"Data Analytics And AI Together Can Assist HR leaders In Connecting With The Right People," Deepa Singhal

Oracle's recent Decision Dilemma study finds that people are feeling overwhelmed and underqualified to use data to make decisions, which is affecting their quality of life and business performance


This conversation with  Deepa Param Singhal, Vice President Applications, Oracle India talks about how data overload is impacting business leaders and employees creating obstacles for career growth and stifling potential success for HR leaders. 

Further, Deepa has also shared some key HR insights from the study with focus on how relevant insights and data management can assist CHROs and the key HR processes data is enhancing for business – quoting data from both business leaders and employees. 

1. The amount of data that HR leaders and employees have to deal with has grown rapidly in recent years, increasing the problem associated with decision-making. How do you envision data overload affecting the way HR leaders and employees make choices when they are bombarded with more data from more sources than ever before?

Data-related conversations have grown significantly in recent years. Data has two perspectives. One of them is the benefits it provides to businesses and leaders in the form of insights, predictions and forecasts. However, at the same time because of digitisation and rising internet adoption, there is a data deluge concern. We recently commissioned the 'Decision Dilemma' survey, which included 14,000 respondents, both business leaders and employees, including 1000 in India, to study the impact of data on decision-making. The findings highlighted that in India, 91 per cent of people say the number of decisions they make every day has increased 10x over the last three years and as they try to make these decisions, 90 per cent are getting bombarded with more data from more sources than ever before.

As this data overload rises, HR leaders and employees have unique challenges, they have to now navigate through mountains of data to make decisions. For CHROs, these decisions may pertain to workforce management, employing talent, measuring performance, upskilling in accordance with industry requirements, and so on. Employees may face dilemmas with day-to-day operations related to their job tasks, career growth and skilling decisions, and much more.

2. According to the study, what are some of the key challenges for business leaders and employees when dealing with data?

Our Decision Dilemma study discovered that people are feeling overwhelmed and underqualified to use data to make decisions, which is affecting their quality of life and business performance. Further, in India 92 per cent say the volume of data is making decisions in their personal and professional lives much more complicated and 69 per cent admit they face a decision dilemma – not knowing what decision to make – more than once every single day.

The study additionally revealed some concerning findings around the growing lack of trust in data, 82 per cent admit the sheer volume of data and their lack of trust in data has stopped them from making any decision at all and 94 per cent believe the growing number of data sources has limited the success of their organisations. In terms of making decisions, 90 per cent of business leaders say people often make decisions and then look for the data to justify them, 90 percent of employees believe businesses often put the highest-paid person’s opinion ahead of data, and 11 per cent feel that most decisions made in business are not rational.

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3. Speaking specifically about HR operations, elaborate on some of the study's key findings addressing how appropriate data insights and effective data management can aid CHROs.

Given the dynamic corporate environments and data overload, the number of decisions that professionals must make has expanded considerably in recent years. 91% of people say the number of decisions they make every day has increased 10x over the last three years and as they try to make these decisions. According to the study, business leaders believe that having access to the right information and insights can help them make better decisions. A staggering 99% of business leaders believe that having access to the right data and insights can help them make better HR decisions. These HR decisions include how to increase team performance and efficiency (50 per cent), how to improve team performance and efficiency (52 per cent), and how to prioritise training and development activities (51 per cent), how to retain and engage people (38 per cent), what skills are available in the workforce (44%), how to improve DE&I (43 per cent), who to hire (29 per cent), how to align headcount and budget requirements (36%) and how to enable internal mobility (39 per cent).

