In the age of business disruption, talent is a valuable asset for organisations across industries. Ever since the onset of the Great Resignation, the struggle to retain top talent continues despite several strategies being set out by HR leaders. Transformation in job roles and employment opportunities and everchanging employee wants are compelling organizations to keep pace with what the workforce needs and desires. Data-driven insights sourced by people analytics can help empower leaders in devising impactful strategies for talent retention. Here’s how.
The talent retention reality
Talent retention challenges start right from the talent acquisition phase, according to Suresh Kumar, Associate President, HR and CoE, Aurobindo Pharma. From matching salary expectations to finding the right skills and culture fitment, to getting the support of business leaders to proactively onboard and engage talent, the talent retention wheel has many spokes. This has become further complicated post the Covid-hiatus, as organizations have adopted new models and leadership positions in a bid to grow fast.
Jacob, Group CHRO, Malabar Group, shares, “We are looking to open 100 stores with talent needs of 3500-5000 this year”. Meeting such talent needs amidst the talent crunch means that companies must devise a unique value proposition i.e. craft the story to attract people to join, and craft an employee experience to sustain people to stay. The key to unlock this is people analytics. Data-backed decisions will help organizations get the culture-values-leadership messaging right by empowering people basis concrete data.
Role of people analytics in talent and business decisions
Data tells stories from drawing real inferences. HR’s role is to decode the data insights and take critical qualitative decisions. Jacob shares how it is important to create a model and paint a picture for talent right-sighting using data.
Data will help fundamentally relook at recruitment with automated CV screening, chatbots, candidate scheduling tools, and pre-onboarding experience to create ‘moments that matter’ much before a person actually joins.
Employee dipstick & attrition analysis:
After analysing store-schedule data at Malabar group, HR came to know that prolonged store closure procedures were leading to overtime for shift workers and therein, disengagement. Another case in point is how the issue of infancy attrition at Aurobindo was tackled by doing a demographic and trait profiling analysis of past 12-month joiners, revealing that many bachelors were leaving the company to take care of their parents. By outlining certain trait-profiling motivators, and putting in a process, a line manager selected candidate would have to undergo a final level DNP profiling by HR to help assess long-term retention.
Within 2 years, our infancy attrition reduced to 4% from 7.8%, because micro-level data outlook was instated into a process”, shares Suresh.
Learning & Development:
Organizations need to find the right balance between metrics and morale, between measurability and capability, believes Ranjan Kumar, Chief Learning Officer, Akrivia HCM. People analytics can foster the shift from one-size-fits-all to personalized learning, from standard push-based to bite-sized tech-enabled learning. For example, at Aurobindo Pharma, senior leaders’ competencies are woven into anytime-anywhere digital learnings, boosting the adoption rate to almost 93%. Similarly, for junior employees, the TWIJ program focuses on assessing competencies and providing specific technical trainings to build multi-skilled talent for existing jobs as well as for higher responsibilities.
“Customized learning is helping improve engagement and retention”, quips Suresh. Timely insights on the next advised learning steps will help employees assess their alignment to career growth and business objectives, and locate the right sources to develop new skills. Data analytics shall help see how learning efforts translate to business returns, thereby harnessing leadership buy-in and helping cultivate a learning culture.
Strategic workforce planning:
When growing rapidly, different vagaries of the workforce with different skill sets exist. “HR can intervene with the right tech, communication and collaboration to nurture talent differently for the future”, says Jacob. HR must curate a balanced portfolio of people products and services which cuts across elements like career progression, compensation, L&D, welfare, engagement etc. The bundle must be competitive in its entirety, creating a wholesome experience. Focusing on ‘what is the total experience and is it meeting my needs as an aspirational employee looking at an employer to enhance my career?’ will help design this right.
Marrying both analytics and aspiration will help companies attract talent, add meaning to careers, and cultivate a sense of ‘taking care of employee’.
All in all, people analytics is a key driver in HR creating strategies that are aligned with the overall business objectives. As Ranjan says, “Data-driven approach can help HR optimize, engage and lead talent to align with business values and make space authentically for talent retention”. This is possible only if HR is quick enough to catch up with the pace of tech advancement, therein demanding HR innovation.
Many analytics initiatives fail despite investments, due to the lack of leadership understanding. As Ranjan puts it, “Successful transition requires change at all levels, most importantly, change in culture, which starts with understanding the experience”. To break the barriers of siloed thinking, analytics insights should be shared in collaboration with various teams, made possible through technology tools. Holistically, people analytics requires a strategy which brings different structured, and unstructured data together, to offer insights and align them with meaningful outcomes.
For this, it is important for people to learn how to utilize technology while creating paths to work together. This is possible only when the entire business leadership takes responsibility for making talent engagement their KRA and not just remain a priority area for HR only. Above all, analytics success is finally driven by the right blend of softer and harder aspects. The right culture must bring in the differentiating aspect to kickstart people to look at data for real, so people can see the emphasis on talent development, talent engagement and value for the long run.