Organizations that leverage predictive analytics can pinpoint soft skills andÂ cultural fit qualities of top performers to use for future hiring needs.
By Russ Banham
Predictive talent analytics is giving HR the means toÂ recruit not just skilled workers, but the right ones, too.
In the old workforce paradigm, a company determinedÂ the different skills sets it needed to bring its mission toÂ fruition, and then recruited these individuals. When oneÂ employee left, someone with the same skills was hired.
This skills match made sense for a simple reasonâwhatÂ worked in the past would work in the future. In todayâsÂ fast-paced world of business, where new ideas cropÂ up every second, digital technology has resulted inÂ new forms of collaboration and communication. SinceÂ employees have their eyes open for better opportunitiesÂ elsewhere, skills matching no longer makes sense.
Enter the new workforce paradigm. Via predictiveÂ analytics, organizations can identify workforceÂ dynamicsâthe traits of successful employees that areÂ driving the business forwardâand find people who shareÂ these characteristics.
âCompanies are learning that skills are important, butÂ not nearly as important as human behavior and whether or not it is aligned with the organizationâs culture andÂ values,â says Michael Beygelman, CEO and cofounder ofÂ talent analytics platform provider, Joberate.
Itâs a revolutionary concept, one that is gaining tractionÂ in the digital economy. Just because someone has goneÂ to all the best schools and received a set of specificÂ credentials doesnât mean that candidate will fit withinÂ an organizationâs unique culture. And if the candidate isÂ hired and fails to be a good fi t, the employee is not likelyÂ to feel inspired by the companyâs purpose, much lessÂ excel and get along with colleagues.
Unfortunately, candidate behavior is not analyzed withÂ the same rigor as professional experience and education.Â âGoldman Sachs built this internal model where theyÂ analyzed the resumes of people theyâd hired over theÂ past many years,â Beygelman explains. âOf those people,Â they identified the highest performers based on internalÂ assessments like performance and peer reviews. ThenÂ they concluded this is the blueprint for employees mostÂ likely to be successful.â
He adds, âNow the CVs come in and they score newÂ applicants against their predictive model. Went to Yaleâcheck. Four years experience at Merrill Lynchâcheck.Â While the tool does a good job of identifying applicantsÂ likely to succeed based on skills, what about theirÂ behaviors?â
His point resonates. For one thing, the model heÂ describes is based entirely on historical data. The skillsÂ that drove certain outcomes five years ago may not beÂ the skills needed to fulfill tomorrowâs business agenda.Â Predictive talent analytics, on the other hand, bringÂ real-time information into play, derived from internalÂ company data and external data to posit future talentÂ needs.
âPredictive talent analytics go beyond telling us whatÂ has happened in the past to tell us why it happenedÂ and what is likely to happen next,â says Jason Roberts,Â senior vice president of strategy and standardization atÂ Randstad Sourceright. âThere are technologies availableÂ today that can examine employee factors such as timeÂ in role, whether other team members have recentlyÂ exited, time since last promotion, and retirement ageÂ to determine the likelihood of the employee leaving.âÂ This intelligence is then paired with information aboutÂ the employeeâs online behaviors through social mediaÂ to acquire a very accurate prediction of retention risk.Â The bottom line is that predictive talent analytics canÂ help companies discern whether or not a job candidateâsÂ behaviors will weave into the cultural fabric of theÂ organization.
âCompanies are learning that when it comes to candidateÂ assessment, fit is extremely important,â says KyleÂ Lagunas, principal at Lighthouse Research and Advisory.Â âIs this someone who will work well and enthusiasticallyÂ with others toward achieving the objectives?â
Other talent experts share this perspective. âItâs notÂ just the career or educational experiences that a personÂ has had that will generate business success, itâs alsoÂ the drivers that influence and motivate this person andÂ whether these behaviors fit well with other behaviorsÂ in the organization,â says Colleen Fullen, vice presidentÂ of global talent analytics at FutureStep, a Korn FerryÂ Company. âTo succeed, you need the full picture (of theÂ person).â
This picture draws from a palette of personal qualities,Â such as the ability to work well with others in pursuit ofÂ a mutual goal. Someone with the greatest engineeringÂ skills may not be a collaborator, thus hiring this personÂ purely for his skills when the organization pridesÂ teamwork will backfire.
