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Talent Analytics vs People Analytics: What You Need to Know and Why They Both Matter

Nov 2, 2022| Reading time: 11min

BY Kerrel Brown

Senior Marketing Manager

There’s a lot of chatter out there about using people data. And we should know – we’re shouting from the rooftops about the importance of making people-first, data-based decisions. 

But there’s different kinds of people data, and the terms are sometimes (incorrectly) used interchangeably. It’s therefore crucial to understand the differences and intentions behind each kind of data so you can use them appropriately to build a stronger organization. 

Specifically, let’s take a look at people analytics and talent analytics, and how using them in tandem can help you boost your recruitment, employee experience, and retention strategies. 

People Analytics vs. Talent Analytics: What’s the Difference?

What is People Analytics?

People analytics – also known as HR analytics – is a collection of your people data throughout the entire employee lifecycle. By accessing these metrics, you can better understand the ins-and-outs of the organization, leading to holistic, data-driven decisions.

Specifically, people analytics provide key cultural indicators around aspects like:

  • Employee engagement
  • Performance reviews
  • Headcount
  • Compensation ratings
  • DEIB initiatives
  • Retention rates
  • Employee development

Note that using your HR analytics data isn’t just a yearly task. Instead, people-first leaders analyze their metrics regularly and track reports over time. That way, they can discover trends, pinpoint areas of concern, and celebrate successes. 

time travel function within platform

The right people analytics platform allows you to view your org chart and reports throughout time so you can make the best decisions for your people and company. Pairing these insights with analytics for recruitment helps create a cohesive employee experience.

What is Talent Analytics?

Talent analytics – also known as recruitment analytics – refer to data and analysis around the talent acquisition process. Talent analytics are typically used by People leaders and talent acquisition teams to develop key metrics (such as time to fill, source of hire, and cost per hire) to improve hiring practices. 

While your recruitment analytics can certainly lead to powerful insights, the data collection typically stops at the onboarding phase and skips the remaining parts of the employee lifecycle.

Interested in using people data in your talent acquisition strategy? Read a Q&A with specialists in the field to see how they use data to streamline their process.

Read the interview here 

Why You Need Both

While the importance of finding and hiring the right people is undeniable, so is retaining those candidates for the long-haul. While both people and talent analytics serve different functions, they complement each other. You can (and should) use these metrics to elevate recruitment strategies and create a stronger employee experience that fosters long-term success. 

The main takeaway is this: your talent analytics focus on best practices to get people in the door, and your people analytics focus on ways to get them to stay.

3 Ways to Use People Analytics and Talent Analytics Together

Because you want to recruit and retain top talent, consider using people analytics and talent analytics together to create a robust people strategy. Check out the three suggestions below on how to get started. 

1. Create Strategic Headcount Plans

People and talent analytics should be used together to inspire seamless collaboration and fill headcount needs strategically. By using all of your people data, you can plan with context, understanding budgetary and structural implications for headcount changes as they go along.

To ensure you benefit from using both people and talent analytics, you need to:

  • Establish your talent acquisition specialists as strategic partners. Headcount planning requires a symbiotic relationship between talent acquisition teams and business leaders. Melissa Adamo, Business Principal Specialist at ChartHop, explains the value of talent acquisition teams viewing future forecasts: “Pipelining candidates, early sourcing, and networking allows for talent acquisition teams to develop relationships. That way, when a role is ready to be filled, you’re already one step ahead.”
  • Choose the right people analytics platform for your HR tech stack. Make sure your platform centralizes data from across your HR tech stack, including your HRIS and ATS. When these insights are integrated and visualized, teams have an up-to-date org chart that goes beyond basic reporting structure so everyone can better understand current budget, goal tracking, and headcount needs.
  • Analyze your historical data. Reflecting back on how your organization has evolved – and the time and resources it took to get there – helps inform new hiring plans. From closing and opening new roles to promoting people and merging teams, leaders can see exactly what needs to happen from a recruitment perspective to get the company to where it needs to go.
  • Plan accordingly. Using analytics for recruitment enables you to set realistic expectations. Let’s say your company needs to hire five engineers and three project managers in the next six months. Past talent analytics indicate that it takes three times longer to hire engineers than any other role in the company. With these insights, recruiting teams can begin building that pipeline earlier, including looking back at past lucrative engineering sources of hire to increase their chances of finding the perfect candidate, faster.

ChartHop Time-to-fill example

Using analytics for recruitment, such as the time-to-fill report above, helps talent acquisition teams, managers, and People leaders plan accurately and efficiently.

2. Fill Talent Gaps

On their own, recruitment analytics can provide a surface view of talent gaps across the organization. Depending on your technology, recruitment analytics can show what jobs are open, what jobs have been filled, candidacy demographics, and more.

And when paired with people analytics, leaders can take a dive deep into talent gaps using dynamic visualizations, robust reports, and easy-to-read graphs. This goes beyond seeing what roles are missing on certain teams now; it also helps you plan for the future.

There are a number of reasons why you will need to fill talent gaps, including:

  • You are looking to scale, and therefore need a holistic understanding of your current workforce and your ideal future state. Your talent gaps — particularly those surrounding tactical and cognitive skills — need to be filled to ensure overall success.
  • You’re building out succession plans and you need to see if people could fit cross-functionally or if you need to hire externally.
  • You are prioritizing DEIB and need to examine diversity and inclusivity within every level of the business. Luckily, a modern people analytics platform allows you to view reports, charts, and org structure demographics easily, further ensuring you’re  providing equitable opportunities for all. If there is glaring homogeneity or holes, you can use those insights to fuel future recruitment efforts. 

3. Create Retention Strategies

We don’t need to tell you that people are a company’s greatest asset. So while it’s important to recruit top talent, it’s arguably more important to keep them.

In conjunction with talent analytics, a people analytics platform helps leaders maximize retention strategies across the organization. For example, you can dive deep into HR analytics data surrounding past and current hires, allowing you to slice-and-dice insights based on demographics, performance, and engagement levels. That way, if there are issues with turnover, people analytics can help you look into the “why.”

Such levels of specificity are particularly helpful at the team and department-levels, as you may be able to spot trends within your workforce. 

For example, if you see higher-than-average turnover on one of your teams, look to your data to discover:

  • Is it a leadership or cultural issue on the team that needs to be addressed? 
  • Do additional people analytics, like performance tracking or eNPS ratings, indicate that something is awry across the team? 
  • Is the problem recruitment focused? In other words, are the sourced candidates actually the best people for the job?

ChartHop ENPS Data Reports example

Analyze reports, such as the eNPS one above, next to your recruitment analytics to help discover any trends when it comes to sourcing, hiring, and onboarding practices. 

Whatever the case may be, using people analytics and talent analytics together can help leaders explore trends to get to the bottom of issues and prevent them from occurring in the future. With rich data and insights, you can develop better retention strategies that keep people engaged over their tenure.

Recruit and Retain Talent for Long-Term Success

Finding the perfect candidate doesn’t happen overnight, nor can it happen without knowing exactly what your organization needs. By using people analytics and talent analytics together, you can better define headcount plans, identify and fill talent gaps, and ensure retention to take one step closer to hiring that perfect candidate and keeping them engaged for the long-haul.

Don’t let dozens of spreadsheets hold you up in the headcount planning process. Instead, use a people analytics platform to visualize relevant people data and collaborate with a variety of stakeholders. 

See how it's done here

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