3 ways data will drive the future of HR
Antony Ugoni, Head of Marketplace Analytics at SEEK, sheds some thoughts on how data insights will help shape the future of HR.  

We know our job-seeking market rather well. At any one time we have over 100,000 job ads on SEEK and each month there are 30 million visits to the site to view those roles. We can confidently comment on employment trends, supply and demand in cities and classifications, and candidate behaviour. But to advise on HR evolution and describe what five years from now will look like, that takes vision. Or should I say data.

At SEEK, we believe that data is driving the future of HR. Data-driven talent insights is our, and soon to be your, secret weapon. There are five key data extraction and analysis techniques that, when applied to our industry, reveal a wealth of opportunity and shape our future. Here we explore three, and their real life application in our world of HR and employment:

Financial services – defection and retention (A.K.A. flight risk analysis)

The financial services sector has been focused on defection and retention for years. They have built specific models to better understand which customers are flight risks and when. So sophisticated are some of these models that they can be used to understand the drivers of defection, which in turn allows the organisation to plan their customer engagement points to intercept consumers and win them over before they defect.

HR can emulate a similar approach by using this mindset and applying the theory to employees. Firstly, identify high-risk performers and then the most attractive incentive to retain their employment. Don’t wait for signs of unhappiness or even a resignation, use this insight and the incentive to pre-empt the defection with praise and reward for performance, as well as ongoing engagement.

Online e-commerce – path to purchase (A.K.A. career path planning)

Online e-commerce and retail sites use analytics to understand how customers move through their site and identify the common behaviours that result in sales. This data can tell them when potential customers commonly drop out, when and where up-selling works and how quickly purchase decisions are made. Armed with this knowledge, they can then work to combat drop-out and rework the path to purchase to maximise sales.

We can take a similar approach. We need to take a detailed and objective look at how staff progress through their career within an organisation, identifying the key drop out points and typical length of employment. We need a better understanding of the important junctions of the career and how to fast-track key employees through. We also need to investigate which pipeline delivers the high-performing staff and how best to access this feed.

All organisations – financial planning (A.K.A. succession planning)

At a macro level, organisations use forecasting to understand how performance and market factors can influence sales opportunities, credit risk conditions and meeting budgets. This focus on risk factors allows them to model scenarios and possible outcomes and prepare responses in relation to these. As the saying goes, ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’.

HR can adopt a similar approach by using data to scenario-plan how factors can effect staff engagement, and in turn staff performance, and develop plans to mitigate this. This is also a great tool for succession planning, especially when you look at the loss of one or more significant or pivotal staff members in quick succession.

As we look to the future, it would be remiss to not learn from other industries that successfully use data and analytics to improve performance. The numbers are the future.