The use of talent metrics in the HR department has always been a source of some debate. While figures are vital to the running of other parts of the business such as sales and marketing teams, there still seems to be some question about whether it is possible, or even as important, to achieve the same quality of reporting within human resources.

However, Cielo’s recent Talent Activation Index reveals a direct link between talent metrics and business success. The survey, which included over 750 global HR and talent management professionals, reports that respondents from high performing businesses, or ‘leaders’, are nine times more likely to use sophisticated metrics to measure the quality of their workforce than low performing organisations, or ‘laggards’ (43% versus 5%).

Another differentiator between high and low performing companies is the use of workforce segmentation to increase productivity in employees. This involves grouping employees according to their skillsets, preferences and other factors, and doing this allows the HR department to adapt its people strategy to deal with a mix of talent. The survey revealed that 41% of ‘leaders’ use this to manage their employees, compared with only 6% of ‘laggards.’

Clearly in today’s environment where the business landscape is constantly changing and HR is often managing several generations in the same team, different employees need different incentives, motivations and employment terms to maximise their talent. Workforce segmentation allows businesses to manage their employees on a more individual basis, which, of course, helps to get the best out of them collectively.

Talent analytics are not just important in terms of business success, but they could also be a major step in terms of HR’s place within the corporation. The human resources department has long strived to have a more direct impact on the running of an organisation. Although talent professionals themselves are more than clear that HR is a vital function for any business, having a set of figures and reports demonstrates this clearly to the senior members of the business. If HR specialists are going to become the true board advisers that they wish to be, it is perhaps vital to be able to communicate in the language of business, i.e. by giving detailed analysis through talent metrics.

Producing talent metrics will clearly become more and more important to the HR community as workforces continue to diversify in terms of age, gender and culture. However, this doesn’t mean that the process needs to be addressed by the department alone. Clearly it would be beneficial to communicate with other business areas in order to make the most of this strategy. For example, liaising with those in commercial management can help with incorporating areas of business strategy into the analytics. In the same way, using members of the accounting team who are experienced in dealing with data can help produce the most sophisticated reports possible.

Of course it’s important to remember that HR will always be a people business and there will be no one-size-fits-all solution to producing talent analytics. However, organisations that can incorporate such analytics into their business strategy will find that they are able to lead from the front, while those who fail to do so are likely to remain one of the laggards.