From acquisition to exit: What data can reveal about talent

Organisations that use talent analytics can drastically improve the way they identify, develop and retain talent

Updated: Jan 7, 2019 03:33:27 PM UTC

SV Nathan is the Partner and Chief Talent Officer at Deloitte India.

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

A Harvard Business Review (HBR) study says that talent analytics is defined as “the use of data about human behaviour, relationships, and traits to make business decisions”.

I got interested in analytics when an intern once asked me, “Do you know that often if a new hire crosses the 289-day mark, they are likely to stay with us for three years?” It got me thinking. It could be useful to identify those near this benchmark and do regular check-ins with them. That could increase their happiness and tenure. It worked.

As per Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, online tools are making finding jobs and reviewing workplaces easier. People data is enabling organisations to map trends. Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics are opening exciting new capabilities for human resources (HR), by enabling the collection of more productive data.

As per a Korn Ferry report, one study found that companies with talent management reporting and analytics capacities achieved an increase of 11 percent or more in profits and a 6 percent improvement in per-employee revenue, including being twice as likely to improve their recruiting and leadership pipeline, three times as likely to realise cost or efficiency gains, and 3.5 times as likely to get the right people in the right jobs.


Talent acquisition
Talent analytics has become a critical ingredient of high-performance hiring: » Historical data can be compared with data of candidates to form trends on the best fit in just a matter of minutes.
» Data-driven tools can assess a candidate’s honesty and personality through hiring software.
» Analytics can reveal about the diversity ratio in one’s firm.
» It can also help in identifying challenges within the recruitment process. If one can identify the stage at which candidates drop out of the pipeline, it can become easier to understand the “why” behind it. For example, a complicated application form may be resulting in candidates failing to submit their job applications.

Training and Development
Analytics indicate whether a particular training yields return on investment and help develop programs based on real time feedback and employee inputs:
» By accessing cloud-based tools, HR can view real-time updates and adapt training methods, even for remote employees.
» HR refers to discussions with business leadership to identify top talent, which maybe flawed with human bias. Data analytics can disrupt this process and yield several potential top performers at one go.
» The most coveted mobility paths leading to higher retention can be identified and benchmarked with industry.

Employee engagement
Talent analytics these days can also be dubbed as ”company’s ears”, as they “listen” to differing employee voices and using talent analytics to analyse the well-being of its employees.
» Anonymous and short pulse surveys can reveal the overall health of the organisation. Instead of relying on a long drawn annual survey, these surveys can quickly gauge the pulse of employees on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis and initiate next steps quickly.
» Some organisations have started using electronic badges to capture the employee mood by analysing the length of their conversations, tone, and whether they show empathy, or interrupt others regularly.

Performance management
As per the Deloitte’s 2018 Human Capital trends report, advanced analytics can “analyse employee performance to identify management challenges, send coaching tips to different leaders, and identify key knowledge management resources, subject-matter experts, and organisational influencers”. Thus, big data in performance management can positively contribute to organisational performance by delivering business value.

Exit and alumni management
New age talent analytics can make organisations understand the reasons of attrition beyond the traditional scope of tenure, location and gender.
» Correlating large sets of disparate data companies can manage costs while retaining the top talent.
» Analytics can reveal data points to show career trajectory after employees move out and  tap into this pipeline as boomerang hires.

While talent analytics can help organisations unlock the power of data, organisations need to ensure the following:
» The quality of people data in the systems should be accurate and clean. Job titles, or salaries in different currencies should be consistently standardised across data sets.
» Governance systems must be put in place to protect employee privacy and ensure data security.
» Transparency should be maintained throughout the organisation, especially if there are plans to use data from employee badges and sensors.

Thus, talent analytics will make HR of the future more evidence based and data driven.

The author is Partner and Chief Talent Officer at Deloitte India.

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