By Alison Ettridge, Talent Intuition

Earlier this month we enjoyed co-hosting a round table with The HR Director Magazine’s Jason Spiller and a diverse group of HRDs and CHROs in London. We were keen that this discussion should bring to light real solutions to people strategy challenges and I think we could sum up the key takeaway as realising the power of bringing workforce and workplace intelligence together.

People analytics are BAU

Most of the group have a good grip on their internal people analytics and are equipped with data capability for interrogating internal rhythms such as changes in attraction and retention that inform resource planning. However, very few have a wider vision of the external talent market which provides a perspective on other market forces.

One participant from Tata Consultancy Services (which has experienced rapid growth and a spike in hiring for tech talent) said the business really understands how data should influence what they were doing. However, accessing that external data, live, and in a useable format has until now, been difficult.

Working towards the zero-vacancy organisation

As businesses increasingly look to enter new markets, this external vision of talent becomes even more critical in order to understand skills supply and demand, employer brand perceptions and employee expectations. We had an active discussion on the skills crisis and the extent to which we as HRDs can influence business strategy.

In organisations where the HR team fully understands the external workforce and local skills in their markets, leaders can manage their entire projects, resources, and even organisational design around where skills are. This is the vision of the ‘zero-vacancy organisation’ in which businesses know how, and where, they will access the skills they need to keep their growth plans on track.

Exploring the potential of external data

I gave a quick synopsis of a recent report to which we contributed: ‘Talent Intelligence: Why, what and how’ which showed how external talent intelligence can provide business insight on location feasibility, competitors, talent availability and skills, salary benchmarking and the total cost of people and skills in a market. Our research found that in where talent intelligence has become part of BAU activities (Philips for example), the use of external talent data is no longer seen as value-add, but a pre-requisite when designing talent strategies. Another step towards the zero-vacancy organisation.

Although most companies are not yet using talent intelligence systematically, the direction of our discussion reflected the growing importance of access to big people and talent data that shows the location of key skills. Using this data to drive decisions around location, talent models, organisation design and diversity is something we all have appetite for.

I’m not going to share the details of our discussion here because they will be published in the June edition of The HR Director Magazine so sign up to receive the issue on The HR Director’s website here. Thank you to The HR Director Magazine for organising and chairing such a high-quality discussion and thank you to all our participants for your ideas and perspectives, it was a hugely insightful afternoon with you all.

To find out more about Talent Intuition and how we provide this view of the market please get in touch.