Search Our Site

We have 3,784,840 registered online learners.
3 new learners so far today.

Big data holds key to understanding workplace culture

schedule 1st June 2015 by Virtual College in Virtual College Last updated on 7th July 2016

Big data can help businesses to identify and fix workplace culture issues, but many professionals hold back from taking responsibility, according to businesswoman and author Rahaf Harfous.

Speaking at HR Forum onboard the Arcadia, Ms Harfous said: "We’re living in an age today where data has become every single person’s responsibility.

"It is no longer a technology issue. It is no longer simply an IT issue. It has become a leadership issue, it’s a strategic issue and it’s a people issue."

While conducting research for the book The Decoded Company, Ms Harfous and her co-authors identified a number of benefits that businesses using data to understand and engineer workplace culture have experienced.

Taking search giant Google as an example, she explained that the company carried out a big data project in order to reveal what makes a good manager. It was found that good coaching was the most valued trait for a manager to possess, while strong technical skills were viewed as the least important.

Following the findings, Google went on to amend its recruitment policies and development programmes.

Ms Harfous continued by explaining that a true understanding of culture can contribute towards overcoming skills shortages, after Manpower Group’s 2015 Talent Shortage Survey revealed that 38 of employers worldwide struggled to fill vacancies - up from 36 per cent last year.

What's more, Ms Harfous' research found that data can help to boost targeted learning and development since it can be used to specially tailor a programme to meet certain needs and learning styles, as well as pinpoint where an employee needs guidance.

"Thanks to data and thanks to analytics, we have the ability to deliver customised processes to our organisations," she concluded.

Virtual College is one of the leading providers of e-learning in the UK. Our People Manager’s Toolkit is a suite of 20 online leadership courses aimed at helping people achieve their full potential in carrying out a managerial role. For more information, please visit:

Virtual College Logo

Author: Virtual College

The latest training news brought to you by Virtual College. We create innovative digital learning experiences that inspire people to develop the skills they need to thrive in their careers; enhancing and enriching the organisations they work in. For 24 years, we have been developing and supplying collaborative, customer-focused e-learning technology for organisations world-wide.

ISO 9001:2015
Crown Commercial Service Supplier
LPI Accredited Learning Technologies Provider


+44 (0)1943 605 976

Virtual College

Marsel House


West Yorkshire

LS29 8DD

Awards for footer
Gold and silver award winners at the Learning Technologies Awards 2017 - including gold for excellence in the design of learning content.


We are in the process of moving to one Virtual College website. If you want to go back to a course, or start a course, bought from our old website then you may need to login to our original learning management system. Otherwise, please proceed to our new learning management system to return to your training.


You are already logged in. Click the button below to be taken to your LMS dashboard. Alternatively, click logout to leave the system.