Talent analytics has become a crucial business function, and now even small firms have the means to collect, analyze and act on talent data. What’s often missing is an understanding of what to include and how to interpret results. It’s not surprising, then, that LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2020 report revealed a 242% increase in the number of HR professionals who boast data analysis skills over the past five years.
The research shows that some 69% of organizations with 10,000 employees or more have entire teams devoted to the work.
While most organizations can collect data, many still struggle to act on it. Talent management dashboards provide a way for HR stakeholders to gather and connect the dots on actionable data and then share it in a way that will resonate with line-of-business leaders and executives outside of HR.
What Is a Talent Management Dashboard?
A talent dashboard is a reporting and measuring tool that helps companies track various KPIs (key performance indicators) related to employees. It provides a one-stop shop for information about critical HR goals, serving up information that is relevant to the organization as a whole and the audience querying the dashboard.
A talent dashboard may be a simple spreadsheet or part of a comprehensive human capital management (HCM) solution. What’s important is that it surfaces the KPIs critical to your company and enables stakeholders to easily identify areas that need attention.
What Makes a Good Talent Management Dashboard?
The best talent management dashboards mask the complexity of back-end calculations, are customizable, up-to-date and provide data visualization tools that help non-data-scientists make business decisions.
What’s included on a dashboard will depend on the audience. HR and finance leaders might want to drill into diversity or revenue-per-employee data and perform ad-hoc reporting and calculations, while executive leaders, the board of directors and line-of-business leaders may require snapshots of higher-level KPIs like voluntary turnover or eNPS (Employee Net Promoter Score) ratings, which measure employee satisfaction with zero to ten scores to give HR teams a satisfaction metric.
In short, the dashboard must adapt to the audience and present the right metrics in a consumable way.
The main users of these systems tend to be HR professionals, and the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) says the best dashboards for HR move away from tallying basic stats, like the number of employees hired or trained, and instead tie analytics to business results. Instead of, for instance, measuring “time to hire,” the most cutting-edge dashboards present trends in preventable turnover or drill down into turnover among high performers and how it affects the business.
Dashboards can also pull data from a company’s employee experience roadmap that tracks worker’s perception of their interactions with the organization, from when they first applied for a job to their departures.
Why Are Talent Management Dashboards Important?
Making data relevant and consumable for a range of audiences is a major stumbling block for many talent analytics strategies. Most organizations no longer struggle to collect and maintain accurate data—but the LinkedIn survey shows they continue to have a hard time solving existing HR analytics problems and taking advantage of new opportunities with the insights the data provides.
Talent dashboards are the next step up from reporting and provide a really great way for leaders to not only consume information on critical HR metrics, but act on it. Once those metrics are defined, dashboards allow for analysis of trends and outliers that warrant more investigation.
Some top insights businesses are looking for now are around employee performance, headcount planning, the talent pipeline, the efficacy of recruiting, skills gaps, succession planning and future talent demands, and whether there is available supply—particularly within the company. When data baselines are established, HR can begin to get predictive about events, such as the likelihood of candidate success and flight risks and create incentives for talented employees to stay with the company.
Benefits of Creating a Talent Management Dashboard
In their lives outside of work, employees are used to having access to dashboards that allow them to view data in real time or near real time. Anyone can be an armchair statistician now. For instance, fans have access to more data than they could ever possibly need to follow professional sports—from prebuilt NFL “NextGen” stats dashboards to public enterprise-grade tools for creating rich visualizations with NHL data. In more general terms, anyone can easily track COVID infection rates by ZIP code or know the average price paid for a specific vehicle.
The result is that business leaders expect the same level of accuracy, functionality and ease of use at work. Dashboards are great tools to meet that mandate. They can be easily customized with what a particular audience wants to see. They can bring together transactional, organizational and unstructured data. And they ensure that everyone is working off the same version of reality. That translates to better decisions.
Functions of a Talent Management Dashboard
Many KPIs and metrics can be displayed on a talent dashboard, at varying levels of detail. In organizations looking to create a baseline talent management dashboard, KPIs around the functions pictured below are an excellent starting point.
How to Create a Talent Management Dashboard
A talent dashboard is a tool for making better workforce management decisions, and it’s only as good as the information sources that feed it. Workforce-focused professional services firm Mercer recommends bringing the employee point of view into the process of creating a talent management dashboard.
Ask focused questions: As with any technology tool, start with the business problem and then examine what types of KPIs and detailed data each stakeholder will need to solve it. To uncover problems, use questions like: What are our most pressing workforce risks? If you could change one thing about our workforce, what would it be? What information about our workforce would help you improve?
Get the data: The best dashboards combine many different types of data and present it in a visual and easily consumable way. Combine “people data,” such as characteristics, individual performance, role and overall engagement, with data on business and individual performance and finance insights.
Staff it: Have a resource dedicated to the talent analytics practice, including the dashboard. Leading companies have workforce analytics specialists on the HR team and bring in technical and data integration specialists as needed and solicit strategic guidance from business leaders.
Identify the end user community: Who will view the dashboard? The board? Executive and senior business leaders? HR generalists? Line managers? Diversity and inclusion and workforce planning teams? Recruiters? Will each role need ad-hoc data access or a static view? This is key to designing dashboards that will meet the audience’s needs. And, ensure each role has the proper training for how they’ll use the dashboard.
Don’t show. Tell: The most effective dashboards are useful outside of HR, says Mercer. They combine analysis with narrative and visuals to tell stories with data. This requires really understanding the end user, being clear on their appetite and aptitude for data, and using visual cues like maximizing color contrast and minimizing repetition.
