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Using data to shape your post-COVID hiring strategy

As businesses look to revamp their operations and recover from the uncertainty of COVID-19, one of the most important – yet potentially overlooked – investments organizations can make this year is in talent analytics.

The pandemic has emphasized the importance of making numbers-driven decisions when it comes to workforce strategy, and companies are looking for ways to convert ever-increasing amounts of data into valuable insights, particularly with regards to how they acquire and utilize talent and promote diversity and inclusion within their organizations.

Legendary engineer W. Edwards Deming famously said, “Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion,” and business leaders are realizing that opinions alone aren’t enough to guide their talent strategy in the midst of an uncertain labor market that has measurable skills gaps. According to Randstad’s 2021 Talent Trends report, talent analytics are the technologies human capital leaders are currently investing in the most. In fact, one in five of those talent leaders stated they are investing in talent analytics as a direct result of the pandemic, while 90 percent said they plan on budgeting for talent data platforms once the pandemic subsides.

One major benefit a robust talent analytics platform can provide is the ability to quantify and advance diversity and inclusion initiatives within an organization. As we’ve seen, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected female workers, highlighted by the alarming figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that found that women accounted for all 140,000 jobs lost in December, with Black and Latina women being hit especially hard by recent job losses.

As companies look to re-engage with and recruit new talent, organizations should consider how the utilization of data and talent analytics can help set and track measurable goals to ensure diverse candidates are being sourced and interviewed. For example, multi-national chemical producer BASF uses talent supply data to identify and recruit female candidates for chemical manufacturing roles that, prior to the use of talent analytics, were filled predominantly with male candidates.

“We set metrics for our talent acquisition and diversity hiring goals and track progress via an analytics dashboard that also assesses workforce composition and retention,” said Allen Chilson, manager of strategic talent acquisition partnerships at BASF. “We require that all resumes presented to hiring managers – as well as all candidates interviewed – be 50 percent diverse, both in terms of gender and ethnicity. We also mandate that all interview panels be 50 percent diverse to provide a more welcoming and well-rounded interview experience for candidates. We then rely on our talent analytics platform to create daily reports to ensure those goals are being met.”

In addition to using analytics to drive diverse recruiting and workforce composition initiatives, data visualization can also help companies better understand what they are spending on talent, the availability of skills within their organization and insights into workforce planning. The pandemic has highlighted the fact that, despite COVID-19 work separations resulting in a large, available talent pool, 40 percent of talent leaders surveyed in Randstad’s Talent Trends report said that they are still struggling to find qualified talent to meet their business needs.

With the anticipated distribution of various coronavirus vaccines in greater supply the coming months, and hiring expected to improve, businesses will need deep analytical competencies to hire the best talent in a competitive market. Human capital leaders can use tools like predictive analytics to identify the skills their businesses need most and deploy contingent, flexible talent to ensure business agility during this uncertain economic environment.

Yet simply investing in these technologies is just the first step for organizations looking to take a more data-driven approach to their talent strategy. Beyond adopting the technologies, human capital leaders must provide talent analytics and digital fluency training broadly across their organizations so that employees feel able and empowered to incorporate the insights into their workflows. It is also critical that talent leaders communicate the importance of these initiatives to senior leadership to ensure the successful buy-in and implementation of these valuable tools.

There is no question that COVID-19 has forced countless businesses to re-examine their approach to how they engage and recruit talent. Despite a large number of available workers, talent scarcity and a growing skills gap will only increase demand for candidates with the most coveted skills. Now, more than ever, talent leaders must rely on data to guide their human capital strategy. Talent analytics can help organizations determine what skills they need most and provide a competitive advantage when it comes to attracting a diverse, skilled and qualified workforce as quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

 

This article was written by Rebecca Henderson from Forbes and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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