The Future of Hiring and Keeping “Data Geeks” is Talent Analytics

Talent Analytics Gains Momentum photo (data analytics careers)

Author: Linda Rosencrance – Spotfire Blogging Team

Talent Analytics Gains Momentum photo (data analytics careers)

Author: Linda Rosencrance – Spotfire Blogging Team

This month the blogging team scribed a series of blog posts about “data geek” career opportunities and hiring challenges.  The “data geek” term and skill set were introduced to us by TEC’s BI research analyst, Jorge Garcia (@jgptec) in the series first post.

We continue this popular series with a post on how companies are using analytics to hire and keep their top performers (including their “data geeks”) to gain a competitive advantage.


According to an article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), top companies like Google, Best Buy, P&G, and Sysco are using sophisticated data-collection technology and analysis to weed out their leading performers; empower and motivate their workers to do the best jobs they can and determine if investing in employees affects their performance.

The article’s authors said companies use a variety of data analytics tools to improve the way they attract and retain talent, connect their employee data to business performance, differentiate themselves from competitors, and more. According to the authors, Harrah’s Entertainment used metrics to evaluate the effects of its health and wellness programs on employee engagement and the bottom line.

The authors offer six key ways in which companies track, analyze, and use data about their people. They go on to show that companies that compete on talent analytics manage data and technology at an enterprise level, support what analytical leaders do, choose realistic targets for analysis, and hire “data geeks”  with strong interpersonal skills as well as broad expertise.

“If you want better performance from your top employees—who are perhaps your greatest asset and your largest expense—you’ll do well to favor analytics over your gut instincts,” according to the article. That means if your company doesn’t get with the program, it will be trampled by the competition.

But employing analytics tools is only half the battle. To make sense of all that HR data,  businesses understand that they have to enlist the help of data scientists.

Recently, Brian Gaspar, HCM (Human Capital Management) Product Strategy Director at Oracle Corp., gave a webinar on discussing the future of HCM analytics that included an online poll focused on what companies were spending on HCM analytics. Seventy-five percent of the 350 attendees responded to the poll.

Here are the questions and answers:

Poll Question #1: Does your company have 1 or more workers dedicated to HCM analytics?

Yes: 49% Respondents have 1 or more workers dedicated to HCM analytics.

No: 51% Respondents have less than 1 worker dedicated to HCM analytics.

Poll Question #2: Does your company spend more than 1% of its business intelligence budget on HCM analytics?

Yes: 1% of respondents say their company spends more than 1% of the BI budget on HCM analytics.

No: 38% of respondents say their company spends less than 1% of the BI budget on HCM analytics.

Don’t Know: 51% of respondents say they do not how much their company spends on HCM analytics.

Gaspar admits that the numbers are a bit bleak for HR in terms of the percentage of a company’s analytics budget it actually gets. However, he said the main takeaway of the poll is that a company’s leadership doesn’t get what it needs from HR with its traditional HCM analytics offerings. Traditional HCM analytics doesn’t provide enough of a ROI for business, he said.

The future of HCM analytics is workforce prediction—to know what’s going on with your workforce, uncover potential workforce problems, and easily turn that insight into action, Gaspar said. HCM analytics helps companies succeed by enabling them to know their people better, determine how they will be affected by impending retirements and ensure they’re prepared, as well as predict which skills they will need in the future—all of which have already proven to have a good ROI, Gaspar said.

“Using HR analytics to gain insights, develop ‘what if’ scenarios or lay out a series of alternative options, enables firms to be prepared for any eventuality,” said Mark Conway, Director, Product Marketing, Business Intelligence, for Oracle, in a blog. “With today’s volatile markets, being nimble is a key competitive advantage. With the right processes and analytics tools in place, HR can deliver the kinds of insights to effectively manage an organization’s workforce, performance and agility.”

The next post in the series will present another key strategy for building your company’s “data geek” talent and assuring BI success – training. Just follow us on twitter or subscribe to Trends and Outliers to receive an alert when the post publishes.