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‘Big data’ is a buzzword that has steadily gained in popularity over the past decade. It describes the vast amounts of information that are generated by organisations on a daily basis. With an increasing awareness of the power of ‘big data’, organisations have started to realise that actively harnessing this information and analysing the results yields high value, strategic insights.
Small and large-scale data analytics programmes have become commonplace in organisations around the world. Modern finance, marketing and sales departments rely on the use of facts, figures and graphs to project future profit margins, measure product reach and manage business expenses.
Can the same be said for the field of HR?
Computers and the internet have drastically changed the face of Human Resources, from online assessments to leave tracking to automated report writing. However, one area that is often neglected in this field is data mining and analytics.
Data mining is the practice of actively gathering and harnessing available data for the purposes of analysis. Information is often scattered across functions, mediums and software programmes. Mining this information means ensuring that it is captured in one central database.
Applying data analytics and visualisation to each stage of the talent management lifecycle yields enormous benefits. With modern day talent analytics, the options and applications are endless. The vast value of these insights lead to an organisation that is adaptable and boasts a distinct competitive advantage.
Below is an example of some of the most relevant applications of talent analytics:
Consider the numerous decisions that form part of a talent management strategy. Then consider the fact that HR often needs to ‘sell’ this strategy to other areas of the business. Data analytics, estimates and predictions can form the basis of crucial decisions, and the results can be presented to the organisation’s executives to ensure buy-in and co-operation.
Areas of strength, areas of weakness
Research at each stage of the talent management lifecycle can highlight areas that need improvement, before they become an issue. For example, in the case of turnover, past data can be used to predict the reasons why employees leave. This information can be applied to future retention strategies.
Return on investment (ROI)
In other areas of the business, success and continued financial investment often come down to ROI. With the aid of data visualisation, talent management programmes, strategies and initiatives can be tracked and their impact measured. ROI can be estimated or calculated, depending on the quality of information available. This strategic information is crucial to evaluate whether to continue with the initiative/strategy, change the focus or try something else entirely.
Potential and performance
Maintaining a database of employees’ potential and performance, based on objective assessment data, is useful in a number of different ways, including the following:
Holistic data can be harnessed to investigate the makeup of teams and examine each member’s performance, competencies, strengths and motivators. With teamwork as one of the hallmarks of the modern organisation, actively shaping the dynamics of the team can lead to higher engagement, motivation, cohesiveness and ultimately performance.
The effectiveness of different recruitment methods can be compared by looking at the rate of response from various sources, e.g. job boards, recruitment agencies and LinkedIn. The quality of candidates from these various sources can also be assessed to determine the most high-value approach when attracting and hiring top talent.
Large-scale training interventions are extremely costly. Therefore, having a streamlined training approach is extremely beneficial. So too is measuring the impact of the training in order to ensure that the organisation is making a wise investment. Participation, enjoyment and learning milestones are all elements that can be tracked, as well as the all-important final step: are employees applying what they have learned within their jobs?
There are a number of ways to capture, manage and measure data. The use of various approaches are dependent on a number of factors, including whether the organisation has the budget to hire an analyst or purchase software.
When it comes to talent management, it is important to centralise employee lifecycle data in one digital location. One recommendation is investing in an online talent management portal that also offers automated talent analytics. This will take the manual labour and guesswork out of the equation, resulting in actionable visualisations and figures at the click of a button.
The bottom line?
Whether you start large or small, with excel or with automated software, just start! Data-driven insights hold the key to better talent attraction, retention and performance. With human capital playing such a crucial role in organisations, talent analytics are a crucial part of the future competitive success of the company.