It is always difficult to predict the external factors that impact your business – especially during a difficult economic cycle. IT can be significantly easier to leverage internal factors that affect business performance, and I am encouraged to see that businesses are paying more attention to one factor supremely under their control – their own talent. Even the biggest room full of robots and computers will lose efficiency and stop working without a little human help.
Most businesses keep talent data isolated (on purpose, no less) in its own data silo, isolated from other critical business performance data. In some organizations, the talent data only exists in the ultimate isolation silo – inside a manager’s head and intuition. Executives continue to struggle with the mystery of correlating employees with business performance, yet there is little chance this can happen since the two data sets have never met.
There is now good research focusing on the correlation between business results and factors like attrition, skills, and compensation. We call this talent meta-data. Though an important step in the right direction, business will be well served to move onwards and look more deeply at the talent themselves, rather than the wrappers of meta-data around the talent.
Once talent data is allowed to break the bonds of its silo, it can be combined with critical enterprise performance data. Then and only then, business leaders can take the more advanced step to objectively, quantitatively track and find patterns, trends and projections between enterprise talent and desired outcomes.
We have many ideas and visions about how enterprises can blend talent information, qualitatively and quantitatively, with other critical business data. Here are a few:
- What if Sales Forecasting software were able to consider the characteristics of sales reps? Would your sales funnel be more accurate if its algorithms considered the way the rep works and thinks? Rather than more simplistic guesses, plus or minus a fudge factor, it’s possible to better estimate the probability of closing a deal or a sales rep making their numbers in a very difficult economy.
- What if a service call center could quantitatively correlate performance with a variety of innate talent factors? A joint regression or factor analysis of “what makes the best performers tick” would let managers predict successful candidates, allocate resources to the best location, and guide compensation that motivates.
- What if the above analysis of call center agents’ performance yielded a talent benchmark for top performers? (Only possible when talent numbers are combined and correlated with performance numbers). Such a performance-driven benchmark could inform hiring, intelligently screening candidates to the right area of the call center. Such a benchmark could even generate custom behavioral interview questions that are completely unique between the candidate and that specific position.
The idea is simple. People drive and execute your business vision.
The most effective businesses are finding ways to take advantage of our currently adverse business environment to focus on factors more in their control. Releasing talent information from its silo, to combine with all other critical performance data, is an important step towards finding factors that directly impact enterprise performance.
Written by: Greta Roberts, CEO – Talent Analytics, Corp.