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This excerpt is from ATD. To view the whole article click here

5 years ago
Become Better at Talent Analytics


Senior executives are increasingly demanding that the talent development function provide actionable insights for driving better business results through targeted improvements in the management and development of people.

Talent analytics is increasingly expected go far beyond traditional HR reporting on headcount, time-to-fill vacancies, and employee engagement benchmarking. Instead, there is a growing demand for analysis about how to cost-effectively improve:

  • Sales productivity
  • Customer service
  • Managerial effectiveness
  • Employee well-being
  • Workforce diversity and inclusion.

The message is clear: The bar for talent analytics is raising—and raising quickly. So, how do you move your analytics from where they are to where they need to be?

In the end, advanced talent analytics capabilities can’t just parachute into your organization. You have to build them. Here’s how.

  • Create organizational and broad-based executive support by producing insightful, succinct reports and analyses. Ensure that data and analysis is presented from the executive’s perspective—not the perspective of your department.
  • Develop an analytics strategy that’s aligned with your organization’s overall business strategy. This will help you produce business intelligence and actionable insights that enable leaders at all levels of your organization to drive better business results through focused, targeted, and achievable improvements in the management and development of people.
  • Grow the size and skills of your analytics staff (or find a trusted external analytics consultant). Don’t focus exclusively on technical skills. Business acumen, collaboration, consulting, and presentation skills are all critical elements as well.
  • Expand the scope of your talent analytics initiatives to encompass all essential aspects of people management and development, including:
    • recruiting and onboarding
    • learning and development
    • performance and career management
    • rewards and recognition
    • engagement and retention.

If you’re like most talent development leaders, you have limited resources but high expectations and requirements to fulfill. Consequently, you need a plan that enables you to focus on the right things—and to get them done in the right order. Of course, that will be shaped by your organization’s current analytics capability.


Dr. Laurie Bassi is the CEO of McBassi & Company, a leader in using behavioral economics to improve organizational performance. Laurie is a prolific author, with over 90 published papers and books. Her current books are Good Company: Business Success in the Worthiness Era (Berrett-Koehler) and The HR Analytics Handbook (Reed Business). She holds a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University, an M.S. in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University, and a B.S. in mathematics from Illinois State University. Follow Laurie on Twitter @goodcompanybook.

Dan McMurrer is chief analyst at McBassi & Company. Over the past 15 years, he has worked in the world of HR analytics, designing and deploying assessment tools for understanding the unique strengths and weaknesses of organizations’ work and learning environments, and analyzing how those are linked to business results. Prior to cofounding McBassi & Company, Dan worked in research positions at the Urban Institute, Saba Software, the American Society for Training & Development, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Dan also worked for more than 10 years as chief research officer at Bassi Investments, a ground-breaking investment company that generated above-market returns by investing in companies with superior human capital management. He is also the coauthor of three previous books, including the HR Analytics Handbook, as well as multiple articles. He holds a bachelor’s degree in politics from Princeton University and a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University.

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