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Having the ability to process complex information and consistently come to the right decision by reason, calculation and logic is sadly a skill that few people have.

This is where the field of Decision Science comes in. A tool whose importance should not be underestimated, especially to organizations that collect or use data of value.

What is it?
Like most buzzwords, many people only have a vague idea of what it actually means.

In essence, Decision Science takes the guesswork out of making decisions relating to the finding, hiring and retaining of employees. It does this by using objective data rather than hunches to drive the decision-making process. Through a combination of computer power and the application of math and technology it systematically identifies risks as well as rewards and more importantly comes to logical conclusions.

It’s an expanding area of science that is different from machine learning and artificial intelligence, and instead uses scientific algorithms, methods and techniques to create hypothesis, runs tests and then translate these into results.

At its core Data Science uses data to come to conclusions, meaning that more data equals better decisions.

It removes things like emotion and ego from the process of calculating scenarios and uncertainties for all possible outcomes. By providing a unique framework for making optimal choices based on available information, it can assist both individuals and departments to make evidence based decisions.

A wide range of public and private sector organisations use its advanced analytical techniques, related to real-life business and management scenarios, to solve critical problems.

Decision Science and HR
The question is, how can data science help HR departments to work more efficiently?

Well, let’s look at the problem. Companies are increasingly using and collecting larger and more complex amounts of data. In recent years there has been a data explosion of increased candidate applications and a more urgent need to process and interpret this information at all levels of a business.

Recruiters need to be able to turn this raw data into meaningful material that can be used to better find the right person for the job, retain employees and deal with operational issues. Solving these matters has traditionally been done by human judgment, intuition and experience. With many decisions being made based on feelings, past experiences, habits and preferences.

All of this is now the department of Decision Science. With many believing that it is a better way to decide things. More and more leaders feel it can give companies a real competitive edge when there is a need for information to be intelligently interpreted.

HR Directors can use it to make human capital decisions based on data and not gut instincts. Unlike other applications it does more than just collect, process, and share information about a candidate’s skills and experience. It can also come to evidence-based business decisions by interpreting information, uncovering hidden patterns and finding insights.

The challenges
However, despite all of this, the sad fact is that many recruitment professionals don’t think they require science for decision-making. That is after all what they are paid to do. There are also plenty of other challenges that need to be overcome. There is the skills gap issue and the fact that quite a few organisations do not have the ability to collect reliable data on a scale needed for successful Decision Science implementation.

Additionally, in the long run for HR to become a true decision science, it also needs to more than just analyse facts and numbers. Systems need to take into account staff behaviour at work, labour markets as well as staff recruitment and management.

The future – decisions based on more than just experience
There is no doubt about it, Decision Science can help businesses to make better decisions that are unbiased and data driven. With rapid advancements in technology and innovation leading to a vicious cycle of data overload, it’s now much harder to make the right call. Directors and Executives struggling to make choices using traditional formulas will find this automated system to be a quantum leap from the old to the new. They should look at it positively and not negatively as something that will contribute to the greater health of their company.

The first decision a company needs to make it to whether use it or not, and only they can do that, not a computer.

Iejaz Uddin – Founder and CEO  – Dayjob.com

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