Out with the rearview mirror; time to forecast the future

by Iain Hopkins19 Mar 2012

The new era of talent analytics will be predictive rather than prescriptive, and will be used for national and international benchmarking of HR practices, leading HR professionals have told Human Capital.

Alec Bashinsky, national partner, people and performance at Deloitte, told HC that he believes HR will only become sustainable by focusing on data and metrics, in the same way that other business divisions look at data-driven insights before making decisions.

“The HR industry has to make better use of people data,” Bashinsky said. “We spend a lot of time as an organisation assessing our metrics but I’m not referring to past tense, I mean looking at future trends. What’s happening in certain workforce areas, how do our people want to work and how can we build organisations to support that?”

His words were echoed at a conference by SHL in Sydney last week, where HR professionals from organisations as diverse as Macquarie Bank and Air Services Australia spoke of their growing reliance on data-driven insights into their talent to make critical business decisions.

“Prescriptive analytics will get you so far,” said Eugene Burke, chief science analytics officer at SHL. “HR need better data that’s going to tell them about what happens tomorrow, not what happened yesterday.”

Burke said that HR is too reliant on ensuring processes are working efficiently – for example, that recruitment quotas are being met, and ensuring there is a clear map of existing talent in the organisation.

“Cost of hire and time to hire are efficiency metrics, the benchmarks for efficiency, but you might have the most efficient method, the most efficient process, but it’s not actually delivering the talent that you need,” he said.

Talent analytics provides answers to key HR challenges – from the effectiveness of recruitment and employee development strategies through to insights on current on-the-job employee performance and management and leadership potential. Industry and regional comparisons can also reveal how workforces stack up against the competition.

Part of this is looking at the potential of existing employees, but this too is rooted in lag analytics: what an employee’s past experience has been, what qualifications they have, etc.

“They tell you what the person has learnt to this point but not necessarily what they can do with that or what they can learn in the future,” said Burke.

The real question, Burke noted, was if employees show potential, how do organisations engage them? “I think there’s a talent sweet spot. If we’ve got the right potential and we can engage them in the right way, we’re in that top right-hand corner [of the performance vs potential matrix] where we want to be.”

Burke urged HR professionals to transform the way they look at and interpret the data they already often have at their fingertips, gathered from the recruitment process, from 360-degree reviews and other sources.

“You’re not extracting the best information from that data. It’s not a ‘use once, throw away’ kind of piece. You can use that data in a more aggregated way to get a much better picture of the people profile. Don’t just transact with it, use it in some way to answer those questions.”


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  • by TalentAnalytics.com 20/03/2012 3:35:06 AM

    Awesome article! It's so important to be able to reuse people analytics outside of HR. Send your analytics to finance, ops, etc to be analyzed in conjunction with enterprise performance data.

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