How To Get Started With Talent Analytics in 5 Steps

By Nicole Dessain
Founder & Chief Talent Strategist, talent.imperative

Nicole_Dessain_Professional Picture

Are you ready for “talent-datafication”?

We generate 2 trillion gigabytes of data every day, including 80% from social media. The hype around “big data” is hard to avoid and has crept into the world of Human Resources. Business leaders increasingly demand answers to questions such as “Why can’t we predict who will be successful?” and “Why are my high potentials leaving?”

For the first time, talent-related analytics and technology are getting the attention they deserve. We are at the cusp of what I describe in a recent talent.trends report as “talent.datafication” – the ability to quantify talent-driven organizational value creation and fundamentally change the way companies view talent and predict business outcomes.

But getting started with talent analytics can be daunting.

In a recent SHRM Chicago presentation, I debunked key myths about big data in HR and outlined 5 steps to get you started on your talent analytics journey:

  1. Design a road map to predictive analytics. Don’t be concerned if you are still in reactive reporting mode. According to Deloitte, only 4% of companies use predictive analytics. Once you’ve determined your maturity level and defined your talent analytics goals, you can create a realistic roadmap that includes leadership and change-management factors.
  2.  Build an analytics structure. Key considerations:
    • Design guiding principles – What are the ethics and ground rules for how we use talent analytics in our organization?
    • Establish governance – Monitor success, and ethical use of data
    • Create coalitions – Especially with Finance (clearinghouse for operations data) and IT (analytics tools)
    • Identify capability – What types of skill sets and analytics tools do you need?
  3. Instill a data-guided, self-reflective mindset. We make judgments about people     within the first few seconds of meeting them, called unconscious bias. Case in point: The Corporate Executive Board surveyed 500 managers and 74% said their most recent hire had a personality “similar to mine.” Some company cultures as a whole are more intuitive than data-driven.
  4. Empower leaders and employees with tools & education. Get to the bottom of what insights your leaders really want to know about their people and coach them on how to act on talent data. Empower your employees with data to drive better job fit and performance – research suggests that happiness at work depends greatly on feeling a sense of agency and mastery.
  5. Balance needs for data privacy and transparency. According to the Conference Board, 63% of employees lack confidence that their company is keeping their data private. On the flip side, technology has completely changed the rules when it comes to privacy and security. HR should drive the discussion around ethical use of employee data and define guiding principles.

Most importantly: start small, get some wins under your belt, and don’t get discouraged!

 Nicole Dessain was a speaker at Chicago SHRM’s Full-Day Fall 2015 Conference



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