One of the most overlooked yet critical characteristics of great leadership is knowing how to conduct vital business conversation. This is especially true of those in talent acquisition, as it’s simple to get caught up in the latest tool, trend or flashy platform available. Recruiting, at its core, is made up of communication skills and the ability to influence and lead others. The very same attributes are what make an incredible leader, in any vertical. Because it’s my mandate to “talk trends” here on the Broadbean blog, I want to tie this in with some of the latest research on data, forecasting and what’s coming in 2015.
Issue: Data Overload
Today’s leaders have data. Lots of it. The issue is formatting and decentralization. In order to even begin a business conversation about where your talent acquisition ROI is found, one must actually be able to sort and spot trends within the data. Simply put, like speaks to like. If leaders don’t have an effective way to collect, analyze, store and report on all the metrics they’re told to measure, finding an output that will satisfy everyone in the room is difficult. For instance, starting the conversation around additional investment in HR Technology might be difficult because your CFO cannot understand the return on the budget you’re using right now. In a survey by Mercer, CFOs reported that their organizations spent 36% of revenue on human expenses, but only 16% said they had anything more than a moderate understanding of the return on human capital investment.
The Conversation to have in 2015
2014 was all about convincing your higher ups that big data would transform your talent acquisition process. Have you delivered on that promise? If so, explain how you’ve done so and where the efficiencies were captured. Bonus points if you can explain the areas in which you’re reinvesting in the new year. If not, see if you can locate the stumbling blocks. Do you have the data, but no platform or staff to sort it? Are you still waiting on promised budget that was allocated elsewhere as your company pivoted?
Issue: You’re getting lapped
Some have the data and do NOT like the trends they’re spotting therein. If your competition is beating you in the recruiting game, focus on how you can prove it. While the issue of not having the funds, resources, people, or time to really use the insights you’re gleaning from your data is hardly unique — the projected growth in global data generated per year is 40% while global spending on IT is nudging up a mere 5% — it is still an issue for talent acquisition leaders, particularly those who are sold on the idea that “talent is the last competitive advantage."
The Conversation to Have in 2015
Base this on your industry, which is something the CEO and COO understand all too well. For example, if you’re in healthcare, you might bring up the piece of the $300 billion potential annual value to US healthcare that companies could (and should!) capture with big data. Start the conversation by pointing out that you can double down on your competitive advantage by having the budget and resources to back it up in the new year. According to McKinsey, 1.5 million more data-savvy managers are needed to take full advantage of big data, in the US alone.
Issue: We Already Have Metrics
You’ve set metrics across your recruiting department and your team is meeting them. Because of this success, your corporate team sees no reason to keep spending away on a department they still see as a cost center and have stamped your department a success. The only issue? You know you could be even more effective with additional data and insights to inform your strategy for 2015. Your execs aren’t alone in thinking this way, a recent report in the Harvard Business Review by researchers at the University of Minnesota has shown that using even the simplest of algorithms in the hiring process can improve the rate of success on the job by 25%.
The Conversation to Have in 2015
Metrics and analytics and big data are NOT the same things. In fact, while all are valuable to the talent acquisition process, the three are as different as tactics, strategy and research. As discussed above, simple is not bad, it’s just smart to start edging ahead of the competition when it comes to analyzing the mountains of data that come in through talent acquisition. This has led to the unofficial dubbing of talent analytics that are simple but still transformative as “medium data”. The ability to discuss the very real power of insights beyond standard metrics but before the scary specter of big data can be a balm to your overworked execs. Suggest simple algorithms, an easy to manage dashboard and no down time implementation tools to keep your big data goals moving forward year after year.
What business conversations are you prepping for this holiday season?
Let us know in the comments or tweet at us @BroadbeanInc!