By Twine on

Every manager has seen it happen: you hire a talented and promising employee, provide them with an excellent salary and benefits package, and take an active role in their training. Everything seems to be going well until...they abruptly quit. You never saw it coming, and you feel like you’ve failed as a manager and mentor.

What could you have done differently? Is there any way you could have kept this employee from leaving? Should you have seen it coming?

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These are the questions that the emerging field of talent analytics seeks to answer. In today’s article, we’ll give you an overview of what talent analytics is, how it can revolutionize the way your organization does business, and why you should start implementing your own talent analytics program.

What Is Talent Analytics?

Talent analytics (also called people analytics) is a new sub-discipline of human resources that seeks to shift from the reactive orientation of traditional HR to a more proactive, data-driven approach.

Instead of asking, “Why did this person leave?” after the fact, companies from Europe to India to the United States are leveraging data to create predictive analytics models for human capital. This is allowing companies to ask, “Who is likely to leave?” and receive an informed answer. Because once you can answer that question, you can make better decisions to keep top talent around.

To understand talent analytics, you need to understand the role of data. With the emergence of new digital tools, it’s now possible to collect and analyze HR data at a scale and granularity that was previously impossible. This has allowed talent analytics to become a feasible practice at any organization of scale.

What sorts of data are relevant to talent analytics? This depends on the organization, but common talent analytics data include the following:

  • Overall job satisfaction

  • Employee performance data

  • Employee retention

  • Employee engagement

  • Turnover rates

These are just a few possibilities. There may be other employee data that you deem more relevant to your company. What matters most, however, is that you implement a data-driven program to track your talent and understand why people leave your company. Because, as we’ll see, the cost of talent leaving is high.

Why Talent Analytics Matters

For seasoned HR professionals, it may be tempting to dismiss the value of talent analytics. Nothing will ever replace gut instinct in determining which employees will stay with your company and which will leave.

While you certainly don’t want to rule out the value of experience, and the instincts that come with it, you’re doing your organization a disservice if you don’t also implement data-driven measures. Your gut can be wrong, and it can’t give you as complete and reliable a picture as talent analytics practices can offer.

Talent analytics matters because it can save your organization massive amounts of money in hiring and training costs. Consider what it takes to find top talent:

  • Identify the need for a hire

  • Create a description of the position and an application form

  • Post the job or employing a talent acquisition professional to reach out to top talent

  • Process and review applications

  • Conduct several rounds of interviews

  • Offer the job to a candidate

  • Negotiate salary and benefits in an attempt to beat out offers from competitors

  • Process hiring paperwork

And once you’ve finally made that hire, that’s just the beginning of the work (and expense). You still need to:

  • Orient your new hire

  • Train them in your organizational practices

  • Work to keep them satisfied

  • Make sure they adjust to your organizational culture

  • Wait months before they’re operating at peak capacity

Even after all that, there’s still a chance you could lose this valuable hire. And without a talent analytics program, you’d never see it coming. Sure, you can conduct exit interviews to figure out why your top employees leave. But this information is employee-specific. It can help inform future hiring and onboarding practices, but it can’t help you keep your best people from leaving in the first place.

This is why you need a talent analytics program. It can’t eliminate turnover completely, but it can help you minimize and prevent it. Talent analytics is a proactive approach to talent management, one that can benefit any modern organization.

The importance of talent analytics extends beyond predicting turnover, however. It’s also enabling revolutions in the area of workforce planning by way of workforce analytics. Imagine if you could know not just whom you need to hire today, but whom you need to hire 3, 6, or even 12 months down the road? Talent analytics can help with these key people decisions as well, revealing where you’ll need to make internal or outside hires.

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How to Implement Talent Analytics

The specifics of talent analytics are complex and variable, depending on the size, scope, and organization of the firm. For every firm, however, talent analytics is a complex field, operating at the intersection of big data, organizational psychology, and employment law. This is all easy enough to implement if you have the resources and analytics capabilities of a company like Google, but for most companies but it can quickly turn into an overwhelming task that swamps your HR department and leaves you wondering if it was worth the effort.

The key to making talent analytics manageable at your firm is to outsource key components. There are tools and companies out there that specialize in these types of skills and who you cna turn to for guidance. Here at Twine Labs, for example, we help you implement a key part of talent analytics: workforce planning.

We’ll help you match your best people with roles they can grow into, making sure that they stay engaged, motivated, and ultimately, remain with your company. After all, the number one reason top employees leave is lack of opportunity for growth. Twine Labs will help you show your employees that a promising future exists at your company. Set up a demo call to learn more.