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Dee Caporali

Access Group

HCM Director

Read more about Dee Caporali

Talent analytics to transform recruitment and onboarding


It is often said that ‘our people are our most important asset’ but as organisations what are we doing to encourage and nurture our high performers and ensure attrition rates remains low?

Are we recruiting more people like them to plug skills gaps, support growth opportunities, as well as engaging with them at the right level? Thankfully it is possible to answer these questions and there’s a great deal that HR professionals can do in the age of big data to provide a 3D view of the workforce, the intelligence from which can support decisions that lead to increases in longer term business performance.

An inside job

With the rising overall cost of recruitment, it is essential to know what talent is already within the organisation. This requires accurate analysis of good data. In any business this can be tough, but in a growing business it can become impossible without the right technology in place to support the data collation process and BI analytics tools to cut through the complexity.

Career pathing helps to gather this intelligence including the non-job related skills employees have, alongside their aspirations. The perfect person for the role after all, might be right under your nose, looking to take the next step in their career. Career pathing is a vital piece in the jigsaw, helping HR teams to see their talent base in a totally different light, uncovering hidden potential waiting to be discovered.  

By defining the core competencies within the HR system for each role as well as aspirational competencies – ie the key skills required to meet intended business growth plans – it is possible to build a framework within which you can gather the information required. This makes it easier to slice and dice the data on your talent using skills matrices and analytics tools, and then offering reasoned solutions based on hard facts, ensuring the person with the right skills and aspirations is chosen for the role.

Self-service means that employees can add the information themselves too so they are engaged and taking an active role in making sure the business is aware of their capabilities. And if they’ve been working with you for some time, they will know the business inside out – plus their current role may be easier to fill than the original vacancy.

Measuring recruitment

If the decision to recruit externally is taken, then it’s with the knowledge that the skills cannot be found in-house or there is a need to extend your high performing teams with further suitable candidates.

With analytics it’s possible to see where the best recruits are coming from – is it a particular agency, publication, social media, or recommendations from existing employees? The cost associated with each channel can be analysed –not necessarily to opt for the cheapest methods but those that deliver the best long-term return on investment and lower attrition rates among high performers. It also provides an opportunity to understand why certain people don’t continue through the application process and at what stages they drop out too.

Making the application as simple as possible, for example allowing candidates to use LinkedIn to pull through their profile, skills and education into the application process, makes it easier for them whilst the business can analyse the information, match candidates against pre-set criteria and quickly highlight those to be invited for interview.  

And it’s during the interview stage where data gathering can be taken a stage further, ensuring the best match for the role and also noting any additional skills, aptitude, or aspirations they might have. Whilst the emphasis at this stage is on finding the person to best fit the vacancy, remaining open to other noteworthy information that is often missed can be immensely helpful later on.

Onboarding advantage

It might be helpful for the HR team to think about talent analytics in terms of above-the-line and below-the-line. Above-the-line refers to the skillsets required for the role in question, whilst below-the-line are the non-job related skillsets and other information that makes up the individual but which may not have been discussed at the interview stage.

Onboarding functionality, which is an integral part of the HR system, makes it possible to continue to engage at the fragile pre-employment stage where personal circumstances can change, plus with the best recruits there’s always a worry that the employee-to-be might get cold feet or that another firm may entice them with a better offer. It’s also the perfect opportunity to gather more information about that person.

As with current employees, those entering the business can add their non-work related skills and aspirations during the onboarding stage so that all information is being captured that wasn’t part of the interview process. It could be they speak fluent French and have always aspired to travel. If a company is looking to open up an office in France in 12 months time, then this might be the person needed to assist on that project. In a sense, talent analytics is a similar concept to psychometric tests; it’s about understanding mindsets, what drives people and ensuring the right people are in the right roles to thrive.

Understanding the business

The starting point in all of this is understanding the business and its immediate and future needs – data should ideally be collated with the end goal in mind to avoid information overwhelm and wasted effort. Relevance is therefore key to enabling HR professionals to analyse and understand the key people metrics within their organisations and how this marries with organisational plans. The recruitment and onboarding stage offers a vital opportunity to gather essential data to build a 3D view of the workforce, helping HR professionals to deliver even greater value to the business through better talent insight.

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Dee Caporali

HCM Director

Read more from Dee Caporali

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