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As labor markets change, and the demand for skills grows, businesses need to work smarter and more strategically to define talent acquisition in a post-Covid world.

A McKinsey report on why talent is critical to business performance highlights the different areas for which talent analytics can provide data-driven solutions: recruitment search and selection, training and development, performance management and rewards programs, shaping the employee experience and optimizing workforce planning.

The Covid Effect

The last 12 months have been transformative for businesses and people across the globe, with unparalleled challenges and new demands placed on employees and business leaders.

Data is now being collected at an unprecedented rate and across a vast range of businesses areas — from health information to employee location. Through these testing times, talent analytics has grown exponentially. Amazon, which recently undertook a massive hiring initiative, employs 1,000 IT staff to work exclusively on HR software.

In the Randstad Sourceright 2021 Talent Trends Report, nearly 1 in 5 (19%) human capital leaders say they have started investing in talent analytics as a direct result of the pandemic, and 90% say they will continue to budget for these data platforms after the pandemic subsides.

Creating a Whole-of-Organization Approach

Just as HR leaders have become even more of a guiding force for organizations through the pandemic, gathering talent analytics has grown beyond simply an HR function.

To get the most from data sources, businesses need to provide talent analytics and digital fluency training to broadly leverage data throughout the organization. The Randstad Sourceright 2021 Talent Trends research reports that almost half of human capital leaders globally expect to provide training around data analytics — a percentage second only to AI when it comes to reskilling goals.

The ability to view and manipulate this data is also viewed as important, with 62% of HR leaders responding that they are earmarking significant budget for tools such as data visualization dashboards.

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Below are four of the key business areas where data-driven insights can have a significant impact on your talent acquisition strategy.

1. The hiring process. Hiring metrics help your business to optimize processes and focus resources. Analysis in this area provides vital information on cost per hire, time to hire and the effectiveness of sourcing channels. This data gives you clear information on where and how your budget is spent. Keeping track of these numbers helps you to streamline your recruitment process and allocate budget where it is most needed.

2. Building from within. Upskilling your current team to plug skills gaps is more cost-effective, improves employee morale and builds your employer brand. Talent analytics enable you to look at your existing employees and analyze whether your organization has the skills base it needs – today and tomorrow.

Analytics tools recognize staff that have the potential to learn new skills; those that would operate better in a different role; and team members who have leadership potential. You can also identify employees that do not have the right skills for their role and those who are impacting productivity. By identifying skills gaps and offering upskilling opportunities, you can effectively shape your training and development programs.

3. Workforce planning. When planning for the future, you can use predictive functions to identify the skills your business will need when demand is expected to increase. Use organizational network analysis to understand how work gets done in your business. These data streams will give you powerful insights and influence strategic decisions on what your future workforce looks like.

4. Improving the employee experience. One positive to come out of the pandemic is the large number of new support programs to support employees well-being, health and communications. Josh Bersin explains how talent analytics played a crucial role in the speed of organizational reaction to employee feedback. Data tools enable you to gather insights on employee perspectives, experiences and challenges, as well as analyze retention data as indicators of engagement and job satisfaction.

The Future Is Data-Driven

As we emerge from the pandemic, the future may seem unclear for many businesses. But one certainty is that talent analytics and the intelligence it offers will play an important role in steering businesses towards the right path for growth and recovery.

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