Is your company maximizing all the information you have at your fingertips to succeed in attracting, retaining and developing your talent?

Most organizations, even small ones practice some form of “talent intelligence.” The term simply refers to the purposeful process of mining and using data to develop informed decisions about the organization’s labor supply. By scaling these more effectively, your business can avoid harmful pitfalls.

A very common issue when implementing talent intelligence is considering how the labor market in specific markets can impact organizational success. If there is insufficient labor supply, knowing that in advance allows an organization to develop programs to ensure success. Also, understanding how competition in markets can impact those programs is key.

Case Study (Early Career Program)

At a prior organization, I developed an early career program strategy to address their past failures. This was important because lack of qualified labor would prevent their ability to grow the business over the next several years. During a meeting with executive leaders, I proposed focusing on second-tier state schools; places where we could be a large fish in a small pond.

One of the leaders asked why we were not focusing on a specific larger, more prestigious university. I explained the issue was the data showed our wages were not competitive of starting wages for graduates at that school within the programs we would target. The school was also located an hour from the closest branch location and the city only had one branch, which would make engaging candidates tough, and placements would require relocation.

Using data, we were able to show which universities would allow us to compete effectively within budget. We then matched those schools to locations in which the business demand would grow and/or cluster markets where we had multiple locations. This meant our local advocates could engage students and place them with limited relocation increasing our odds of success.

Launching this data backed strategy, we were able to meet organizational goals for the first time ever.

Candidate Profiles

Another good example of using “talent intelligence” is developing candidate profiles, the unique knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies needed to succeed at a high level. This is useful not only for external candidate pipeline but internal development programs.

Leveraging employee performance data and backgrounds, you can identify common traits (experience, competencies, etc.) For labor supply, you can then use data from public sources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) or paid sources like Lightcast, or CareerBuilder that compile data from places like the Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) to build a comprehensive picture of the talent landscape within a given market.

For internal promotions use data that shows what jobs people held prior to their promotion. If 50% of your branch managers are internal promotions, would it be helpful to know what  those candidates share in common?

Case Study (Career Paths)

One of the projects I worked on was data analysis of recruiting trends for a major equipment rental company. Part of this project was assessing what roles people held before being promoted into a specific role.

Through this data, we noticed a unique trend among Yard Associates. This role was presumed to be a pathway for promotion into a mechanic role within the maintenance shop. The reality is it often was promoted into a counter sales role, which was also the most common source of outside sales representative promotions.

Why would the Yard Associate (a role checking out and checking in equipment) lead to outside sales? When we reviewed the intelligence, the answer was clear – They were the first and last person customers met so they were great at customer service. They also explained how the equipment worked so they were knowledgeable of a variety of types of equipment and their use.

Benefiting From Talent Intelligence

To be truly successful, here are some basic steps to ensure your success:

  1. Clearly define the issue you seek to measure & how it relates to the overall issues the business face.
  2. Collect your data from your human resources information system (HRIS), applicant tracking systems (ATS), performance evaluations, employee surveys. Consider what external sources of market data are available.
  3. Analyze the data to identify patterns, trends and correlations.
  4. Consider how to avoid:
    • Confirmation bias
    • Too small of a data set
    • Bias or homogenization implications (for example: pulling from one region instead of nationally)

Done properly, talent intelligence can help you make data driven decision. Strategies around available labor supply, candidate pipeline channels, and recruitment strategies. Branding and recruitment messaging can also be impacted positively.

By proactively using data and analytics to gain a deeper understanding, organizations can drive talent acquisition strategies that attract and retain top talent to ensure their success.

Tim Koirtyohann

Tim is the founder of Charitable Recruiting, a recruiting solutions provider focused on making a difference in the communities served. Based in Dallas/Fort Worth, Tim has provided international recruiting strategies & support to companies like Sunbelt Rentals, Reece USA, & others to help solve labor supply issues. Charitable Recruiting offers consulting in contingent/retained searches, data analytics, and talent acquisition strategy/technology solutions to improve recruiting outcomes.