Learn how three organizations gain insight—and a competitive advantage—by executing analytics.
By Dustin Burgess
Today’s reality of big data is pretty straightforward: Although organizations have access to more data than ever before, their ability to extract meaningful business insights is not keeping pace with its availability. According to a 2015 survey of more than 2,000 managers conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review and SAS Institute, the competitive advantage with analytics is waning. The percentage of companies that report obtaining a competitive advantage with analytics has declined significantly over the past two years. In fact, the number has declined from 68 percent in 2012 to 52 percent in 2015.
HR executives are feeling this pain in very acute ways, as the war for talent has made successful talent acquisition strategies a business-critical component. Achieving a competitive advantage through actionable insights into data has become the holy grail for talent-starved enterprises. It is more important than ever for these managers to access the kind of talent that will allow them to drive value from the data, in the form of new solutions and actionable plans.
Within the world of human resources and talent acquisition, one of the most data-rich landscapes is the contingent workforce. Companies are employing contingent labor across the globe, in a variety of different work arrangements. Data can help drive decisions about where, when, who, and how to employ their temporary workers. For example, a large utilities company was able to leverage their contingent worker data to help them facilitate the decision-making process on when to renew, release, replace, or re-deploy contingent workers. By understanding what known resources were going to be available, the organization was then able to look at both objective and subjective data points to evaluate each worker’s performance and determine if the worker should stay on the roster.
Looking at enterprise-wide data helped identify where the organization’s biggest talent deficits existed, and in many cases, the organization could relocate current workers to new areas without having to utilize recruiting channels. In cases where the company elected to resource a position, data from the recruiting processes helped determine when to start sourcing and where to look for talent. The ability to make decisions from the data enabled the organization to save hard dollars that would have been allocated to recruiters, plus talent acquisition managers enjoyed the added benefit of time savings.
Workforce data also plays an important role in total talent solutions, a management approach in which organizations leverage one platform to monitor and evaluate their entire workforce, including both permanent and non-permanent employees. The execution of tangible business results in this area has been mixed. Some organizations have been able to leverage internal and external data sets to drive actionable insights for their entire workforce. For example, a global technology company recently married their employee and non-employee data, enabling them to see across their entire workforce. The organization was able to understand the costs associated with different worker engagement types, determine where their talent pipelines were best suited to fulfill their talent deficits, and where their physical office locations would support additional headcount.
Limited access to talent is also driving organizations to take a hard look at their data. A pharmaceutical giant was having difficulty attracting and retaining top-tier talent within one of the United States’ most competitive markets. The organization wanted to create better brand awareness and employee ambassadors. So they leveraged publicly-available data, as well as a variety of targeted, internal data points to learn how they were being viewed by different types of workers. Data was culled from employer ratings on Glassdoor as well as internal surveys and exit interviews. The organization was also able to understand why their workers were leaving the company, or why they were staying. This information was critical: It allowed the company to improve their worker policies and to create new brand awareness campaigns. Within a short period of time, the company was able to see an increase in the number and quality of candidates, as well as an uptick in their overall retention numbers.
Now more than ever before, it is critical for organizations to identify individuals and key business partners within their organizations that have the ability and expertise to extract meaningful insights. An organization’s willingness and ability to do so could make the difference in the global war for talent.
Dustin Burgess is vice president of strategy, analytics, and metrics for PRO Unlimited.