelligence] will shape the HR function of the future. It is no exaggeration to say that today’s organisation is drowning in data.

It is estimated that 90% of the worlds data has been captured in the last two years and by 2020 the same amount of data will be created every minute.

As well as traditional systems of record there are now a multitude of other data trails that today’s modern organisation is capturing. In the HR context this data explosion can be seen across the variety of systems used to track employee performance and behaviour in the workplace. Traditionally this data was aggregated and used to answer questions about the past, e.g. what was employee turnover last year. This type of answer offers no real insight into the “why” and goes little in the way of predicting what future employee turnover might be and how to do anything about it. As a result, strategic and planning decisions just become a matter for opinion and gut instinct.

The use of AI and data analytics will change all this. By gathering HR and other data sources together, models can be created that attempt to make predictions about the future and provide insight into why something is happening, the likelihood of it happening again and what to do about it. The technology takes care of surfacing these insights and predictions in an easily interpreted and timely manner, hiding all the complexity it has taken to generate such answers. An organisation’s data thereby becomes a powerful tool in supporting the decision making process adding a more objective view on matters. At their core these systems attempt to look for meaningful patterns in data allowing them to use statistics to determine causation and the probability of the same pattern happening again. The more data that is available the more accurate the prediction will be.

Traditionally HR hasn’t always or consistently taken such an analytical approach to managing talent and employee engagement in the organisation. But by framing the question correctly, data analytics can unearth all sorts of insights into human behaviour and address their needs accordingly.

Let's look at some of the possible applications of this data driven approach to managing the workforce:

  • Creating remuneration packages and working conditions that most strongly influence employee performance

  • Examine inter team/department/region communications to determine if all facets of the organisation are collaborating effectively

  • Analyse recruitment data to make better hiring decisions

  • Use recommendation algorithms to suggest the most appropriate learning and development programs for employees to undertake

  • Make employee performance and attrition predictions

  • Measure the effectiveness of engagement initiatives

Whilst data might provide insight and answers that seemed impossible a number of years ago it is important to recognise that it is only a tool that must be applied correctly. These systems only work well when coupled with people with right level of domain expertise asking the right questions.

Karl Tapley

Head of Technology @ PepTalk

Let's make work better …

At PepTalk, engagement is at the heart of all our wellbeing platform. Our platform is about energy, passion and fun while being grounded in key business outcomes.

To find out more about this area and our wider PepTalk offering book a demonstration at or email

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