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HR Data Dilemma: 6 Ways to Pull Value From Noise



One of the greatest challenges for overwhelmed HR teams is how to make use of the vast amount of data available to them, especially different labor market metrics that have the potential to be game-changing but often fail to deliver.

One significant challenge to the HR data dilemma has been that this data is traditionally pulled from a narrow set of sources such as federal, state and local statistics that are more focused on the big, macroeconomic picture, lacking the granularity HR leaders need to guide their recruitment and retention efforts.

Beat the HR Data Dilemma

To gain deeper insights, HR teams traditionally engage in a time-consuming manual process to gather specific details about a region and its talent pools, wages, demographics, educational background, market competition and more. By the time this exercise is complete, much of the data is outdated.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data is already a month behind, meaning the lag is even greater by the time it’s analyzed against other metrics. This leaves HR teams feeling overwhelmed by useless spreadsheets and stale reports which lack the depth and real-time updates needed for effective decision-making.

Transformative Power of AI

AI can help drastically reduce the time it takes to analyze labor market data from a broad spectrum of resources – not only traditional labor market data, but local insights related to job postings, salaries, compensation packages, competitors, diversity, talent, education and more. Within minutes, instead of days or even weeks, AI can synthesize complex information into a coherent, user-friendly narrative, a significant benefit to HR team members who may not be skilled in data analytics.

It’s no surprise that the industry is taking notice. Technavio predicts the potential growth difference for the workforce analytics market between 2023 and 2027 to be $1.85 billion, driven in part by the demand for efficient workforce management and recruitment tools.

AI-Powered Labor Market Intelligence Elevates HR

AI’s ability to instantly distill macro- and micro-opportunities and challenges can provide users with the tools they need to make strategic talent decisions. However, as with any new HR technology, there’s bound to be a learning curve when it comes to applying it to the recruitment and retention practice. Here are some examples of AI’s capabilities and how it can help HR teams overcome everyday challenges.

1. Enables Informed Decisions

Data-driven insights remove guesswork from hiring, compensation and retention strategies. This reduces costly errors and ensures resources are allocated effectively. It also empowers teams to shift from gut feel to concrete evidence, allowing them to be confident in their strategies and encouraging an elevated approach to HR that focuses on:

  • Talent as a strategic asset: The labor market is constantly evolving at an incredibly fast pace, making it challenging to have relevant talent insights. Real-time data makes this possible and enables HR to shift its focus from reactive hiring to proactive workforce planning, aligning talent strategies with overall business goals.
  • Evidence-based decision-making: HR leaders can advocate for initiatives with hard data and concrete solutions backed up by insights. Some labor market reports also deliver the information in executive-ready reports that make it easier to tie the data analysis to business goals such as expansion plans, budget constraints, diversity targets and more, increasing HR’s influence in the executive suite.
  • Personalized employee experiences: Data-driven insights enable tailored development opportunities, compensation packages and benefits, bolstering retention and satisfaction.

2. Provides a Competitive Edge

Understanding market trends, salary benchmarks and the flow of talent helps organizations attract and retain top candidates in a tight labor market. For instance, it promotes:

  • Faster hiring: Quick access to market insights allows companies to adjust offers and recruitment strategies before competitors react.
  • Cost savings: Companies can avoid overpaying for talent or launching initiatives destined to fail due to misaligned market expectations.
  • Data-driven reputation: Organizations can showcase their commitment to fair compensation and equitable practices by conducting salary benchmarking, which can attract top talent and ethical consumers.
  • Global talent pools and smarter remote hiring: Supply-and-demand data enables HR to quickly identify markets that are the most lucrative with the top talent pools, competitive salaries and ease of obtaining talent.

3. Delivers a Proactive Strategy

Labor analytics reveal potential skills gaps, diversity blind spots and emerging hiring challenges, allowing HR to take proactive steps rather than reacting to crises. Additionally, because it greatly reduces the research effort, it frees up weeks of time so HR can focus on more strategic initiatives such as:

  • Employer branding: Building data-informed personas of ideal candidates for targeted recruitment campaigns.
  • Skills-based initiatives: Identifying each employee’s skills and competencies to determine how they can grow within the organization and what continuous education and upskilling programs would help close gaps.
  • Hyper-personalized services: Tailoring recommendations for individual employees to promote career development based on skills, market trends and internal opportunities.
  • Proactive DEIB initiatives: Identifying and addressing barriers to a diverse and inclusive workforce.

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