One of the great developments in recent years has been advanced analytical tools and dashboards. According to analyst Josh Bersin, the percentage of organizations using people data to correlate and predict business performance has more than doubled from 2015 to 2016.
In our own 2017 Talent Trends survey, 63% of C-suite and human capital leaders say they are investing in analytics at moderate to significant levels — the highest percentage among all technologies they were asked about. Nearly 3 in 4 employers (72%) say the ability to analyze internal and external employee data plays a critical role in sourcing, attracting, engaging and retaining talent.
Seeing more of your colleagues invest in analytics is good news. The marketplace has been slowly maturing, but over the past few years, there has been a boost in momentum. As human capital leaders get better insights out of their data, they further accelerate development in this area. Already, a number of businesses are reporting successful analytics utilization.
For example, Human Resource Executive recently profiled a 13-month program by Taco Bell to study turnover among its 20,000 workers. By examining business performance and workforce data, the fast-food chain was able to determine the chief reasons why it lost so many of its workers. After discovering that work schedules were one of the key culprits, the company changed the way it scheduled its core group of workers.
For our clients, analytics are helping to guide hiring strategies. For instance, whether early milestones are reached for a requisition can indicate the likelihood of placement. Using historical data, we can also determine how quickly roles can be filled for specific locations and times of the year. These metrics help the employer plan and react to market forces.
In particular, we use our TalentRadar analytics platform for one global diversified client to predict if certain roles take longer to fill than the company average, causing an adverse impact on the business. This provides the holistic intelligence needed to adapt talent strategy accordingly. For example, with these insights, the company may consider filling roles with contingent talent as full-time equivalent hires are sought.
Success stories like these are driving more companies to consider what workforce analytics can do for their business, and increased demand is driving greater innovation. In just the past decade, we’ve witnessed the evolution from reactive operational reporting to trend analysis, to integrated platforms, to predictive and prescriptive solutions.
Predictive and prescriptive capabilities are one of the most exciting aspects of today’s analytics technology. Some platforms can recommend the training employees will need and predict how long workers will stay in a certain role. One vendor’s solution may recommend job changes for employees to achieve better performance results. Others may examine email habits to predict sales effectiveness or security leaks. The possibilities are limitless.
Which brings us to a critical point about analytics — analytics should sit at the heart of your human capital technology ecosystem. Whether it’s learning and development, talent acquisition or compensation planning, the benefit of analytics to these functions is irrefutable. By building your technology stack on top of an analytics platform, you’ll get a 360-degree view of what’s happening with your workforce now, while gaining the advantage of better predicting what’s ahead.
At the same time, it’s important to understand that analytics technology, in and of itself, is not the total solution. Ultimately, it is humans who will decide what data matters to the business and what to do with the intelligence provided by the technology.
You may need to bring on expertise in application and integration, for example. We also see many HR functions adding digital specialists and data scientists to their ranks to get the support that’s needed. Organizations without much experience in people analytics may find this intimidating, but it shouldn’t stop you from taking the first step.
Want to learn more about how your peers view and are using talent analytics? Begin by exploring findings from our Talent Trends Quarterly Q3 2017 Report — technology & the new frontier of talent.