While it’s been clear for well over a decade that the returns on investing in human capital now outweigh the other investment choices in front of a firm’s senior management team, and that the collection and analysis of HR data can help markedly in deciding which of those talent investments to make, many firms’ capabilities for doing so remain in their infancy.
So there is general agreement that building up these “talent analytics” abilities should be a focus for HR, but there is far less agreement on how to establish and structure it all. For example, should talent analytics be centralized in a single function? How many staff are needed to create an effective talent analytics team? What responsibilities should that team have?
Data from a recent survey of over 200 talent analytics professionals across the globe produced four quick observations about the state of talent analytics.
A dedicated talent analytics function is by far the most common structure: Just over 50% of HR organizations have a single dedicated talent analytics function within HR.
Most other organizations ask HR staff to take on analytics responsibilities (19%) or have dedicated talent analytics staff in different areas of HR (12%).
Talent analytics team size is mostly a function of organization size: Smaller HR organizations are – unsurprisingly – much more likely to have small talent analytics teams.
The size of talent analytics team vary more in larger organizations, but in general, they are substantially larger compared to organizations with fewer than 25,000 employees.
Most heads of talent analytics report to top HR leaders: About 26% of heads of talent analytics report directly to the chief human resources officer (CHRO).
Just under a fifth (17%) report to a head of talent management, and another 32% have direct reporting lines into other senior HR leaders. This means that most talent analytics leaders in HR sit one or two levels below the CHRO.
Talent analytics teams tend to focus on reporting and ad hoc requests: The most common talent analytics staff activities are creating talent data reports, and completing ad hoc data requests from the business and HR leaders.
Less commonly, talent analytics staff are responsible for project-based modeling or analytics studies (74%), workforce planning (49%), HRIS or other HR technology management (41%), and HR application and technology development (33%).