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How to bulletproof your talent strategy with workforce analytics

Melissa Furze, Senior Insights Manager at LinkedInHR Technology2018 10 21
How to bulletproof your talent strategy with workforce analytics
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Nielsen, a global information and measurement company, had no idea why it was losing talent. By using five years of workforce insights, they found out that employees with a change in job responsibilities due to a promotion or lateral movement within the past two years were much less likely to leave. This insight prompted Nielson’s leadership to make it easier for employees to pursue jobs internally, identify high performers and proactively put opportunities in front of them. Allowing them to improve the retention rate of top talent.

Whilst talent is still the most important factor in building a future workplace, finding the right talent is critical for business success. The number of workforce insights available is growing rapidly, and using these along with machine learning can help improve both talent acquisition strategies and business results. For example, companies are increasingly using analytics to measure different aspects of their talent acquisition activities, including: the number of hires, time to hire, conversion rates between different steps in the process and the type of candidates engaging with them – helping them to create more effective hiring and talent management strategies.

Additionally, using HR insights can help to answer many of the critical concerns CEOs and CHROs grapple with everyday, such as hiring strategies, competitive benchmarking and workforce planning for the future. These things are vital in an increasingly competitive landscape where talent pools are tightening. Workforce analytics empower recruiters to build a strong pipeline of suitable candidates, which in turn helps organisations to remain competitive.

But, the problem is, businesses aren’t making the most of these insights at the moment.

The desire to use more HR insights and analytics has been rising for some time, but growth in adoption has been much slower. Our latest report, The Rise of HR Analytics, shows that only 19% of companies in EMEA have adopted HR analytics and only 12% have dedicated HR analytics roles. The challenge for many businesses is how to analyse and condense these millions of data points into actionable insights they can use. This is reflected in the LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends Report which found that 70% of HR professionals think data could elevate their roles, but 42% say poor data quality is the biggest barrier.

And as the war for talent gets fiercer by the day, businesses need to be incorporating insights into their processes more to ensure to elevate their hiring strategies and make talent decisions with confidence.

Over the past year, we’ve worked with a number of global companies who have been using workforce analytics. Their experiences reveal that insights can also provide answers to much more than just talent acquisition.

Take Microsoft, for example, and how they uncovered a hidden talent ecosystem using insights. The company was looking to recruit a number of cybersecurity professionals, and originally planned to hire them in the company’s Redmond headquarters. But the team had a ‘gut feeling’ that there were other cities with larger pools of talent. Using workforce data-driven insights, they identified a talent-rich location where Microsoft had a very small office. Having these valuable insights meant business leaders knew they had to increase investment and headcount in that city. Not only did this inform – and continues to inform – the company’s hiring strategy, Microsoft was able to hire the best talent, in the best location, while saving on relocation and compensation costs. Read more here.

Or look at Intel’s Polish team. The company was facing a shortage of software engineers in Gdansk, so decided to attract engineering professionals from neighbouring cities with an employer branding campaign. Business leaders used workforce insights to reveal high numbers of engineers in Krakow and Warsaw. They then analysed competitor data and discovered that talent in Warsaw was working across many different companies, whereas in Krakow it was largely concentrated in a few top organisations. Using the insights, Intel built a strategy to run a highly targeted billboard campaign in Krakow which led to a 20%
increase in visits to Intel’s careers site.

The benefits are clear and undeniable. We encourage business leaders to start putting data and insights at the heart of their talent strategies, both to keep competitive to the current talent pool as well as planning for the future job market. Using workforce insights will help organisations to reinvent and improve every step of their recruitment process – allowing them to make more informed hiring decisions, while also saving crucial time for strategic workforce planning. Talent analytics will enable them to bulletproof their strategies and bring actionable insights to the table within minutes.

Access to analytics makes HR professionals more efficient in their jobs and provides them with the tools to elevate their position in the organisation. Talent intelligence can elevate the position of a HR professional to the board room – providing a real impact on the businesses’ overall success and strategy. But at the end of the day, hiring the right talent cannot only be based on facts and figures. The knowledge and experience of talent professionals remains key. And it is this combination of AI, insights and human understanding that will win the war on talent. And the victory will be had by the businesses who are using data and insights to hire the best talent – the talent they need to grow.

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