‘Talent/HR/workforce analytics’ has become the buzzword in HR circles in India. Everyone is talking about it. It gets discussed in every HR forum, on Linkedin, within HR teams in companies and since talent management is an Organizational priority today, CXOs and are also showing a lot of interest in understanding the value it can bring to the table. But what really is the current state of maturity and usage of talent analytics in India? To get a clear user perspective, we at InteliTix ran a survey among senior HR professional across industries in India. The survey was done over a 6 month period (Aug 2015 to Feb 2016) and we were able to get inputs from 202 HR professionals.
The survey collected inputs on the following:
- Use of talent measurement tools
- Use of Social media in talent sourcing
- Use of technology in talent management
- Perspectives on value of talent analytics
- Talent Analytics As-is Scenario
The overall findings are presented below in the form of Infographics for the benefit of all HR professionals/C-Suite executives.
Use of Social Media in Talent Sourcing
Use of Technology and data in talent decisions
Perspectives on Talent/Workforce analytics
Talent Analytics As-Is Scenario
The survey findings show an increased interest in the perceived value of assessment and analytics, but the challenge is in getting existing HR resources trained on using analytics and in putting together a specific team comprising of HR professionals and people with a strong background in statistics to manage the talent analytics practice.
Taking decisions based on data has always been a best practice, but the problem till recently has been ‘lack of data’ or ‘not enough data’ to enable good decisions. With quantification of talent management practices taking centre stage, the need for the right data has become paramount. With every HR professional gearing up for a data-driven HR practice and with the explosion of data analytics processes, there is a need to pause and consider the need to manage data properly and be mindful of problems due to data overload.
A small example (unrelated to HR but still relevant) is with reference to career planning. A middle school student till about 10-15 years back only knew about a few career options (even though there were plenty of options available) and suffered from a ‘lack of information’ syndrome. Today with Google and other search engines, the amount of information available on career options is mind boggling. When you talk to parents, teachers and students, they see a huge problem here; with so much data, the confusion gets compounded. The effort needed to sift through oceans of data and identify what is relevant to one’s particular need/context is becoming a key challenge today.
Back to the problem of data management and HR. It is a fact that even leading organizations feel overwhelmed and have difficulty making decisions with the mass of information available. One of the biggest challenges is drill down the data to gain meaningful insights, but if there is no clarity, it can become a big challenge too.
So what are the key issues one can think of with reference to management of talent data? I am outlining a few below and encourage readers to share their perspectives and experiences as well.
- Human error: Human error is natural, and there is a tendency for people to go searching for data that supports their beliefs and biases and not the other way around.
- Confusion over data ownership: Lack of clarity on ownership of talent data is a huge problem that affects HR Practioners. With some much data being collected real-time, if there is no clarity on who owns talent data, it can lead to a huge ‘opportunity loss’.
- Lack of right talent and processes: If you have a lot of data but don’t have the right people and tools to make sense of the data, then you can be sure that the data will not get transformed into meaningful insights.
- Over reliance on data: A lot of managers and decision makers feel the urge to try everything possible with data. But with so much data and limited time and resources available, it takes away the focus from critical issues if not properly prioritised.
- The infrastructure conundrum: If an organization’s technical infrastructure is not up to speed to accept and interpret multiple sources of data, then there is little hope in managing or analysing the data for actionable insights.
- Analysis Paralysis: The biggest problem of all is doing nothing with the data organizations have spent time, money and resources collecting.
With talent data becoming the hub for much of enterprise reporting, the talent analytics function has to be geared to support requests from all areas of the company: legal, finance, planning, payroll as well as HR. As demand for reports and analytics is growing, there is a definite need to focus on the right talent, processes and technology that would augment the HR team in managing talent data well to provide strategic inputs linked directly to the business priorities.
Organisations and processes within organizations are evolving faster than the speed of thought. Progressive organizations are very clearly establishing robust mechanisms to look ahead and not get bogged down in just managing current business-as-usual issues. With technological advancements driving the change agenda in organizations, it has become imperative to check if people who work with/manage the technology are evolving and adapting themselves at the same speed.
The most important driver of this change is data. How the use of data is transforming business and people management practices in organisations requires to be studied with utmost attention. Although one may argue that data has always been the core decision making tool in good organisations, there was always a limit to what could be done with data. Specifically from a talent management perspective, the scope for data analytics today is tremendous. The HR leader of today is moving from reactive, need-based data analytics to pre-emptive, predictive analytics that is going to change the way talent is managed.
To give you an example, from need-based, planned, employee engagement surveys, companies are moving into continuous, on-the-fly feedback mechanisms to be in touch with employees and their changing needs. Rather than take action after an event has happened, the future will see prediction and pre-emptive action.
One of the important aspects in this evolution is the need for specialists. There is a consensus within the HR community on the need for specialists. Recruitment which was once a part of HR is today an independent function handled by specialists with experience in sourcing, attracting and selecting the right talent. Talent analytics, in my view is certain to be an independent function in the near future and hence needs to be managed by specialists with a dotted line relationship with HR.
It would be fair to say that HR function has come a long way in the last two decades but is currently at a cross-road. Those in the profession who will embrace this data explosion and prepare themselves to ride it will clearly be the future leaders of the talent management world.
The goal of the talent analytics function of the future will be to turn data into information, information into insight and insight into pre-emptive action.