How to recognize and realize the value in big data

We tend to use data analytics to identify and target customers, to yield information that influences everything from product development to sales and customer service. Yet data analytics can be used for so much more. Data analytics reaches beyond the transactional aspects of assessing market cost, engaging suppliers and executing contracts; analytics is playing a key role in workforce planning, identifying the optimal choices for sourcing talent and constructing productive, lasting relationships.

Most companies have reached the point at which they can create a formal program office. Whether they keep it internal or establish it with the help of a workforce solutions company, companies can use the program center to develop and execute their workforce plans. Managed service providers (MSPs) can especially help to accomodate analytics within the traditional supply chain as well as address operating profiles and required talent, sourcing and management.

There are three things companies, their service providers and the workforce solutions partners can do to create value out of data and powerful analytics:

  • Workforce planning. Use data to test your current workforce planning and identify small steps you can take immediately to excel. Analytics enable you to see your exact state, including the metrics that work best for the type of workforce you need. The data may be big and your decisions more complex, but you can act in small, actionable steps. For example, if you are shifting your business from one location to another, or shifting from an outsourced model to a full-time team, you can use data to test your business case — in contained actions that enable you to adjust your strategy agilely.
  • Market expectations. Define efficiency in the context of market expectations and tailor it to your market opportunity. Just as you emphasize the speed of execution in staffing programs led by your MSPs, explore every possible positive outcome and design your sourcing strategy accordingly. Then revisit your sourcing relationships to ensure you have built-in incentives for positive outcomes. Staffing companies should seek customers, directly or through MSPs, who can recognize value in your knowledge of how to source talent in terms of varied pricing structures and delivery models.
  • Use data to stay close to talent and make it worth their while to stay close to you. The mechanics of sourcing have changed, as have the processes of communication — from broadcast to engagement. A key way to use your data is to discover how your communication patterns, employer value propositions and alignment with personal interests resonate with workers. This is thinking beyond the demographics; it is actually teaching companies and talent that they must collaborate to increase the company’s relevance in an evolving business environment. Companies, workers and their consultants must engage around business opportunity and workflow — because technology is enabling constituents to respond, comment and share insights back into the company.

KellyOCG and Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business recently collaborated on “Fundamentally Different: Competencies for Managing Contingent Talent.” The top priority? Co-creation. Recognizing that all parties in the talent supply chain should design sourcing and engagement processes together, tailoring them to business strategy and alignment via industry, customer and marketplace knowledge. Enterprise growth and financial success require access to talent in what can be an unforgiving and certainly unpredictable environment. So a disciplined approach to sourcing talent is essential. We just have to make sure that discipline signifies engaging talent and talent influencers in setting and refining sourcing strategy, not just executing it.