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Technology

HR urged to use Big Data to cut unproductive staff

Timothy Oriedo
Predictive Analytics founder Timothy Oriedo. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Human resources professionals should adopt Big Data for purposes of helping in recruitment of the right staff. The professionals should be able to predict behaviour, passion, likes and dislikes of the recruits as well as who they follow or online groups they belong to.

In a recent data science workshop held at Westlands, Nairobi, HR professionals were urged to lead the way by getting the right training in using new recruitment methods to save employers the pain of contracting underproductive workers.

Organised by big data firm Predictive Analytics (PA), the event highlighted how Artificial Intelligence, coupled with data science, can help HR departments dodge the hurdles that hinder corporate growth and contribute to a high employee exit rate.

“In the next four years, data analysis and coding in Python will be a key requirement by HR departments. Officers in this field need to adopt Big Data skills early enough,” stressed Mr Timothy Oriedo, founder of PA.

He reminded attendees how seven years ago, every job applicant ensured they had Microsoft Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint processing skills in their resume. “It will be the same for data science, watch this space.”

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LinkedIn talent solutions manager for Africa Mr Stewart Samkange advised personnel scouts to utilise the power of the social media platform to hire the right employees for the right job.

“Every second, two members join the platform. 30 million companies are registered, with 35,000 professional skills optimised for over 645 million users,” he revealed adding that 20 million fraudulent accounts were closed last year.

With data analysis, LinkedIn uses information on the type of groups you join, people you follow, your profile, questions you ask and what you post to help recruiters know what matters most to candidates.

“This can inform the passion of a candidate, what they hate and predict their behaviour. With this, HR officers can make the right decisions,” he said.

Talent insights from the company show that only 200,000 users in the East African region have digital skills, and 60 percent of them come from Kenya. However “64 percent of digital professionals have less than 10 years of experience.”

Mr Brian Anwayi, a HR assistant at Tristar Group, decried how it has been hectic hiring the right person for the right job and retaining employees with the right skills.

“Some candidates are very talented but lack the communication skills to express themselves. Others pretend to be good but end up failing to deliver what they colourfully explained they were good at during the interview,” he lamented.

He mentioned that some employees are very indisciplined to the extent of stealing company property and called for corporates to share employee data regarding ethics to weed out employee impunity.

Barclays bank chief data officer Mr Hartnell Ndungi who traced the evolution of data science warned HR panels against hiring candidates who have very attractive LinkedIn profiles without vetting them.

“Don’t run on hype to hire people. 60 percent of data scientists who turned up for my interviews run on the hype of Big Data. They were unable to deliver the job obligations.

“Extremely good employees are very expensive. As you hire, it is wise you give candidates real life scenarios and problems to solve to avoid employing people who get raw information from the web,” he advised.

He expounded on the need for corporates to scale up employees through internal training, using either decentralised, centralised or federated modes of on-the-job training.

“HR professionals must be the first employees to take up data science courses. They should be able to use data to understand what drives productivity, why employees resign and whether you really need to hire once someone leaves,” said the expert who has been in the industry for 11 years.

Cultural intelligence coach Ms Mary Waceke said it is just the right time for Kenya’s youth population to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“The skills they learn in campus are not enough. The job market is changing so fast and the youth need to get more skills in emerging technologies,” she said.

Most companies and startups, she advised, are nowadays looking for employees on LinkedIn and young professionals need to position themselves on the platform for employers.

In a recent study, Kenyans have been ranked the most careless on social media in Africa, for posting insensitive and inaccurate information.

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