Analytics and Talent Management: Mixing Oil and Water Effectively

Chef WEB 210People often think that mixing analytics and talent management is like mixing oil and water. To some managers talent management is equal to getting a bunch of third graders to stand in a straight line, keep quiet, and do their assignments. Unfortunately, some may still have that mindset. Data analytics can help managers and organizations find, hire, and manage talent better than ever before. 

Strangely Enough

Strangely enough, the areas of focus for the first Personnel Department was compliance, wage management, record keeping, and safety. Even in the 1920s, the focus was the technical aspects of hiring, evaluating, and training employees. The reputation of “party planners” or the “touchy feely” department doesn’t seem to match up. Strangely enough today, technology, analytics, and talent management must mix and mix well.

Right From the Start

As early as WWI, the government along with the national institute of psychology was conducting analytics and gathering data and applying results of IQ studies, selection tests, and interviewing techniques.

Today, IT plays a key role in hiring, not only from an analytics perspective, but also from the application of technology right from the start of an employee’s journey in the hiring process. Job posting is on-line, job application is on-line, and often organizations are making initial contact via an email quiz helping to save time in selection.

Collecting data from these online experiences can help better management talent application processes and demographics. For example, what website do most applicant’s use to apply? Are they using Indeed, Monster, the company’s own website, or the company’s Facebook website the most? What time of day are they applying? Understanding this data could help understand when to launch something on social media at a certain time of day to help attract candidates. This is the same principle LinkedIn and Twitter use in advising the best time to post articles for maximum exposure.

Getting to Know You

Collecting data via the use of on-line assessments helps to get a better fit for open positions. But data analytics doesn’t end there with these useful tools. Once a candidate is on board, analyzing the data from the hiring assessments can now help to manage the talent’s best development path. This in turn, helps an organization create an effective succession plan. The organization now has a stronger bench to head off unseen crisis, economic changes, and planned attrition.

Managing talent during a layoff is not only possible, but an innovative idea. Analyzing the data from hiring or development assessments can also help determine the best talent to keep during the unfortune occurrence of a layoff. If you have two employee’s whose performance has been about equal, look at the data from their assessments to help determine which candidate might be the better contributor to organizational goals in terms of talent going forward.  Now, the employee facing a lay off can also use that same data to find a new position more quickly. Hiring a good outplacement firm to help is also an innovative idea and the right thing to do. Speaking of ethics…

When to Say No to Data

AI is smart, but it doesn’t know everything nor can it make ethical decisions, at least not yet. While technology is making hiring easier, convenient, and providing better fitting candidates to your workforce, being mindful about diversity can now be even trickier. Therefore, it is best to ensure that job descriptions are free of bias in terms of gender, age, and ethnicity. Removing names, age, colleges, memberships and such from resumes makes hiring even more bias free. Removing keywords can also be helpful. Women tend to put words such as collaborative or understanding on resumes while men may put tough decision maker, or analytical on theirs. If you use assessments in your hiring process, this type of information will come to light in the second round of interviewing.

Today, it is wise to mix the “oil and water” of talent management with analytics with the merging of HR and IT. Doing so, provides the organization a better talent pool for now and the future.

Anonymous (n.d). The Historical Background of Human Resource Management – Introduction. 
HappyorNot (n.d.). In the Beginning There Was Human Resources…Although They Called It “Personnel.”

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