Talent Management to Talent Analytics - A Paradigm Shift

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on April 21, 2015

Talent Management, having recently completed twenty years in the ambit of HR Technology has steadily been paving way for the new buzzword in the discipline – Talent Analytics. Talent Analytics, or People Analytics, has in no time established itself as the most prominent advancement in a sphere which has been witness to both incremental progress and umpteen sea changes which have swept through it since its inception. Belonging to the latter category, Talent Analytics has distinguished itself from its predecessor owing to its basic approach which is highly pinpointed in nature – targeting the main source of data – the talent itself, instead of hovering around it, as envisaged by Talent Management which gauges the circumstantial data around the data pertaining to talent (metadata).

Talent Management: A Backdrop

Talent Management came to the forefront in the early 1990s as far as HR Technology is concerned by making employee management an organization wide function as opposed to the previously accepted compartmentalization of the same as being dedicated to the Human Resource department only. This departure necessitated advanced software facilitating collecting, integrating and presenting a single view of various facets of talent on a single platform. Technological enhancements made to talent management solutions over this time have enabled them to operate with a wider purview of attrition data, training and development procedures, competency tracking, resume tracking etc.


As stated earlier, Talent Management relies on talent metadata which hinders its effectiveness. This is due to two reasons. Firstly, the data collected is activity based which makes it difficult to be mapped to the real-time business scheme of the organization. Secondly, and more profoundly, since metadata hovers around the actual data instead of using it directly, the whole methodology becomes an indirect evaluation of talent. While there’s no denying the fact that Talent Management has added a lot of value to HR Technology by delivering innovative solutions, it is time to look forward to something radically different.

Talent Analytics: Big Data in HR

Talent Analytics has made its foray into the industry not too long ago as an extremely potent tool for the recruitment and retention of top talent, report generation, succession planning and the likes. Its adaptability to adjust to changing business environment and needs has undisputedly made it the future of HR Technology.

As per Forbes, the Big Data and Analytics market is poised to be worth 125 billion dollars in 2015. Gartner expects it to generate revenues worth 3.7 trillion US dollars via products and services and to create 4.4 million new jobs during the same period. Though marketing and consumer business are recipients of the bulk of the fanfare surrounding this revolution, the manifestations of the usefulness of Big Data to Human Resources cannot be underestimated. Talent Analytics has found a way to better understand employees and potential hires. Firms today, in their attempts to answer questions regarding the factors that do or do not drive the workforce and the determinant bringing out stand-out performances in employees and leaders – questions for which the requisite understanding was thought to be only an art, are looking at Science as the answer! To that end, real-time data mining on aspiring candidates and organizational strategy is fashioning an unprecedented amalgamation of science and the art of talent recruitment and management.

A lot of companies either simply create a conventional data warehouse for HR and talent data along with leveraging business intelligence (BI) applications on top, or employ the data federation technology to collect and integrate data from distinct sources into a virtual database. A multitude of vendors also offer dedicated Human Resource and Talent Analytics software products. These enable organizations world over to forecast employee performance, mitigate attrition and the risks involved in hiring by the means of predictive analysis. The data obtained from this analysis is used to design hiring, training, personnel programs and also to make the company adept with regards to imminent changes, with the viewpoint that improvement on all these counts will eventually boost its bottom line.

The effects of these quantitative probes are tangible. Hence, increasingly, many firms are treading on the path shown by them. For instance, through quantitative analysis, according to AT&T and Google, an established initiative-taking ability is a far better predictor of a good showing on the job unlike most companies who tend to believe that academic excellence and fancy degrees translate directly to high performance. Many professional sports teams have been leading users of Talent Analytics, a case in point being AC Milan, which, as mentioned by Harvard Business Review, to protect its investments, fabricated an in-house research unit which helps the team gauge its players’ health and fitness and make agreement related decisions by employing around 60,000 data points for each player. The social footprint of prospective job candidates as well as the existing workforce is also being fed into the Talent Analytics’ machinery and the results being scrutinized with great interest. Cognizant, having done the same, with special emphasis on blogs, claims that bloggers were more satiated and engaged than the rest, in addition to being 10% better when it came to average performance in the workplace.

Even though Talent Analytics has taken out the element of uncertainty from HR Technology, many companies still aren’t feeling confident about their capabilities in the area. A study by Deloitte, in 2014, said that while 78 per cent of the participating companies (having a minimum of 10,000 employees) positioned HR and Talent Analytics as “urgent” or “important,” in their scheme of things, only 55 percent of the same companies adjudged themselves “ready” concerning it. Therefore, the biggest challenge for HR foremen across organizations is to foster the assembly of potent cross-functional teams weaving together IT, HR and Business Operations skills in such a way that this buzzword “Talent Analytics” is made to realize its true potential.

This article has been authored by B S Gaurav & Prateek Kapoor from SCMHRD


• www.dupress.com

• Harward Business Review

• www.forbes.com

• www.talentanalytics.com

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