There are few buzzwords more commonly heard these days than “big data” (okay, maybe “millennials”). The promise and hype of big data has led companies to believe virtually any question about their customers – or employees in the case of HR – can now be answered with enough data mining and analysis.

The problem? While data can be tremendously useful for improving business functions like corporate relocation, too many companies focus on the “big” and not the “data,” going down a seemingly endless rabbit hole.

Too much data

According to an IBM study, 90% of all the data in the world has been created in the past two years, with people generating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. (That’s 2.5 billion gigabytes, enough to fill 78.1 million base-model iPhones.) The amount of data captured every day, frankly, is too vast to comprehend, and few companies are collecting, analyzing and securing it all in an efficient manner.

What are your goals?

The best way to make your data efforts manageable is to start with your company or department’s goals that your relocation strategies support. This, in turn, will help you determine the data specific to those goals you should capture and analyze. 

For example, if there’s a company goal to increase efficiency and productivity, you could start with minimizing the time spent reviewing exceptions to your company’s relocation policy. To do so, you could track those requests throughout the year and identify the most common ones, along with the amount of time your HR department spends on them. While there might be a cost to adding these benefits, it could ultimately save money by improving productivity, as well as making your relocation package more competitive within your industry.

There are other common issues like failed assignments, retention rates and recruitment success that a simple data strategy can help address. If you’re not sure how your relocation efforts relate to your company’s overarching goals, this could be a great opportunity to meet with leadership to make sure they are aligned.

How to share the data?

Many executives prefer to make decisions based on data, but that doesn’t mean they want a 20-page report of numbers and charts. They are far more likely to understand and recall your findings and recommendations when the data is “translated” into a visual like a graph or infographic. One study shows that people only remember 20% of text without a visual. Here are some quick and easy sites to help with data visualization.

You don’t need to be a data scientist to apply “big data” to your relocation efforts. Start small, and slowly use key metrics to help refine your strategies. If you’re not sure which data is relevant to your company’s goals, we’d be happy to help!