How to leverage the potential of data analytics for your business
Initiating companies can start with Talent Acquisition data, which is easy to understand and appreciate
A lot has been said about the importance of predictability and leveraging data science for HR decision making, not only from a hiring perspective of “Who will be a successful new hire for our organization?”, but also from the point of view of attrition management and predicting the impact of small changes made in compensation budgets. While there is no doubt that data Analytics is a powerful tool, generating insights that are bound to revolutionize processes, it has been rather slow to catch on across the world, and also true in the Indian context. Although they may be late entrants in this field, Indian corporations have immense opportunities to start utilizing data Analytics immediately in talent acquisition and hiring. Data Analytics technologies are available out there and there is also a growing understanding in leaders and professionals that data can assist them greatly in acquiring and retaining top talent and strategizing ahead in a VUCA world. Yet, I think there is a lag in adopting a forward looking approach towards using Analytics in talent decision making because it can be a challenge to make people start thinking and doing things a little differently.
While I was at PwC India, we started Talent Acquisition data Analytics in terms of where we sourced people, how they perform on the job, how they performed and was promoted year to year, and we also started some Analytics around alumni. With growing talent scarcity, data Analytics is also useful for diversity and employee retention. We found data useful in predicting which of our talented and valued employees are likely to depart earlier than they should and so we were able to take steps to ensure that they stayed with us.
Another thing that PwC globally is looking at is how we capture potential in case of HIPO employees, which is quite different from just measuring past performance. Data Analytics around potential is one of the huge things that we as a company are riding the wave on. We are beginning to understand what that data is like and we could see where people will perform at a higher potential, how they would perform and how they would move up quicker in the organization. We are looking at how those people are made up and what kind of skill sets they have. Identifying an employee’s patterns – predicting where a person is going to go – is possible through a fairly decent trail of their data and by simultaneously comparing it with the characteristics of our current leaders.There are criteria and different indicators in place for how companies should look at someone’s potential because some of these high potential people may not be the highest performers and this can be a real challenge to get people to wrap their heads around that because that was conventional thinking and we have been in this scheme of performance for such a long time. We at PwC focus around the year on development data which is how someone is doing from a development perspective – where they come from, what their majors were in college, what schools they came from, how they are developing in our environment – would they make better management consultants, strategy consultants, tech consultants or risk consultants? This allowed us to see how we are developing people from the same foundation base and what kind of skills they will develop. So if we can pre-determine who is going to be the right fit in particular areas, we are able to use data to pull people in the right direction.
Even though it is well known that data Analytics can be deployed for making businesses better, most companies struggle with the problem that data is only as good as it is collected and maintained. If not, we really do not have an insight to what information can help make key informed decisions. It is about making the right investment, both from the system’s perspective and the workforce’s perspective. At PwC, we would tell our clients to make a said investment if it had the potential to make their businesses better and we decided to take our own advice because we knew data could help us.
For initiating companies, it is important to take the first step and start easy with Talent Acquisition data, which is easy to understand and appreciate. Leaders are able to see easily what difference such data can make in attracting and retaining valued employees. It is about change management. Leaders cannot afford to look at the same problem with the same glasses that they had on last year –they need to look at it differently. If they get to the point where they can appreciate what data can do for them, they will actually want more and more and more.