talent analytics: a mindset for results

October 6, 2015 Jason Roberts

harnessing the power of data can be achieved with the right resources

With a practical approach to analytics, organizations can develop the data-driven intelligence to find talent more quickly, predict recruiting performance, improve quality of talent, and connect talent acquisition to core business performance. It is a tremendous advantage in a competitive global marketplace, but what does it take to make it work? With all the data and great technology available today, why do companies struggle to put that information to work in a meaningful way?

To a large degree, the answer is about mindset. Analytics is about data and technology, but it’s also about having a well-considered strategy. The experience of organizations that have successfully applied analytics to drive recruiting operations points to several keys to success.

need for context.
Data without context means nothing. In many cases, organizations are tracking traditional items such as time-to-fill, or volume of candidates in various parts of the funnel, and they may react to positive or negative variations in performance with little understanding of what that really means.

For example, if you found out that a recruiting organization filled 35 requisitions for a particular company last month, what would you think?

If you knew that the same organization filled 30 requisitions the previous month, it becomes clear that there is an upward trajectory: 35 is good. If we add that the target communicated to internal customers was 40, the picture would be further clarified to say that even though we are making progress, we are not quite there yet.

The mindset here is to think of comparisons we can make to determine how to judge current performance and improve in the future. What other parts of the process relate to this particular data?

the purpose of measuring
It is important to understand not only “what” you are measuring, but also “why.” Operational analytics are very important. They are concerned with tracking the activity within the process. For example, with knowledge of how many calls a sourcer needs to make to add a certain number of candidates to the funnel, a company can adjust timelines and expectations based on hard data, or it can pinpoint issues as soon as they arise. This is a great problem-solving function of analytics.

Analytics can also address business outcomes. For example, consider a company that sets out to hire a staff of factory workers making widgets. We can focus on time-to-fill and completion of fills as normal recruiting metrics. The business outcome-based metric is the time it takes to open a new shift to produce more widgets. This data links talent to business strategy. With a robust analytics capability in place, it is an area where the talent organization can add considerable strategic value to a company.

In addition to context and strategic orientation, an effective strategy must push towards the real premise of today’s innovations: an ability to predict. Predictive analytics gives companies the ability to not only identify and correct issues that happen today but also steer away from new issues before they arise. It’s tempting to describe predictive analytics as a “crystal ball," but that would be inaccurate. Predictive analytics may be complex, but it is not mysterious, and it is very real.

Given the innovations in talent analytics today, organizations have great flexibility in applying data to address their particular needs. In many ways, the human factor (i.e., the mindset and expertise) is as critical as the available technology in translating data into actionable intelligence. The combination of mathematical expertise in statistical analysis, application programming, recruiting, and business strategy is not likely to be supported by an in-house talent function.

A growing number of organizations are realizing that the resources are available to put the pieces together. By leveraging a partner with these specialized skills, they can help them turn the potential for greater insights into a reality. Whether leveraging the resources of a consulting organization or recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) expert, a focused strategy can bring the promise of analytics to life. It is an approach that is good for the recruiting function and great for the business.

About the Author

Jason Roberts

Jason is a leading authority on HR analytics and systems with more than 15 years of experience using big data to drive recruitment strategies for Fortune 500 companies. Using data to drive business strategy and outcomes, Jason has led Randstad Sourceright to provide clients unparalleled insights into their operations.

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