‘Long data’ to drive workforce analytics
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‘Long data’ to drive workforce analytics

Organizations across the globe are searching for ways to capture the power of “Big Data” to unlock workforce insights. Unfortunately, many organizations get lost in the fog of big data analysis. The latest release of Mercer Analytics (www.mercer.com) addresses this challenge by leveraging the power of Long Data to unlock insights into an organization’s most valuable asset: its talent.

Long Data, a term coined by mathematician and network scientist Samuel Arbesman, is described as "data sets that have massive historical sweep." In terms of workforce analytics, Big Data provides deep analysis typically focused on a point in time, while Long Data provides insights from stories that have unfolded over time. Thoughtful analysis of Long Data therefore allows organizations to identify, segment and analyze data as part of an ongoing process to drive meaningful results, according to Mercer Analytics. It can also mitigate the risks associated with perpetually making reactive or point-in-time decisions, says the research group.

"We see human capital management, including the ability to link performance management data with historical compensation practices, as being completely redefined by the proper use of long data and the insights it can provide," says Orlando Ashford, president of Mercer’s Talent business. "At any given point, most employee performance ratings match a classic bell curve, which is not by itself very revealing. However, with the proper segmenting of employee populations and their performance over time, trends and barriers can reveal themselves quite dramatically."

He says organizations need to provide answers to strategically critical questions, such as:

Do we reward our employees who consistently receive high performance ratings through greater pay increases, promotions and career opportunities?

How can we make better decisions regarding our salary and short- and long-term incentive budget allocation based on employee performance?

Do we effectively manage our employees who consistently receive low performance ratings?

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