CEOs Need to Promote HR Data, Benchmarking to Retain Talent

While companies have been using big data across all levels of the organization, human resources has been the last to the table. A report by Deloitte found that while nearly 80% of large companies said talent analytics was “important,” 45% of those same companies said they “weren’t ready” when assessing themselves. Only 7% of those companies felt they had “strong” HR data analytics capabilities.

Deloitte said companies need to create analytics models that understand and predict turnover so managers can more rapidly change work conditions. They also need to understand the impact of pay increases in detail and make more scientific decisions about where to invest to maximize performance.

David Turetsky, vice president of product management for ADP DataCloud told Workforce.com that data can help companies find the right mix of competitive rewards to attract and retain employees. HR managers have often relied on individualized gut instinct, guesswork and lengthy surveys to determine the best ways to recruit and retain employees. While many organizations currently have access to historic data, few know how to use it in a meaningful way. Turetsky said data science has made it “cheaper and easier” to generate benchmark data to guide talent work. “Benchmarking can improve your HR aim. It can be a compass that shows business leaders how their company’s offerings—to the market and to employees—compare to competitors and the industry,” said Turetsky.

“Benchmarking can improve your HR aim. It can be a compass that shows business leaders how their company’s offerings—to the market and to employees—compare to competitors and the industry.”

Implementing such programs that leverage data requires support from the top, starting with the CEO. A report by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services said that while 71% of CEOs view human capital as a top factor contributing to sustainable economic value, only 43% said investing in HR is a “high priority.”

The Deloitte report said companies should look for skilled analysts to lead the team and adding some “outlier” profiles to the team such as econometricians, demographers and business intelligence specialists. Organizations also should create a community of practice where interested professionals can share experiences and best practices. Meanwhile, analysts should be equipped with HR technology, performance consulting and project management skills.

Organizations should then identify the specific business challenges to be addressed, create experimental solutions for those problems and analyze the data to measure results. This information should be framed not in the context of HR metrics alone, but in terms of the contribution people have to influence business outcomes across the board, from customer service to quality improvement and accident reduction. Finally, this analytical data should be user-friendly and available for the entire organization in dashboard format.

“Successful talent analytics programs require focused investment, dedicated cross-functional teams, and strong partnerships between HR, IT and business operations,” the report said.

Craig Guillot :Craig Guillot is a business writer based in New Orleans, La. His work has appeared in Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, CNNMoney.com and CNBC.com. You can read more about his work at www.craigdguillot.com.