Consequently, it makes sense to source a less-experiencedÂ engineer with an ability to collaborate and then trainÂ them to develop the skills needed to accomplish specificÂ tasks. âThis idea of defining core skillsets for a specificÂ role and then matching a job candidate to that set ofÂ competencies is breaking down,â says Michael M. Moon,Â Ph.D., director of research, human capital management,Â at Aberdeen Group.
She explains that a successful workforce is composedÂ of delicate human exchanges and other reciprocitiesÂ that create trust and encourage the sharing ofÂ knowledge. Such people coalesce their energies aroundÂ the organizationâs journey, effectively networking toÂ achieve desired outcomes. This is not the case withinÂ many companies. âTodayâs workforce is tied to individualÂ achievement and contributions that cause people toÂ hoard knowledge, not share it,â Moon says.
While these concepts are provocative, theyâre notÂ necessarily new. For several years, managementÂ theorists have commented on the power of employeeÂ engagement. What is different today is that throughÂ predictive talent analytics, organizations have theÂ mathematical means to identify the so-called âsofterâÂ skills like communications and collaboration, whereas inÂ past these assessments were intuitive musings.
By putting the technology in the hands of hiringÂ managers, they can then more accurately assess jobÂ candidate fitâif the applicantâs behaviors align withÂ the workforce dynamics, which are a reflection of theÂ companyâs culture and values.
Is this alignment important? To use an analogy of aÂ baseball team, while it would seem on paper that a teamÂ composed of the best pitchers, hitters, and fielders willÂ win the World Series, this rarely happens. Rather, it isÂ the most motivated team with players fully engaged inÂ winning that often takes the crown.
Putting Analytics Into Action
How can hiring managers leverage predictive analyticsÂ and technology to improve talent recruitment andÂ retention? âYou need to look at your digital footprint,âÂ says Beygelman. âThat will tell you more about yourÂ company than your legacy HR does.â
Heâs referring in part to the kudos and gripes thatÂ current and past employees post on such revelatory sitesÂ as glassdoor.com. But, more to his point, companiesÂ should acquire the ability to access the real time jobseekingÂ behaviors of current employees, via theirÂ publicly available social media data. Using JoberateâsÂ analytics platform, for instance, clients can discern whichÂ employees are contentâand which ones are not andÂ pose a higher risk of leaving the company.
This insight can be acquired about employees within aÂ specific business unit, function, region or country. ForÂ instance, the employer may learn it has more activeÂ job seekers in IT versus accounting, or that the UK hasÂ more people seeking outside employment than those inÂ Germany.
The goal is to obtain a composite picture of what isÂ working really well right this minute in terms of theÂ workforce and related behaviors to identify areasÂ of improvement, and then match this intelligence toÂ employment candidates composed of similar desiredÂ behaviors and communication styles.
This recruitment process is a far cry from even newÂ paradigms where businesses undertake surveys toÂ determine employee engagement. By the time this dataÂ is accumulated and analyzed, months have evaporatedÂ and a percentage of the workforce has already left,Â including possible high performers. âPredictive talentÂ analytics provides instant information generating moreÂ immediate and informed decisions,â says Fullen.
FutureStep, through its parent Korn Ferry, has developedÂ a similar talent intelligence tool called KF4D (Korn FerryÂ Four Dimensional) Executive Assessment. The platformÂ was developed by social scientists and is populated withÂ insights drawn from the firmâs half centuryâs worth ofÂ executive assessments to help companies determine howÂ well job candidates will fit their culture.
âThe software looks at the competencies, experiences,Â traits, and drivers of successful team members in aÂ company to create a profile of these characteristics,Â which can then be used as a recruitment tool to helpÂ find people that share these features,â Fullen explains,Â adding that such individuals are more likely to have theÂ same motivations as current team members, reducing theÂ possibility of a failed hire.
Down the line, predictive talent analytics will be asÂ common as traditional job interviews in the workplace,Â the experts contend. Says Roberts, âThese types ofÂ tools will grow in use and availability, but the trueÂ differentiator will be the human experience behindÂ the technology to ensure that the actual information isÂ relevant and actionable.â
In other words, machines areÂ only as useful as the peopleÂ who use them.