The former IT professional took over the HR department three years ago when everything was still tracked on paper, and he decided that workforce analytics could dramatically improve recruiting.
He started by implementing SilkRoad’s OpenHire applicant tracking system to give structure to the hiring process, and put all the information collected online. “It immediately gave us a wealth of data,” he said.
Now he tracks open requests for positions to see when they came in, the time it takes to fill them and where the bottlenecks are. In one case, Murray discovered that candidates were waiting 30 days to be interviewed because one superintendent who was required to participate just didn’t have the time in his schedule.
“Once we realized that was a problem we shifted some of the hiring decisions to HR,” he said. That streamlined hiring, ensured they wouldn’t lose great candidates because of delays and allowed that superintendent to focus only on interviewing for the most highly skilled positions
The tracking also allowed him to shift ad spending after discovering that the bulk of the company’s best hires came through a free Louisiana Works job site and almost none came through the expensive newspaper ads the company had been posting weekly for decades. “We cut our ad spend by 43 percent the first year, and another 9 percent this year,” he said. “That’s a huge win, especially for HR, which everyone sees as a money pit.”
Many organizations focus their workforce analytics on figuring out where to find the best employees. But the Visiting Nurses Association, which delivers home health services in Morris County, N.J., wants to know what the best employees look like, and how to identify them in the broader candidate pool.
“It’s about making the right selection,” said Nancy Martini, CEO of PI Worldwide, a global consulting firm that offers the Predictive Analytics behavioral assessment tool. The tool helps companies look beyond education and experience to assess things like drive, motivation and personality. “If someone has the characteristics to be a good fit for a position, they are more likely to be satisfied in a job, and that impacts retention,” she said.
VNA has been using the Predictive Analytics assessment, along with other tools, for several years to improve retention among hard-to-find nurses, and to identify nurses to promote within the organization.
Part of PI’s analytics process involves creating performance requirement optimization profiles for key roles by using data on what characteristics make a great employee. “Every position has a different set of characteristics,” said Lisa Salamone, chief operating officer of the VNA. For example, the optimized profile for a nurse includes someone who is patient, approves of formality related to process and paperwork, and is somewhat introverted. On the other hand, someone in a leadership role may be highly dominant as well as patient.
The profiles are completed by multiple people in the organization to get a 360-degree view of the ideal candidate. “It lets us see patterns around the best characteristics and behaviors associated with each position,” Salamone said. That gives interviewers a better idea of what to look for, and how to focus interview questions.
The results have been tremendous, she said. A few years ago the company faced a perpetual vacancy of 11 to 15 percent among its professional nursing staff. In late 2013, it was slightly overstaffed, which means it had slightly more workers than work. But that was a good thing leading into the busy holiday season, when demand for home health workers rises.
Using data and analytics to find the right candidates doesn’t have to be overwhelming, Martini said. “You only need a couple of data points to impact the caliber of your recruiting process.”