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Digital transformation and big data in HR and employee benefits

“When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.”

– George Westerman

Principal Research Scientist with the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy

Digital transformation. It sounds incredibly complicated and involved. When in reality, it’s a cultural change to your business, designed to simplify processes and free up time. Put simply:

Digital transformation is a state of mind and a way of working. But not just as a team, on an organizational level. It’s a holistic approach. Driven by leaders and championed by everyone from newbies to the old school. It is about learning and knowledge transfer. Ultimately, something that helps everyone by encouraging synergy.

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As HR and employee benefits professionals, you know only too well how time consuming some of your daily or monthly tasks can be. And although you know they’re important to get done, more than likely you resent them from holding you back from the aspects of your job that you enjoy.

HR digital transformation is process of adopting digital human resource tools and strategies to improve the employee experience and enhance operational performance through data-driven, automated practices.

Did you know: you could save between 7-12% of administration time by automating processes. Examples of this could include:

  • Onboarding software
  • HR chatbots
  • AI-driven recruitment tools
  • Training on demand
  • People analytics

But what technologies are required to drive a digital transformation?

#1 Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI), put simply is programming that allows computers to replicate processes that people can do. For example, you’ll most likely be familiar with Siri and Alexa, and Tesla’s self-driving cars.

#2 Machine Learning

Machine Learning (ML) is another type of AI but focussed more on the use of data and algorithms to imitate how people learn, thus improving over time.

#3 Big Data

Edureka! defines Big Data as

A collection of large and complex, data sets that are difficult to store and process using traditional database management and processing applications. The challenge includes capturing, curating, storing, searching, sharing, transferring, analysing and visualisation of this data.

Big Data: the 5 Vs - Volume, Variety, Value, Velocity, Veracity

Moreover, talend describes the important part it plays in HR analytics as:

Leveraging big data with HR data analytics can help inform and improve almost every area of HR, including recruitment, training, development, performance, and compensation. By using big data, HR managers can make smarter decisions and help an organisation meet its goals more efficiently.

How does AI, ML and Big Data work together, and why do you need it?

Big question. Even bigger benefits. When used effectively, you can utilise digital transformation to help with the following:

  • Attracting the best talent by filtering through CVs to find the most promising and suitable candidates.
  • Improve your employee retention by analysing reasons why employees leave your business, and flag those who could potentially be at risk of resignation.
  • Boost employee engagement and motivation by identifying your top performing talent, enabling you to reward them as you see appropriate.
  • Identifying patterns in sick leave, and therefore allowing you to consider solutions, such as wellbeing days, vaccination vouchers, and provisions for holistic healthcare in your employee benefits.


You’ll no doubt hear a lot more chatter about all things digital transformation, AI, machine learning and big data in years to come. Making sure that you get things right from the moment you implement them goes a long way to proving their return.

Digital transformation is a company-wide culture change, so getting stakeholders on board and aligned with a shared vision will be the important first step. When it comes to the improvements and potential it has for HR and people management, it’s important to set goals. Ideas like those above are just starting points for you to consider.

In the meantime, having an employee benefits system in place that makes your life easier is a steppingstone to future success. FlexGenius has been built with you in mind, with intuitive tools and dashboards that are easy to use.

If you’d like to book a demo of our first-class software, get in touch to find out how we can help.