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Talent measurement is one of the most useful and underemployed tactics available to managers

Collecting data on employees’ view of their role, and their performance of it – or talent metrics as it’s known – provides a healthy payoff for managers.

Used correctly, the insight generated by these data can increase sales, improve customer satisfaction and reduce costs. And, the more aligned an organization’s HR strategy is to its corporate strategy, the greater the benefits.

For example, a major public service provider we worked with needed to deliver at least as a good a service as it had been on less money, while avoiding mass layoffs. By understanding more about its workforce, the organization was able to give people the opportunity to move into jobs to which they were better suited. As a result, $162 million was saved over three years, customer satisfaction increased, and fewer jobs were lost.

What HR Departments Are Missing

Despite the benefits of using talent metrics, many organizations still do not use them effectively. What makes this even more surprising is that HR is seen as “essential to business strategy” by many firms. There are few other areas of the corporate world where something so important is measured sporadically.

Indeed, managers sometimes seem to put more rigor into choosing players for fantasy football teams than they do their workforce.

The CEB “Global Assessment Trends Report” backs up this reluctance to use talent data. Only half of respondents in the survey collected data that showed the value of HR investments or said they used talent data to inform business decisions, despite 73% viewing HR as a “strategic function.”

So a significant proportion of HR departments are missing a clear opportunity to use talent measurement to directly influence business decisions. There are also numerous ways for HR to store and collect valuable data, and use the results to improve their organization’s performance.

The Tangible Value of Talent Measurement

The “Talent Measurement Effect” report shows that having objective insight into the skills and potential of job candidates and employees can produce remarkable results. Barclays and Microsoft provide good examples.

Barclays’ HR team collect talent metrics and demonstrate how using this information had a clear effect on their productivity, halving the time it takes new cashiers to be ready to work from six weeks to three.

On top of this the HR team reduced no-shows at interview to less than 4% from 20%, and provided a conversion rate of 1:2 at interview for most roles.

Finally, the use of talent metrics helped Microsoft hire high-quality talent faster, with the average time-to-hire process reduced from 30 to 25 days. This boosted the recruitment team’s productivity and helped reduced the likelihood of their best candidates accepting rival job offers.

A Better Understanding of Talent

Using data to provide this kind of insight about talent allows organizations to predict how successful an employee will be in a role. This produces better hiring strategies and, as a result, improved performance, which can be tracked over time. It also avoids hiring the wrong people, which is both expensive and time-consuming.

The benefit of using talent measurement cannot be underestimated. A growing number of organizations employ an objective assessment of their people to inform important decisions. Using metrics gives businesses a way to align their talent more effectively and demonstrate a tangible return on investment.