Attracting, retaining and developing talent at Google is serious business, and one that has paid off phenomenally. Reportedly, each Google employee generates an average of nearly $1 million in revenue and $200,000 in profits each year; a testament to the efforts Google puts into attracting the very best talent and making sure that the candidate experience is one that encourages their employees to stay for the long-term.
In the same way that it carries out research and development for its products and services, Google applies data collection and analysis to both potential and existing employees. Instead of the traditional HR format of decision-making based on assumptions, first impressions and relationship building, Google uses statistics and algorithms. As a result, it uses analytics to expand the candidate pipeline; improve decision making and identification of the best candidates; and make the hiring process fast and efficient.
Talent analytics – harnessing “big data” on employees to gain insights that can more tightly link HR and business strategy – is changing the way organisations view, analyse and harness their talent data. But whilst not all businesses have access to Google’s resources, how can smaller businesses take advantage of the same principles?
Focus on data, not relationships While most business departments make decisions based on hard facts, HR has traditionally relied on first impressions, hunches and relationships. In direct contrast, Google has one of the only data-driven HR functions; an approach which has resulted in it producing workforce productivity results that few can match. Big Data is making it far easier to plan ahead and prioritise. By using dashboards to obtain a single reporting view, organisations are able to take a more analytical and informed approach to appointing the right staff, confident that the data is accurate, subsequently delivering increases in revenues.
Ensure you’re attracting the right talent for your organisation: In Google’s short lifespan, it has grown from a two-man startup to an organisation with nearly 37,000 employees in 40 different countries. How have they successfully managed and integrated these new staff while motivating them to be consistently loyal, ambitious, innovative and productive? By defining what talent means to your organisation, you’re far more likely to recruit those individuals who are the right ‘cultural’ fit and ‘buy in’ to your organisation’s values and long-term goals. Engaged employees are not only more likely to stick around—helping to lower recruiting costs—but they’re also enthused and motivated. You therefore need to develop a clear, single view of who your key talent is and making sure those individuals are identified, managed and rewarded. Google, for example, uses data to figure out what makes effective leaders. Do you have the right technology in place to enable your organisation to manage this knowledge effectively? Technology is also proving to be an invaluable tool for staff benchmarking. Using data to analyse and compare the productivity and success of staff enables organisations to set a gold standard to aspire to. Failure to do this could mean you lose unengaged, disenchanted members of staff to other more dynamic organisations or they will stagnate, adding little or no value.
Start by learning from your current workforce: While historically, analytics has had more of a reporting function in HR, the advent of new dashboard capabilities and advanced analytics is changing that, allowing HR professionals to easily pull together metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), keeping the organisation’s long-term goals on track. By focusing on workforce planning, organisations can assess future requirements and match these to available talent. This can help to track how happy and engaged employees are, identify any underlying issues, and reveal team efficiency, productivity and staff retention.
Find the data that matters most While organisations are rich with data, it’s important to think about what information you really need. Rather than having to wade through thousands of time-consuming, as well as sometimes irrelevant reports, dashboards are designed to be quick, simple and accessible, providing a high level of instant information with the ability to drill down further where needed.
Check that your HR department is fully integrated with the rest of your organisation: HR departments often lack the resources and real time information to unify each step of the performance management process to provide that single view of employees which can be utilised to staff throughout their careers. Dashboard software automates the full requisition-to-hire process for senior talent and integrates it with HR management and payroll systems, processes can be fully joined up, providing complete visibility of performance and progression planning. Dashboard technology enables organisations to overhaul its people data by consolidating all the data sources into one digital dashboard providing a deeper strategic insight into their employees. They can then use that insight to proactively put the right teams and talent in place to effectively respond to their needs.
The bottom line? Data matters. But while analytics can help drive change, boost workforce engagement and enable strategic decision making, it’s important to amass data for its own sake but to look at how it can help the business grow. Successful businesses are good at aligning their work with strategic goals and then making sure this drives change and long-term success. So when thinking about analytics, ask yourself: what would Google do?