SmartRecruiters Blog

What are Workforce Analytics, and How Can They Work for You?

Tech advancement is not slowing down, and as recruiters to struggle to find the best permutations for their HR needs, a bit of guidance of the latest trend is in order.

Speaking in jargonese, workforce analytics blend software and methodology that apply statistical models to worker-related data, allowing organizations to optimize their Human Resource Management. Sometimes referred to as descriptive analytics, this is helpful to understand, at an aggregate level, what is going on in your organization.

Tracking employee and candidate data to analyze in order to make better recruiting decisions, is a tried and tested strategy. What’s interesting now is the trend toward predictive and prescriptive analytics.

Recruiters are embracing rapid technological growth, not just because ATS systems continue to improve, but because the data they provide is changing their jobs for the better. Most notably, with a proper ATS in place, there’s a lot more recruiting and a lot less administration.

Workforce analytics gather data from enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and point of sale (POS) systems. The blending of data from these seemingly disparate sources makes for a more robust way to predict outcomes, and there are several software options to integrate with your current HR programs. Review and recommendation sites can help you narrow down your CRM, POS, or ERP software choices to those that connect the best.

Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics:

As we uncover predictive and prescriptive analytics, let’s take a look at how they’re different. When using predictive analytics, we’re beginning to move away from the traditional descriptive methodology, and beginning to ask, “what could happen”? It’s a use of statistical models and techniques that combine historical data pulled from a company’s tech stacks to forecast the future.

For example, when asking questions like “Which workers are most likely to leave”, or “which internal associates or external candidates are the best job fit”, you can use the data at hand to assist in knowing where your resources are best used.

Now, as we talk about prescriptive analytics, we’re taking things a step forward. Prescriptive analytics uses optimization and simulation algorithms to advise on possible outcomes, and answers the question of “What should we do”? Attempting to quantify the effect of a decision before it’s made, it’s not only an attempt to predict what will happen, but why it’ll happen.

So how does this new trend in workforce analytics affect recruiters?

One of the most notable ways recruiters use data is in succession planning, as well as internal recruiting. In the past, recruiters were limited to the short list of usual suspects based on gut feeling, two annual reviews, and senior management recommendations. Now, succession planning can be done using real-time data. What’s more is that the candidate pool is deeper, going beyond the top five people being nominated in secret to looking at another level of the organization based upon transparent, employee-driven career goals and performance metrics.

Another area where recruiters are using workforce analytics is in trying to understand what an ideal candidate profile should look like. Based on data gathered from the top performers in each role, it’s become simpler to identify the types of candidates who will also thrive in those positions. From there, recruiters will know from which pools to source, such as within specific geographic regions, professional organizations, or schools.

As the use of big data is disrupting just about every industry, consider how workforce analytics can change your recruiting strategy, as you consider how the face of recruiting is moving from what’s worked in the past to a predictive and prescriptive analysis and decision-making process giving you the best picture of where you’re going.

Data is being used to ever better understand company culture and employee profiles to find best-fit candidates for the enterprise overall. When it comes to assessing and analyzing culture fit, it’s essential we realize that regardless of which boxes you’ve checked – diversity, ability to work specific hours – at the end of the day, if people don’t feel included and accepted, you’ll never keep them.

Jessica Barrett Halcom