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It’s Not Information That’s Holding Back Talent Acquisition. (It’s Poor Data Integration.)

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Kevin Grossman
on November 24, 2014

According to a recent IDC report, there’s no slowing the digital tidal wave that’s headed our way: “From 2005 to 2020, the digital universe will grow by a factor of 300, from 130 exabytes to 40,000 exabytes, or 40 trillion gigabytes ... From now until 2020, the digital universe will about double every two years.”

The sheer volume of data can feel overwhelming and translating this data into real business information for the enterprise can seem even more daunting.  But the fact is… HR executives understand the significant value of this abundance of data. The reason? In the never-ending war for talent (acquisition and retention) and improved employee engagement, data and data integration translated into meaningful information is a strategic asset for HR.

Organizations that can leverage and correlate multiple data sources—and then put all of that information to use efficiently—have tremendous advantages in:

1. Acquiring the right talent – though increased talent networks, candidate engagement and assessment methods

2. Deploying talent effectively – through improved onboarding, alignment and workforce planning

3. Redeploying talent nimbly to meet changing needs and strategies – with detailed knowledge of your talent inventory, business objectives/measures and internal mobility

4. Investing in talent with compensation and rewards – by providing a systematic approach to ensure pools are distributed to the right talent at the right times  

5. Developing people to their fullest potential – with collaborative, formal and informal learning communities, knowledge transfer and rating/ratingless performance programs to maximize communication, ultimately leading to better business outcomes

6. Retaining individuals in whom development has been invested  – by expanding career path: (i) information, (ii) visibility and (iii) progression

But make no mistake… while having a lot of data at our beck and call is a blessing, data management and data integration can be a tribulation. HR executives continue to identify data management as their primary technology focus, more than twice as much as any other initiative, according to a 2013 article on the Argyle Journal’s website.

One of the main factors that make data management and integration so challenging for many enterprises is the sheer number of data sources, systems and tools they use. On average, organizations attempt to integrate 19 external data sources, says the Aberdeen Group. And according to Josh Bersin from Bersin by Deloittelarge organizations typically have seven or more different systems managing HR data. What’s worse, these complex and large HR eco-systems and tools often aren’t connected.

“Bringing this data together for meaningful analysis has become mission-critical, driving tremendous demand for integration tools to help rationalize, integrate and analyze people-related data,” said Josh Bersin.

Despite the challenges, rigorous data integration and meaningful analysis are proven to be worth the effort.Aberdeen reports that organizations in which managers are able to find data they require with a frequency of 80% have greater operating profits and better client retention.

Integrating data from other systems and sources opens up your base of knowledge.  For example, in recruitment, your insight across the entire talent acquisition process can expand beyond traditional KPI’s that report on “time to fill” or “costs” to improved information on hiring sources & networks, internal/external assessment criteria and significantly improved onboarding, communication and assimilation. This will help you raise the level of your analysis and the actionable results you can achieve.

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