As workforce management paradigms shift to meet 21st century talent needs, HR leaders and executive recruiters are leveraging new tools and capitalizing on analytics to adapt their strategies and address changing trends. As we all know, anyone who’s been put in charge of selecting a new leader has a daunting task in front of them.
But what’s changed in just the last few years is how leveraging data and analytics can minimize the risk associated with brining someone new onboard – at every professional level. Big data is behind it all. Readily available analytics have created a seismic shift in how companies now operate, go to market, track employee performance and take the guesswork out of hiring.
But there’s a growing problem. While most organizations have collected vast amounts of information about their employees and stored it in databases around the world, few are using their own human capital analytics to its full potential – especially when it comes to hiring and people management.
While executive search firms traditionally have not been early adopters of technology, clients are now forcing their hand. According to Larry Hartmann, CEO of ZRG Partners, the fastest growing U.S. search firm, clients are finding great value through objective data in all parts of their business. “Hiring is no exception,” said Mr. Hartmann. “Smart clients are embracing new ways to hire top talent and making better decisions using data and analytics in tandem with traditional search approaches.”
Holy Grail for Clients
“As we work with our clients globally across industry sectors and geographies, we are seeing the impact of data within the search process leading to better hiring decisions and faster time to fill metrics,” he noted. The holy grail for clients, he said, is finding ways to make better hiring decisions and completing them more quickly, with less time actually spent with their search partners.
The need to enhance innovation in executive assessment is one area search consultants have been focused on. Recent advancements in technology have enhanced assessment tools, which have become a more defined and data-driven business. The list of search firms offering leadership assessment has been expanding rapidly, whether it be through acquisition, alliances, or launching new, closely related services.
Everyone, from clients to the search firms that service their talent needs, are after one thing: developing best-in-class tools and analytics to locate, assess, onboard, and retain talent.
Hoping to create better predictive leadership for clients, executive search firm Caldwell Partners has aligned with Caliper, a research-based management consulting firm focused on assessment and leadership development. “Our goal is to minimize uncertainty for clients with respect to how a particular candidate will fit into the role and culture of the hiring organization,” said Elan Pratzer, one of its managing partners.
A few months ago, higher education executive search firm Greenwood/Asher Associates and The Devine Group, a behavioral assessment and development organization, formed a strategic alliance. “We see it as integrated in the search process and providing additional information about candidates,” said partner Jan Greenwood. “It allows for a more complete profile for the candidates. One does not replace the other.”
Ms. Greenwood is a licensed psychologist and a psychometrics who specializes in tests and measurements. “Technology provides a faster analysis allowing timeliness of feedback and more time for one-on-one interpretation,” said Ms. Greenwood.
When assessment doesn’t bring the desired results in attracting top-level executive talent, it presents challenges for search firms.
According to Allen Austin founder and CEO Rob Andrews, his firm is seeking more positive results from its partnership with ENGAGE, a sourcing intelligence platform combining big data and predictive analytics to identify potential targets. “We hoped that it would be a game-changing technology for us. But that’s very different from assessment. One really has very little to do with the other,” said Mr. Andrews, who heads Allen Austin’s global CEO and consumer packaged goods & durables practice. “ENGAGE allows us to quickly identify specific kinds of research on candidates. We thought it would help with the speed of execution, with gathering information faster. To some extent, it may have helped. But there’s a lot of developmental work left to be done.”