The topic of workforce analytics has been discussed a lot recently by major business publications like Forbes and HBR. This tells you how important it’s become for firms to leverage data to optimize their most important (and expensive) asset, their workforce. Indeed, as author and consultant Tim Ringo succinctly described it in his recent HBR article, “the goal [of workforce analytics] is simple, put the people with the right skills in the right work.”
While Ringo is certainly close and skills are valuable to map across the organization, there’s an even greater opportunity to extend the business value of analytics by including data about the people doing the work themselves in addition to skills and the other workforce metrics such as attrition or headcount.
For example, IBM’s 2011 “Inside the Midmarket” worldwide study identified 79% of surveyed midsized firms are focusing on customers, growth and innovation. The remaining 21% focusing on increasing efficiency and reducing costs. Of the majority of organizations that are focused on innovation and growth, it would be interesting to find out how many of those surveyed organizations know how innovative their workforce is in the aggregate? After all, if becoming more innovative is a strategic priority across the organization and the people doing the work are charged with executing the business strategy, knowing where the innovators are inside the organization and what they are driven by is the first step to retaining them.
Collecting talent analytics from the innovators themselves – quantified talent traits about the way people accomplish their day-to-day work and what drives them- is a way for mid market executives to more accurately forecast the gap between the business demand and talent supply. Once the data is combined with other workforce analytics like attrition and headcount, deeper workforce insights can be gleaned from the data through trends, such as:
- Workforce Analytics: Voluntary attrition rate was 15% last year.
- With Talent Analytics: Of the 15% who left the company, there was a noticeable trend that 75% were naturally innovative.
- Yielding questions like: How can we adjust our incentives to ensure we retain our innovators?
Another opportunity specific to a Sales organization would be to look at Top performers.
- Workforce Analytics: There were 75 top sales performers across the organization last year.
- With Talent Analytics: Of the 75 top performing sales reps, the majority are driven to results and advancement.
- Yielding questions like: In hiring, how can we better design job advertisements to appeal to candidates driven towards results and advancement?
These are just some brief examples of ways talent analytics data can be used by mid market firms to dive deeper into their workforce. Would your organization benefit from knowing more about the impact of the people doing the work on performance?
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.