Your talent acquisition decisions can’t just rest on instincts alone. Your gut feeling is important, but not everything. When talent is concerned — whether it’s retention or acquisition — relevant research and data need to be present, paired with your recruiting instinct, to make the right call. Data-driven hiring decisions, especially in the midst of a pandemic, are the only type of decisions that can get us through.

Data works to help paint clearer pictures of candidate and employee experiences. As more information is collected, it allows HR data results to improve and HR data strategies to come into focus. Without vast amounts of data, however, the purpose of HR analytics becomes clouded. This shortcoming causes many HR leaders to rely on inaccurate and homogenous data.

What’s the fallout of an abundance of undefined, irrelevant, and untargeted workforce metrics and analytics? It bars HR departments from using the kind of customized communication and engagement tactics required to arrive at the results and insights they truly need.

Take talent recruitment, for instance. Traditionally, it lacks the strategy, efficiency, and information needed to bring the most ideal candidates to the surface. To this point, recruiters have relied on standard Boolean search strategies that scour multiple channels to find candidates. Instead, they could use HR metrics and analytics to tailor their approaches and meet the right candidates in the right places.

A polished and fleshed-out HR data strategy is the only way to capitalize on this information and garner the kind of talent acquisition and retention results HR leadership covets. To achieve that vision, though, HR leaders need to understand the difference between HR metrics and analytics and the critical role each element plays. Here’s a breakdown of the two terms:

• HR metrics — The purpose of HR metrics is to put a numerical spin on the effectiveness and efficiency of one (or several) HR policies. If a noticeable change occurs, HR metrics can put that shift into the proper perspective.

Let’s say, for example, that employee retention dipped from 7.5% to 5% over a year at a given company. Those data points tell the story of a 12-month trend, while the 50% decrease is a metric that the company’s leaders can apply to their HR data strategy and employee engagement strategy.

• HR analytics — While HR metrics offers a no-frills look at differences in data points, HR analytics looks at how employees affect business outcomes. The purpose of HR analytics (or people analytics, as it’s sometimes called) is to explain why something occurs and what that impact is numerically.

Going back to those retention numbers, HR analytics could be useful in terms of establishing context. HR analytics can attach reasoning to why employees or candidates do the things they do, enabling HR leaders to act accordingly.

HR metrics and analytics allow companies to make talent decisions in good faith and with proper context. Familiarize yourself with the kinds of figures specific to each term to arrive at the conclusions needed to make the best decisions for prospective and current employees.

Author Abby Carter

Abby Carter // Tech Storyteller

Like most people who gravitate toward writing, Abby has a love for helping people. She takes pride in bridging the gap between people and technology, and enabling others to make sense of the two working together for a greater impact. You’ll catch Abby around town at a local brewery, enjoying the outdoors with her German Shepherd, or cuddled up on the couch with a glass of wine and her latest new read.

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