I Like #BigData & I Can Not Lie

“I like #bigdata and I can’t lie” – Sr. Business Analyst

There’s something you don’t hear every day.  Actually he said to me “I like numbers because they never lie” but why kill a good laugh with the facts? He went on to tell me that every company he has worked for that his favorite project is working on the human resources data. What usually happens is the company has him work on all kinds of client data – usage, products, services, and support. But eventually someone from HR will come to him and say something like, “Hey can you work on some reports for us?” to which he replies “absolutely” because he says the HR data tells you a lot about how a company treats its employees.[Tweet “HR Data says a lot about how a company treats its people… “]

He confided in me that in the past he has quit jobs after synthesizing and crunching workforce data and finding discriminatory or neglectful information. Regardless of what the CEO says, the numbers always bare out the truth. So if leadership says diversity is important but organizational demographics say otherwise – he knows what’s really important. Same thing goes for pay equality, productivity and promotions. Of course he gives the company an opportunity to make changes but if he sees a trend within the data which shows the company has a history of underpaying minorities and women or promoting them less often or recruiting fewer minorities then he knows he needs to leave. [Tweet “Regardless of what Leadership says, #bigdata tells the real story”]

Sometimes he finds federal violations within the data. He tells HR that the company is in danger and could be audited or worst…sued. You see any company can make a mistake from time to time – no place is perfect. Sometimes a company is not aware of the problem until they see the numbers for themselves, but it’s what they do with that information from that point on. Just like in any HR investigation, the high courts have determined that when an employee is harassed they must give the employer an opportunity to respond and investigate (unless it’s egregious).  So after presenting his reports he likes to give them a chance to fix the problems but if they ignore the data and continue on as if nothing is wrong,  then he moves on to a better company. And unfortunately, many of us (not just HR but the world of business period) do not like data – we don’t like collecting it, verifying it, interpreting it and most importantly – fixing it. [Tweet “No one likes #BigData but that’s besides the point”]

I like visiting China…meaning, China Gorman’s blog on Data Point Tuesday. China Gorman is the CEO at Great Place to Work Institute and she breaks down all kinds of employment data. What never ceases to amaze me is how one piece of data can have such board and sweeping effects. Many have said that #BigData does not tell the whole story or paint the entire picture – to which I say nothing does. It’s just a piece of the puzzle to being a successful business. Every business needs data including restaurants, coffee shops, automobile manufacturers, music labels, sports franchises,  athletic apparel companies…just on and on.

Big data is like exercise, you hate it but you need it


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