Natalie Douglass, Research Director, Write Research Company
Reflecting on our latest research, ‘the insight edge to talent acquisition’, the new world of work will require completely new types of metrics from those currently being tracked. Within talent acquisition, we may measure the strengths of candidates for permanent roles on their long-term track record, cultural fit and their skill sets, but evaluate contingent workers on a wholly different set of criteria, such as speed of response, level of compliance and daily rates.
Data and insight on these metrics are increasingly accessible to HR and recruitment leaders, especially as much of this data is becoming more readily available online. On top of this external data, businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the range of data that is available to them internally. But are we using this data effectively?
Our latest research from the Human to Hybrid series found that a third (31%) of organisations feel that their workforce and HR data is ‘fragmented’ and ‘disparate’, making it difficult to derive meaningful insight from the data they have at their disposal, with 83% of HR and recruitment leaders acknowledging that they need to improve their use within talent acquisition. It seems the analysis of the data is what HR and recruitment are finding to be the most difficult part of the process, perhaps where there is a lack of skills or just not enough time in the day for them to consider this.
In some cases, there is too much data available, and the process of pulling this together and asking the important question “so what?” is the missing link. This is where support and expertise can be best placed.
Organisations are certainly aware of the power of data, but this sometimes manifests itself negatively. There is an increasing risk around the use of data, particularly from a people perspective, and particularly with the introduction of GDPR. We are all much more aware of how we handle data in a compliant and secure way, but organisations are still unsure and unclear on how to do this and report that their concerns around data protection is the biggest barrier (41%) to making better use of their data. Therefore, using data related to people becomes an added risk if it is not done in the right way and handled correctly.
Data in itself is only useful if someone can understand it and make sense of it. But even that is only the first step; the next step is deciding what to do as a result of this analysis that makes data truly powerful.
To look at the other side of the coin, the research found that nearly half (46%) of organisations rely on ‘instinct and gut feeling’ when it comes to assessing current skills and identifying skills requirements. So, although we have access to more data and seem to realise its value, something is still telling us to trust our instincts rather than the data available to us.
Write Research are often engaged on projects where we are asked to gather and analyse data which proves or disproves a gut feeling, or to test out whose gut feeling was correct. For example, “our Chief Executive thinks that we should build our new software development team in San Francisco, but the CIO thinks it should be in Mumbai. We need some data to verify which would be the better option, and should we consider some other locations too?” Or “the Hiring Manager is telling us that we are not paying enough to attract the right calibre of talent, but we need some evidence to support this.” It is this process of gathering together and analysing the information, and using it to answer questions within your business where data can have the most powerful impact.
Perhaps the real niche point is the ability to use data, but then to use a human element to overlay it and turn it into insights. This gives you the evidence, but also allows for some element of gut feeling, or perhaps common sense to be considered, before coming up with an overall recommendation and way forward.
If you would like to understand more about the services we can offer around market, talent and competitor intelligence, analysis, mapping and benchmarking, get in touch with us today.
Access the full findings from our latest research, 'The insight edge to talent acquisition' here.