The Future of Talent Analytics

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By embracing big data, HR can deliver talent insights that can add value to business strategies – and grow its presence in the boardroom.

The search for talent has never been more frustrating, as employers struggle to source candidates with the right skills, experience and persona. Placing the right candidate in a role can help an organisation gain a competitive edge, and HR’s role in this is vital.

So, if HR’s role in talent acquisition is so business-critical, why are there still so few HR professionals in the boardroom? The answer could lie in how they use metrics.

Many HR strategies involve trying to improve the talent acquisition process by measuring and analysing key metrics including time to hire, the length of each recruitment stage, acceptance rate and average cost per hire. Access to this data can help HR review the effectiveness and efficiency of existing processes, highlighting where potential problems lie. However, looking at these metrics does not deliver solutions.

What’s more, this approach is retrospective, looking at what’s been done rather than what’s to come. This provides limited scope for corrective action or valuable insight that can be used for forward planning. It means that HR is offering little in terms of directing business strategy or boardroom thinking, which could help to explain why HR professionals have yet to make significant waves in the C-suite.

Without the ability to carry out accurate HR forecasting and develop a strategy that can predict demand and suggest ways to engage with target talent segments, companies will suffer. Smart HR leaders know something needs to be done and are harnessing the power of big data to find the answers, something the profession has yet to leverage effectively.

For example, a small rise in the cost of living can destabilise your workforce. Say, for example, by drawing on multiple data sources, you find out that in six months’ time key staff will be in the lower quartile of the average salary for their position, while rising inflation is shrinking their disposable income. This should prompt action to prevent rivals from enticing critical employees away with better remuneration packages.

Where to look

Data can come from both inside and outside the business. Some can be found quickly and easily – for example, you can compare the demographic profile of your workforce across various skill sets with the types of roles your competitors are looking for, and the available pool of candidates. This can be analysed to establish the level of competition for key skills and the talent available. Business and sector growth forecasts can also be factored in to provide an indication of future demand for talent, which can be compared with the rate of recruitment.

Other useful sources include general workforce demographic data. This comes in two kinds: real-time and strategic. The former is available in various indices from the Office of National Statistics and local authorities, relating to the spread of the workforce, overall working populations and under-represented groups, while the latter includes data such as long-term population changes. This can be broken down into regions, working ages, skills demographics, and information on school, college and further education leavers to assess the types of candidates entering the job market.

Analysed in the right way, this data can drive valuable actionable insight that companies can build into their future strategies, so they can plan where critical investment needs to be made.

Already analysing customer data

Many organisations track down and examine customer segmentation data to understand buying behaviour, and investment is often ploughed into recruiting the best marketing data analysts.

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