Jon Addison: Why analytics should be your secret weapon in the war for talent

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Why analytics should be your secret weapon in the war for talent

Earlier this year, unemployment in the UK reached its lowest level for forty years. Less than one in 20 – or 3.9 per cent – of UK workers are now out of work.

Record employment has naturally contributed to a record number of job vacancies as the labour market grows tighter. With demand for quality candidates higher than ever, wages are on the up.

But while that’s good news for workers, it’s creating a more challenging environment for businesses – particularly for HR and recruitment teams with vacancies to fill and growing skills gaps to close. Posting a job ad and waiting for the applications to come flooding in just won’t cut it anymore.

So, how can businesses win the evolving battle for talent?

For me, the answer lies in analytics. Much has been said about the transformative power of this ever-developing field, and with good reason. Unlike so many fads that come and go, real-time workforce analytics truly have the power to change the way talent professionals do their jobs for the better.

Adopting analytics

According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Global Recruiting Trends report, AI and data were two of the fastest growing talent trends. There has been a significant 49 per cent increase YoY in UK professionals listing HR analytics on their profiles. It’s encouraging to see that some UK talent professionals and businesses are equipping teams with the necessary skills that will maximise the wealth of insights available on candidates, companies and competitors.

But despite the significant growth in this specific skill set, at present only 19 per cent of companies across Europe have actually adopted HR analytics. With a tight labour market making the battle for talent fiercer than ever, it’s crucial that businesses are using the most powerful tools at their disposal to ensure they can identify the talent they need to reach their specific business goals.

The advent of new technology has opened up the market for talent. There are more than 630 million members worldwide on LinkedIn alone, including 27 million in the UK – that’s approximately 86 per cent of working people in the country.

This huge wealth of information works for both employees and employers. Candidates are now better armed in the job hunt than ever before, with access to an abundance of information on what a company is like and suitable job opportunities before they even walk through the door. At the same time, HR professionals have a comprehensive understanding of the current UK workforce at their fingertips. But where should talent professionals and businesses start when faced with these hundreds of thousands of data points and insights?

Turning data into actionable insights

When trying to solve a challenge you have to first define what the issue is. Finding talent is the obvious place to start. By making the most of the vast intelligence available on candidates, businesses no longer have to “go with their gut feeling” when making decisions about who they hire, how they structure teams, where they open offices and how they create competitive talent strategies.

But the use of analytics shouldn’t – and doesn’t – stop there. It can be used to tackle a wide range of talent related challenges: from what skills gaps need to be plugged in your organisation, to where you should open your next office, to figuring out who your main competitors for talent are. Knowing what puzzle you’re trying to solve makes data work harder, and smarter.

I think part of the reason why only a small number of businesses have currently adopted analytics, is a lack of understanding around the variety of issues it can actually solve. For many, there is a perception that insights are only useful to those with an immediate demand for talent. But while dedicating time and resource to data insights may not feel like a priority right now, competitors won’t necessarily have the same attitude.

Procuring programmers in Poland

Intel is a great example of a business who used insights to meaningfully support their international growth. The Polish team at Intel were seeking individuals skilled in the programming languages C and C++. The team had a limited budget for sourcing the talent they needed, so turned to data and analytics to help them use their resource as efficiently as possible. What LinkedIn data revealed was large populations of Intel’s desired talent based in Krakow and Warsaw. Competitive insights further revealed that talent in Warsaw was working across many different companies whereas in Krakow it was largely concentrated in a few top organizations.

Using this data, the team built a strategy to run a highly targeted billboard campaign in Krakow and received buy-in from engineering leadership. This campaign, coupled with a recruitment event in the area, led to an impressive 20per cent increase in visits to Intel’s careers site.

This is just one of many examples that are testament to the power of data and analytics. It is my hope that we see growing numbers of businesses adopting and embracing the transformational power of analytics to build better and stronger teams.

Interested in HR analytics? We recommend the Mission Critical HR Analytics Summit 2019.

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About Jon Addison

Jon Addison joined LinkedIn in 2016 as Head of Talent Solutions in the UK. In his role, Jon is responsible for the strategic direction of LinkedIn UK’s Talent Solutions business and works with staffing and recruitment firms to help them find the talent they need to succeed.

Before joining LinkedIn, Jon was Vice President of Sales at Oracle Managed Cloud Services where he was responsible for leading the sales organization across EMEA. Prior to this, he worked in consulting and sales roles in technology businesses such as Cap Gemini, Misys and OpenText.

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