What is Talent Intelligence?

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Global uncertainty, a highly competitive talent marketplace, an aging workforce and countless other factors have all contributed to the rise of talent intelligence. So, what is talent intelligence?

Depending on who you ask, the definition varies. My favorite explanation is the definition from this podcast: Brainfood Live episode on Talent Intelligence. In short, talent intelligence is the use of external data, including skills, people, real estate and business continuity, to inform strategic business decisions (you can hear this definition around the 20-minute mark of the episode). Couple this with additional commentary from the premier episode of the Talent Intelligence Collective Podcast. Annie Chae from Amazon explains talent intelligence in this way: it is more than the collecting, gathering, mashing up and spitting out of data; more than talent analytics and business intelligence, it is the recommendations that come from the analysis of talent data. You can hear Annie talk through her thoughts around the 42:30-minute mark of the episode.

In short, talent intelligence is the analysis and recommendations produced from workforce data. It influences critical business strategies, from mergers and acquisitions to where an office should be put next. Major companies are hiring, building and expanding on their inhouse talent intelligence. Some are nestling these teams under talent acquisition (TA) while others are erecting new departments. Job titles, like talent intelligence program manager and talent insights analyst are on the rise. Prior heads of sourcing and research are now talent intelligence leaders.

The data and analytics available within TA have only continued to grow, both in volume and in importance, and this has paved the way for this powerful and strategic new extension of talent intelligence.

Talent intelligence is also:

  • The capturing of feedback and intel already being provided through talent acquisition activities
  • Predictive – it affords an organization the ability to peer around corners before they get there
  • A competitive advantage – with competitive intel, an organization can act more strategically
  • A product – it is the monetization and productizing of TA research and knowledge
  • Enabling TA to be ‘the pointier end of spear’ – talent intelligence is more than measuring time to fill, interview to hire and other traditional imperative TA ratios
  • An extension of an organization’s business strategy

In the same way I would describe most of my colleagues at Sevenstep, talent intelligence personnel and teams are naturally curious people. They ask questions and see where the research takes them. They take all of the various types of data the business is privy to, market intel, competitor intel, labor intel, HR intel, and they apply that information not only to TA but across the entire business. This enables TA-related functions to generate key data-based initiatives that can be driven from TA but that benefit the entire enterprise.

Real World Application

In 2020, Sevenstep announced the launch of Sevayo®, an integrated talent solutions platform with an array of modules to choose from – Attract, Nurture, Select, Onboard, Develop, Analyze and Insights. The platform’s proprietary data aggregator, Sevayo™ Insights, pulls in data across systems into a single, wholistic dashboard, enabling the use of business analytics and talent management data to solve and conquer today’s most pressing challenges.

But Sevayo® Insights is more than a tool, it’s a team of analysts. It is the culmination of human and artificial intelligence to provide real-time, actionable data, insights and recommendations to business and TA leaders. It is talent intelligence in action.

Here are a handful of examples of how Sevenstep uses talent intelligence to advise clients to help influence critical business decisions:

Starting wages for a logistics client:

  • Sevenstep presented wage data pulled from various data sources, as well as collected additional observations from jobs boards, to highlight where the client landed on the compensation range
    • Since the numbers are usually different, we also highlighted what candidates were seeing advertised
  • We combined this intel with commentary about overall market conditions, including rising demand and low supply, to provide critical context
  • We then shared historical data from Sevayo® Insights, including the average cost per apply and the average applicant flow, to illustrate how the changing market conditions were impacting candidate supply as openings with the company increased
  • After gaining buy-in, the client increased the starting wages for hourly workers at several challenging sites to remain competitive in the marketplace

Recently, Sevenstep has also provided talent intelligence to clients in these critical areas:

  • Provided national diversity metrics for core skill sets across office locations in order to enable strategic hires in diverse locations to meet hiring goals
  • Sourcing and marketing strategy to provide visibility into tactics and execution to support high-volume hiring classes
  • Market scan, including providing recommendations around salary and supply and demand, to aid in strategic business planning

There are countless applications for talent intelligence. Organizations that embrace this data-driven approach will be poised to be agile and responsive no matter the market conditions.  

Are you looking to do more with talent intelligence this year? Contact us to learn more or to schedule a demo of Sevayo® and Sevayo™ Insights.


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