Big Data, Sales Talent, and HR Misconceptions

dreamstime_m_25579477When we talk about big data, we often refer to science, finance, and consumer business. But big data can be much more useful when it comes to HR (Bersin calls it People Analytics) and talent management. Think about it: there are about 160 million workers in the US—how much can HR really know about what drives performance in the workforce? Without big data, the answer is “not very much.” For a specific example, let’s apply big data to managing sales talent, as in a case study presented by Josh Bersin for Forbes.

A large financial services company assumed that employees with good grades from top universities would make the highest-performing sales talent. Thus, their HR department recruited, selected, and promoted their sales talent under this premise. The company decided to use big data to help analyze their sales talent and turnover, while comparing the fiscal performance of sales talent one or two years in, versus the total performance and retention across a variety of demographics in the company.

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