An effective, tech-driven data and analytics strategy can help organizations stay ahead in a moment of uncertainty.
By Marta Chmielowicz
The COVID-19 pandemic introduced a period of fear and uncertainty that touched all aspects of daily life, forcing companies to shutter their doors, furlough employees, and implement hiring freezes to stay afloat. Although the world has come a far way from the shelter-in-place orders of March and April, businesses are still recovering, with HR leaders working diligently to adapt to the new normal and do more with less. Many are relying on people data and analytics for insights that can better guide them as they navigate each phase of the crisis.
Evaluating data from across the organization and using it to develop key strategies can help HR leaders find clarity in complexity. But in order to do this well, Paul Harty, chief solutions officer at Sevenstep, says that data needs to be gathered from across the entire enterprise and aggregated in a usable form. It is not enough to examine ATS data—organizations also need to analyze their CRM, HRIS, diversity and inclusion (D&I) metrics, talent management data, and competitive intelligence in order to make truly informed decisions.
“You need to start with a holistic picture, starting with where hires are coming from and mapping them to their level of success in their role,” he explains. “The C-Suite needs to be clear on what kind of talent they need to hire, retain, and develop. And TA needs to make sure that they look at intelligence from across the organization and build their decisions, policy, and processes around what their future goals may be based on their previous performance. How are the business needs changing and how are they going to measure success?”
Harty recommends that HR leaders examine three metrics in particular:
- D&I metrics. Building an inclusive workforce requires more than just hiring diverse talent. By developing a holistic approach to D&I reporting, organizations can have better insight into which specific departments or leaders are not meeting their diversity goals, ultimately strengthening their commitment to their diverse employees. Rather than simply reporting the percentage of diverse employees in the organization, Harty suggests that organizations track metrics like the percentage of people of color who got promoted; turnover rates among diverse talent; and hiring manager performance in meeting diversity goals.
For example, Sevenstep has worked with a Fortune 100 healthcare client to implement an analytics strategy that provides transparency and accountability for D&I goals. “We use major process steps (apply, interview, and hire) as well as granular process steps (meets minimum qualifications, recruiter phone screen scheduled/completed, interview scheduled/completed, and a whole host of others) to track all candidates who elect to disclose throughout the process and determine when and how they fall out,” Harty says.
The organization then tracks the performance of recruiters, talent acquisition managers, and other leaders who are involved in the hiring process to identify which teams or departments are achieving their diversity goals and the measures they have in place to succeed.
- Retention and promotion rates. Frequently measuring retention and promotion rates among departments can also reveal greater insights into the weak points of an organization, allowing HR leaders to develop interventions such as training programs.
- Vacancy gaps. Another metric that can result in long-term cost savings is measuring vacancy gaps, or how long positions stay open by department or hiring manger. This is particularly true for sales teams.
“If you have vacancy gaps that are open in sales department with several thousand people and it’s taking you 90 days to fill positions, that can be directly tied back to revenue generation,” Harty explains. “Tie it back to improving hiring, onboarding, and D&I missions inside the sales organization to speed up and fine tune what talent you’re actually looking to attract. Then, measure retention, development, and sales goals to evaluate success.”
While gathering and evaluating data can deliver a competitive advantage, it can only be done effectively with a technology tool that allows integrated reporting. Unfortunately, most corporate tech stacks today are not designed to integrate disparate data sets, Harty says. “And just buying a visualization tool isn’t really going to fix your problem—you need to have expertise in data models and data science if you have disparate systems,” he explains.
Instead, he recommends that HR leaders either collaborate with their RPO partners to reconfigure how their current system tracks and counts data, or introduce an aggregation tool that pulls from all of the data sources the organization already has in place.