Talent Analytics

Human Resources has undergone quite a transformation in the past few decades. What used to be limited to recruiting, training and handling the operational side of managing personnel is now evolving into a discipline employing predictive models, statistical analysis, and state of the art data capturing and management. Thought leaders have always advocated HR’s role as a strategic partner to business, providing crucial talent related insights and strategies on how to use it as a competitive advantage.

The first disciplines to employ analytics – the extensive use of data, statistical and quantitative analysis to drive business decisions, was those with hard data such as finance and marketing. HR lacked the objective nature of data, and decisions were more often than not based on intuition and experience. Today, the scenario is much different. We are now able to leverage on people related data and employ statistical and quantitative analysis like never before.

Today, organizations capture millions of data elements about its employees – demographic data, performance data, job history, compensation, learning, etc. HR analytics or talent analytics refers to the analysis of this data to gather action oriented insights that could tell stories about an organization’s workforce. And the use of these methods and technologies vary across a broad spectrum. It starts from building dashboards with HR metrics aggregated from various sources of employee data to providing predictive analysis on how talent is growing, leaving, learning and developing. HR leaders are today able to make decisions based on the analysis of millions of data points. Google studied vast amount of employee performance data to get to a list of attributes that make successful leaders. This gives them a starting point towards effective leadership development. Some other examples of how companies are using talent analytics are – comparing performance of full time vs contract employees, ranking campuses to hire from looking at how past hires have performed, studying average tenure of employees in any specific part of the organization to predict turnover, looking for correlation between specific skills of customer facing employees and customer satisfaction, listening to how employees talk on internal and external social networks to gauge engagement and intent to stay, and more.

HR analytics has helped HR to speak the language of the C-suite. It is now beginning to be considered a strategic partner to business providing hard numbers based on rigorous analysis. One of the most important trend in HR is how it is warming up to Big Data and the use of high end analytics and this is going to be one of the key factors deciding the future of how HR organizations will work. However, there is also the need to develop analytical skills within HR which traditionally has relied on intuition and experience. Apart from the skillsets, organizations would also need to evolve in terms of how they capture data about their employees, how they maintain it and adopt new technology. Thirdly, it should have the top level commitment to push the insights that are generated to decision.


This article is written by Karunakaran TK. MBA batch of 2006-08, Amrita School of Business, Coimbatore. He is currently working as an analyst, HR analytics at Target Corp

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