I’m looking forward to joining my colleagues Dennis Hirsch and Jay Levine for a roundtable discussion of “Big data, data analytics and the law: What your company needs to know about the next big thing” on May 13. Here is a glimpse into what I plan to talk about from the employment lawyer’s perspective:
Even if we don’t know exactly how big data works, we know what it can do for us in our daily lives. Movie suggestions on Netflix. Targeted coupons at the grocery store. Cheap airfare and hotel rates. Facebook suggestions of people we may know. There is a certain creepiness to all of this but many (most?) of us seem willing to overlook it for the convenience and opportunities it provides.
Human resources departments now are figuring out how to use big data in the workplace. LinkedIn was one of the first businesses to recognize the value that data held for employers. At its most basic level, LinkedIn can steer its individual members to potentially attractive jobs that fit their profile and, for recruiters, it provides a rich database of candidates, including people who aren’t even looking for a new job. But there are a lot more than just recruiting opportunities. Companies like Knack now promote tests like Wasabi Waiter and Dungeon Scrawl that it claims will reveal job applicants’ talents, traits and skills to permit employers to identify the best candidate for their needs. JP Morgan Chase apparently has developed software that analyzes its own employees’ data to try to identify which ones are most likely to “go rogue,” so it has time to stop them before they do.
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