4 ways to win the talent war using big data

The adoption of data-driven insights to inform business decisions is fast becoming the global standard. In an HR environment, where payroll constitutes the largest expense for most businesses, the possibilities for big data to positively influence the bottom line are huge. Yet big data remains under utilised.

Enter talent analytics – the practice of combining workforce data with business data to inform HR decisions. Using analytics to replace gut-feel and 'finger to the wind' predictions about workforce behaviours, can be applied to all aspects of talent management.

Talent analytics enable HR to record these behaviours as lead indicators of future behaviour. Applying analytics, the data confirms which employee behaviours lend themselves to success. This allows hirers to identify existing employees who share these characteristics and source new talent with this criterion in mind.

Big data has already revolutionised how we do business. Here are four fundamental ways analytics can benefit your talent management strategy:

1. An unbiased indicator: the ability to predict performance

It’s the big one for hirers – the ability to predict performance. Which employees will be your over-achievers? Who will under-achieve and, at both ends of the scale, why?

Employees enter a business with a tonne of historical data and they soon amass even more; everything from levels of training and sick leave habits to key performance wins.

2. Pipelines and pathways management

Managing talent pipelines is akin to playing a game of chess; the strategic shifting of staff to promote talent and meet business needs is both a skill and an art. With analytics, it is now also a science.

Data helps you understand the ‘who and how’ of people migrating within your business. With analytics, you can map the pathways of employees who have successfully moved into leadership positions, and then incentivise the journey for employees on a similar trajectory.

A data-based pipeline-view also enables better succession planning. Analytics can identify the population of staff coming up behind your emerging leaders and the data can highlight any talent gaps that can’t be filled by existing staff.

3. Your place in the market

Benchmarking your business against industry data – from national and global salary reports to data like SEEK’s own employment report – will provide context to your own data, and give you a clearer picture of your competitive strengths in the market.

Smart use of external data can help to identify who you're attracting into the business, who you're losing to competitors and any contributing factors as to why.

4. The big investment

When it comes to analytics, once you have built the model, the methodologies can be used to predict a myriad of other things. That might be the best news of all – the big investment for talent analytics is the initial investment. From there, the data analytics capabilities are as varied as the workforce you will apply them to.

Organisations have much to gain from integrating analytics into the HR function. It might not be the standard yet, but big data tends to revolutionise everything it touches. Making people decisions based on people data stands to benefit any business ready to move from instinct to data-driven insight in their talent management strategy.
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Antony Ugoni


Head of Marketplace Analytics

Antony Ugoni is one of Australia’s leaders in analytics and, in 2013, accepted an opportunity at SEEK to develop the candidate-to-advertisement matching capability. Antony began his career as a Biostatistician to the Alfred Group of Hospitals,...

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