Survey: Promise of Talent Analytics Remains Unrealized

Survey: Promise of Talent Analytics Remains Unrealized

A recent survey from the New Talent Management Network highlights the difficulty many employers are having when it comes to implementing an effective talent analytics program. The survey found that 85 percent of organizations were already conducting people analytics, while of those who aren’t, 69 percent plan to start in the next 12 months, meaning that over 95 percent of organizations are expected to use some type of people analytics in 2017.

Unfortunately, the authors write, most organizations haven’t gotten very far beyond the stage of establishing an analytics function, most are using relatively unsophisticated tools, and most are only collecting and analyzing basic data on metrics like turnover, time to hire, and engagement. In summary, their top-line findings were as follows:

  1. Big Promise; Small Reality: There’s significant discussion about people analytics but far less substantive work being done. In reality, most organizations are using the same tools that existed years ago to produce the same analyses companies have always produced. Excel remains the dominant analytical tool and turnover analysis remains the dominant statistic. There are good (not guaranteed great) things to come, but today companies lack confidence in their ability to produce anything other than basic insights.
  2. Backstabbing Data: The data that companies were counting on to release deep talent insights has stabbed them in the back. It turns out that the data is dirty – inconsistent, scattered, unreliable and sometimes just plain inaccurate. The lack of clean data is a reinforced brick wall blocking the road to HR analytic success. While companies say that lack of analytics software hinders their success, they should remember the old adage “garbage in; garbage out.”
  3. Lean, Green and Unloved: Companies aren’t confident in the capabilities of their admittedly new and small talent analytics teams. This may seem like a function of company size or investment, but we found that a larger team or more advanced platform doesn’t automatically translate to more confidence in the people analytics function. In a troubling finding, more companies said their people analytics team hinders their analytics work than helps it.

These findings square with what we at CEB have been hearing from our members: At a peer benchmarking session at our ReimagineHR conference in Miami last September, talent analytics professionals from a variety of organizations said their analytics functions were mostly still small, but growing, and while analytics was doing well at interpreting employee engagement and retention data, the key challenge for most participants was in using analytics to draw actionable insights and drive business decisions.