The economic downturn has created a window of opportunity for organisations to put in place relevant HR metrics, according to a recent report from the Bernard Hodes Group.
Installing relevant metrics into talent processes can be difficult when business is running at full-steam, so HR should now learn about the business, what role talent plays and then use what is learned to measure talent processes, said Jeremy Shapiro, senior vice president of the Bernard Hodes Group.
“You should also understand what executives want and measure that too. Take succession planning for example – it isn’t just about filling a position, it’s also about knowledge management,” he said.
The report, Top Ten Talent Management Tips for 2009, said that for many organisations the problem is not getting the data in the first place, but rather drawing the right conclusions from it.
Carmen Doherty, senior director for the Bernard Hodes Group, gave an example of one client who wanted to compare how posting on one job board had performed from one year to the next.
“Just by looking at the numbers, the results seemed awful,” she said.
“But when you analysed the jobs they were posting, you could see they were sourcing very targeted, high-level, experienced candidates. In reality, the client was actually getting more hires, but much less traffic.”
The report said that investing in people who can interpret these numbers correctly will help maximise the value of sourcing tools and maintain a focus on the correct metrics.
The report also recommended HR professionals remind management that top talent is never cheap.
It may be tempting to use the recession to look for ‘bargains’ in a job market that is flooded with candidates, but the report cautioned against this approach.
“Even if you can acquire an ‘A’ player at a much lower rate today, you will lose them when things pick up and they find a position with a much higher salary,” Shapiro said.
“Paying a fair market wage for your top talent is still the best long-term strategy.”
Dwaine Maltais, Bernard Hodes Group’s senior vice president for e-recruiting solutions, said that playing ‘money ball’ with candidates is a short-term tactic.
“A smart investor is not a short-term investor because talent is not a short-term investment,” said Maltais.
“Especially in strategic roles, turnover is quite expensive. You might be able to buy top talent at a bargain price today, but you won’t see a return on that savings because that person will be gone when the cycle turns and more opportunities become available.”