4. In what ways do you envisage technology supporting CHROs with data management and decision-making?

Technology is assisting CHROs in successfully managing data and making better judgements. In essence, the relevance of human intelligence in business operations, particularly HR processes, will continue to be significant. However, technology will work alongside CHROs to help navigate through the data overload and effectively manage data. It can assist CHROs in making data-driven HR decisions across hiring, retention, training, and workforce management. According to our study, 85 per cent of Indian respondents would prefer to have a robot make their decisions – More business leaders (88 per cent) than employees (82 per cent). Additionally, 97 per cent of Indian respondents believe that a company that uses technology to make data-driven decisions is more trustworthy. Indians feel that an organisation that uses technology to make data-driven decisions is more trustworthy (97 per cent), will be more successful (97 per cent), and is an organisation that they are more inclined to invest in (95 per cent), collaborate with (94%), and work for (96 per cent).

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5. How do intelligent technologies like AI/ML help HR leaders and employees with data management and analytics?

With challenges such as economic uncertainty, workforce disruptions, and data deluge, incorporating modern technology such as AI, ML, and Analytics, along with a solid Cloud foundation, has provided CHROs across industries with much-needed flexibility, better resource allocation, and automation support. This eventually provides HR professionals and companies with a competitive advantage in effectively managing existing workforce and attracting new talent. We see organisations replacing old HR frameworks and automated internal processes with the use of Cloud-based solutions, minimizing the pain of manual recordkeeping and data management. Furthermore, when incorporated in the cloud native HR solutions, AI/ML and Analytics give multifaceted benefits to organisations by delivering data-driven insights for effective workforce management, resource allocation, cost reduction, and productivity.

6. How can data analytics help CHROs with functions like hiring, retaining, and upskilling employees?

Data analytics can fundamentally assist CHROs in anticipating aspects that they would not have been able to anticipate amid the data deluge and manual processes. It facilitates visibility into the complete business operations, personnel requirements, and industry trends, allowing CHROs to make more informed decisions. In the case of hiring, for example, Data Analytics and AI may assist HR leaders in connecting with the right people for the suitable job opening while navigating through applications and data overload. Similarly, in terms of keeping people, HR analytics may assist managers and HR executives in generating insights and projections for activities such as employee productivity, task management, upskilling, and training, hence enhancing overall employee engagement.

7. How does Oracle incorporate data management technologies into its HR portfolio offerings? What data analytics and management capabilities do Oracle HCM solutions include?

Oracle keeps ‘Data’ at the center of all our offerings incorporating Analytics, AI and ML into all our solutions. We are continually working to offer more capabilities to assist company leaders in the face of rapidly changing market circumstances. Oracle Cloud HCM is a comprehensive solution that connects every human resource process from hire through retirement. HR teams can have access to a single source of truth to assist inform their people strategy by linking all employee data on a single platform. Built-in AI functions as a consultant, analysing workforce data and surfacing ideas to assist HR departments in improving business operations.

We have recently launched 'Oracle Grow' as part of our Oracle ME platform, a new AI-powered solution that connects learning, skills development, and career mobility in a personalised experience to deliver self-directed learning, visibility into career growth opportunities, and skills development aligned with business goals. Oracle Grow provides employees with an accurate representation of the skills required to grow in their present role, emphasises potential opportunities from learning new skills, and identifies viable career paths. In a single interface, the new AI-powered solution provides personalised insights and intelligent coaching across all interactions from Oracle Learning, Oracle Dynamic Skills, and Oracle Talent Management.

8. The talent gap and upskilling problems are two major concerns for CHROs in India. How do you think effective data management can help CHROs overcome these challenges?

In today's world, talent management is multifaceted, since employees evaluate their relationship with an employer based on more than simply income and perks. They are primarily concerned with overall development, which also includes consistent upskilling and career advancement. Similarly, CHROs are responsible for ensuring that the right talent is hired for the proper positions and that employees have adequate opportunity for skill and career development.

HR analytics and data management can aid CHROs by giving comprehensive insights, forecasts, and recommendations. Similarly, features like charts and dashboards can assist CHROs in gaining comprehensive visibility of data coming from systems. Furthermore, with these functionalities, CHROs can simply access and handle data on a single integrated platform without relying on Data Scientists or IT professionals to carry out day-to-day HR operations and make data-driven decisions, thus overcoming the dilemma.

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