Important Elements to Include in a Talent Management Dashboard
Effective talent management dashboards allow the organization to mix and match and display metrics and KPIs in many different visual formats, from graphs to speed dials to numbers. They provide historical data and help tease out trends. And they allow the user to drill deeper into a specific KPI or statistic, calling up more information in seconds to answer crucial questions.
For an HR organization, these may be tiles on a single dashboard that allow for more in-depth analysis. But for a line-of-business leader or executive, they may be separate dashboards they can access from, for instance, whatever enterprise software they’re already using to accomplish their work.
Elements to include in talent management dashboards include:
Reporting: Dashboards allow HR to run reports, even custom reports, in a few clicks. These include detailed employee data reports by parameters like date or department.
Performance management: Important elements to include here are metrics that tie performance of the business—such as percent of sales wins, size of deals or billable hours—to goals that a manager and an employee can collaborate on right in the software.
Recruitment: Important metrics here include referral data, effectiveness of various recruitment methods and detailed cost information—per hire, per team and overall recruitment costs broken down by internal and external hires and more.
Engagement and culture: Dashboards should display the employee NPS, high performer attrition risk, morale scores, overall engagement scores and engagement scores by teams.
Talent pipeline: Metrics around the pipeline are important for both succession planners and recruiters. Overall data on the pipeline—how many applicants, where they are in the process and more—ensures staff levels remain sufficient to carry out business objectives.
Learning and employee development: Total hours of training, training demand and total cost of training allow for those paying for that education to drill down by individual, department and more.
Training costs: Every company needs to provide some employee training. Even if you hire people already competent in their roles, it’s likely that corporate, state or federal regulations mandate some sort of compliance training to offset liability, especially if you conduct business with a government agency.
HR service delivery: Many organizations employ a ticketing system to track HR requests by employees—everything from, “I need to add someone to my benefits” to “My PTO accrual is incorrect.” A dashboard display of number of open tickets, time to resolution, tickets handled per HR employee and more is very helpful in ensuring optimal service delivery.
Absenteeism: Looking at absenteeism overall and providing the ability to drill down by department is an important metric for every HR dashboard. Organizations also measure how many unexcused versus planned absences an employee has over a given period to spot potential issues.
These KPIs around the areas are of course not the only data that can be modeled by a dashboard. In fact, one reason HR pros with analytics skills are in such demand is that they can help wring full value from talent management dashboards by going beyond the typical KPIs and tying insights to real business results.
For instance, instead of “cost per hire,” measure “cost per effective hire.” Instead of “time to hire,” measure “quality of hire.” And instead of broadly looking at turnover, look at turnover of highly rated employees.
Talent Management Dashboard Examples
Analytics around performance management were the most in-demand dashboard capability in LinkedIn’s 2020 Talent Trends survey. Look for a dashboard that can take what employees politely term “the tedious process” of performance reviews and shift them to a dynamic, continuous and relevant process.
New functionality in NetSuite SuitePeople, for example, reimagines the performance review as a process that aligns the manager and employee on goal setting, drives engagement in completing goals, gives an opportunity to reflect on progress and drives action in response to high performance.
To ease the process of tying goals to actionable metrics, SuitePeople includes out-of-the-box KPIs and integrates data from ERP systems with the performance management dashboard so goals are automatically updated in real time.
For instance, say an account manager has a goal to achieve a 40% win rate in 2020. She and her manager are alerted on key milestones to meet that goal. When she closes a key deal in the CRM system that brings her over the threshold needed for 40%, goal completion is automatically reflected in the performance management dashboard. Her manager is alerted, and the team can even have a real-time conversation on the performance management dashboard.
How HR Can Use a Talent Management Dashboard
A business can’t execute its strategy without the right people. The role of human resources has grown, from solely managing the administrative functions required to keep people employed to providing and anticipating what they need to be successful and grow with the company.
Access to data in a dashboard format as part of a comprehensive human resources management system provides those insight and answers.
For instance, SHRM points to how the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) in Washington, D.C. uses its dashboard. Eying a strategic goal of creating a more-flexible workplace, reducing unneeded building space and limiting its carbon footprint, the GSA wanted to track levels of staff telework in various departments. A team extracted and aggregated telework hours coded in a payroll system and made the data available across divisions in an interactive dashboard.
Take Your Talent Management Dashboard to the Next Level with HR Software
Remember, talent management is an integrated process. Recruiting can’t work in a silo from training, the training department can’t work without performance management and compensation can’t work without access to performance management data. When information comes from too many sources or is largely unstructured, it’s time-consuming to compile manually and, in some cases, hard to trust. But when performance management is natively connected to all business data through an ERP, individual goals are more aligned with business objectives.
With all HR data centralized within NetSuite, the benefits extend beyond providing easy access to data for HR leaders to monitor termination trends, complete common tasks and manage the entire employee lifecycle from a single, personalized dashboard. Managers can use self-service capabilities not only for analysis, but to accomplish common HR tasks such as approving time-off requests; initiating a salary change, promotion or transfer; and reviewing compensation history. And, financial leaders can easily see if a downturn in revenue is related to, for instance, an open sales position, or why a certain location is experiencing higher-than-average turnover.
Leveraging this integrated data, SuitePeople provides an out-of-the-box dashboard that displays KPIs such as employee turnover, open job requisitions, unapproved time off requests, revenue by employee and more. Turnover KPIs can be broken down by demographics and by time period. The dashboard even shows employee engagement metrics like the number of kudos awarded.
By better analyzing talent trends, HR can empower business leaders to put changes in place that will drive employee engagement and enable an overall better employee experience—which benefits everyone.