Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Big Data is changing the business landscape – but failing to change the workplace

Despite large appetite there is persistently low uptake of data analytics-based solutions to HR issues

Research released earlier this month reveals just how few companies are taking advantage of all the opportunities presented by the data analytics revolution. The report, published by Deloitte, highlights the large appetite for HR analytics, but simultaneously reveals shockingly low uptake in the sector. A remarkable 75 per cent of the 3,300 HR and business leaders interviewed by Deloitte believe that using analytics in HR is ‘important’, but only eight per cent consider their businesses ‘strong’ in the area. Worryingly, despite the high rate of innovation and growth in the Big Data market, this figure is almost exactly the same as in 2014, showing just how far HR analytics is now lagging behind.[1]

These figures present a challenge to HR professionals, who must begin to convert their appetite for data analysis into concrete action. The imperative is clearly recognised by most business leaders: 79 per cent who responded to a recent Accenture survey agreed that ‘companies which do not embrace Big Data will lose their competitive position and may even face extinction’.[2] Many companies have embraced the possibilities of external data gathering and analysis, but with only 10.9 per cent of organisations currently using advanced analytical solutions as part of their HR process, there is a large gap in the way companies are applying Big Data to their business.[3]  

Paul Statham, Founder and CEO of the award-winning workplace solutions company Condeco Software, commenting on Deloitte’s recent findings, said: “HR professionals are clearly recognising that analytics can have a crucial impact on their business. However, even where we do see organisations applying data-based solutions to their HR process, the activity is focused around reward, talent acquisition and retention. UK businesses need a much larger vision for HR analytics. There are other questions these organisations should be asking – how suited is the workplace environment to the way in which employees are working? How much space is being utilised productively? Real-time data gathering of workplace activity gives businesses the capability to answer these questions.”

Paul continued: “The UK has been struggling over the last years to increase productivity, and despite recent small improvements, the UK continues to lag far behind the US and other advanced industrialised countries.[4]  Yet the possibility of using workplace data to inform the creation of more productive workspaces is massively underexploited. Companies need to be better informed about how their space is being used. Yes, there is an appetite for HR analytics, but companies really need to turn this appetite into activity if they are to create productive, agile and flexible workplaces.”

Condeco Software provides their blue chip client base with market-leading technology in order to facilitate informed workplace innovations. By installing sensors under desks, for instance, companies can gain an accurate picture of how their space is being used. Condeco research found that results can often be surprising for office managers: whilst managers believe average utilisation is about 65 per cent, the true figure is just 38 per cent.[5] This disparity highlights the need for Condeco’s data-based approach to workplace management, as part of a greater focus from business leaders on internal data gathering and analysis.