There’s data and there is knowledge. Data is what it is…facts, numbers, or text, not necessarily yet useful on its own, it’s just data. But data can be collected and put together such that it provides answers and meaning — this is knowledge. This is Part 2 of a 3 part series on Supersizing your Recruiting function — it’s a bit lengthy, but I hope it illustrates why and how we can elevate our profession beyond being order-takers, facilitating butts in seats…
Part 1: Using Data to Drive Decisions
Part 2: Data vs. Knowledge
Part 3: A Case Study
Before we can have Knowledge we must take the time to identify and collect the Data first — that is before we can connect the dots, we must collect the dots. Half the battle will be identifying the data we need — and knowing where to find it in our world of disparate systems and data sources. Ask yourself the following questions to help with this identification process :
What do you need?
What is important to you, your team, and your organization?
What will help you, your team, and your organization make decisions?
What do you need to provide?
* Experience, Expertise
* Education (where, degree, gpa, test scores,… – who knows what can be important)
* Performance & Development
Even data that exists outside of organization could be useful, such as
* Job market data/trends
* Job reports
I remember last year, Eric Winegardner, from Monster, absolutely astounding an audience at a Recruiting SIG meeting of TAG (Technology Association of Georgia, a large technology based professional association….) with job market data and trends. Not just data and statistics, but what it meant and how they could help their organizations prepare – and drive better decisions. I know it probably set some sort of download record that rest of that week at Monster’s site — and if they were smart they got on the email list for the monthly Monster Employment Index reports – or at least some source of regular job market data.
There really could be sources of very valuable data within your vendor partners as described above, where you least expect it. I was completely blown away at a briefing I did at SHRM National, back in June in Atlanta, as part of the Press team with a company called TALX (now Equifax Workforce Solutions)…a provider of HR, Payroll, and Tax Management Solutions. What struck me as fascinating when speaking with their President, Dann Adams, is that outside of the valuable services they provide to their customers, the data they are sitting on is off the chain and they get it. They are actively looking for ways their data can help arm their HR customers with knowledge to drive better business decisions for their organizations. For instance, we can tell our leaders we need different or better benefits…but what if you could actually show them that if they offer X, the results would be Y.
Exercise: First understand your corporate objectives — then outline by each objective, how does what you or your team do match up? Now you have focus…
Searching the data
You have your collection of data now – hopefully. How will you search or extract it? Make sure you understand how your search tool works – all the ins & outs. If it doesn’t work well – or you don’t know it, get it in a tool that is better or you know better.
Interpret – What happened?
I love this line from a post done by Jean Paul Isson: “Business intelligence (BI) has exactly the same objective as the employment selection process: interpreting past data to forecast results and drive business decisions”. BI is the heart of what we should be providing to elevate our value to the organization — Tell what happened.
Analysis – Why?
Now that you know what happened — you must look for why. That is where analysis comes in – so you can then figure out what needs to happen to make it better. This is where you can start to bring in your historical or performance data as well as information such as market trends, job reports, and any other data that will help…
Forecast/Predict — Like…
* Find/target more and better quality candidates
* Improve candidate assessment and recruiting processes
* Make better hiring decisions
More and more organizations are using assessment tools to help gain insights into a person’s personality, behaviors, work style, motivations, energy, etc – all in an effort to predict performance, fit, even the ability to retain. And no discussion of this nature would be complete without the implications of Big Data and what impact it will have as time moves forward. That is for another post, but I will leave you with one recent article to reference, courtesy of the
WSJ online called “Meet the New Boss: Big Data” about companies replacing hunch-based hiring with computer modeling — just to whet your appetite.
To illustrate this point, I will use a story…
Let’s look at Starbucks – is it the best coffee? I don’t know… it’s pretty darn good… But have I had better? Sure. Have I had worse? Oh hell yes. The point is there will always be someone who can take what you have done — product or service — and do as good, maybe better. But what makes them different?
Their people — you usually have a consistent experience by knowledgeable, well-trained baristas. I know there are always exceptions, but for the most part their people seem happy, my order never gets screwed up, they have never been out of what I wanted, etc. Why is that? Their ability to manage information. They don’t hold their data and analytics up in their IT depts — or in their C-suites, making unilateral, top down decisions. No — they push that information down into their cafes, so that their managers can make informed decisions on hiring, staffing, ordering/stocking, etc. based on their unique locations and needs.
Another example to illustrate this point — Talent shortages are kind of a hot button for me. But to address, first we have to improve on how we define and target talent. We can’t make more people magically appear where there are few to be found — especially for most of us who may not have the biggest name, salaries, benefits, etc to compete for that talent against those that do. To address those shortages or shortfalls — we need to open ourselves to what talent we should be seeking. This new type of talent may be from a tier 2 or tier 3 school, and they may not have any experience in your industry, or in some cases, any experience at all. If you are trying to grow your team, use the knowledge you have amassed to create your own definition of talent, identify the traits that they need, and hire and maybe even develop people who fit the bill.
Next Tuesday in Part 3, in the final part of the series, I will actually step through a past hiring project as a case study on how these concepts were used to fund and drive a successful recruiting project. See you then…Share