Using People Analytics to Identify Hi-Po Employees

by Eric Baker
on 2018-01-24

When it comes to talent management, organizations have small concerns and big concerns. A small concern is filling a single job opening in a high-volume, high-turnover role that requires a continual influx of low-skill applicants, such as a call center. Upper management isn’t especially focused on that one vacancy; it’s focused on the overall operation of the call center. Having good leaders and effective training at the call center is the big concern and, as such, probably gets a lot of attention.

However, other, even bigger concerns seldom get the attention they should. For example, where is your next generation of leaders coming from? Which staff members are best equipped to drive innovation and grow the company? What happens if you lose senior leaders to job change or retirement? If you haven’t taken the time to get in front of these critical issues, you might find yourself losing ground to competitors and will be falling far short of realizing your ideal state.

To be truly effective at addressing big concerns, look toward Big Data. Specifically, the data realm known as people analytics. We’ve all read a lot about people analytics, but it helps to ask: What exactly are the advantages of a data-driven approach to talent management?

“For a long time, HR professionals and other business leaders have used an evidence-based practice for hiring and development—resumes, references, and so on,” says Dr. David Solot, Analytics Product Manager with Caliper. “If you believe in using the best available evidence to support decision making, it’s important to understand that Big Data takes ‘best evidence’ to an unprecedented level and greatly reduces the risk around staff development and promotion.”

Companies that want to integrate people analytics into their talent-development process will need consistent data that is gathered and configured using a scientifically valid methodology. There are firms that can help with that. Once you have the data and a platform for sorting it, though, you can begin mining the information in a multitude of ways and gain insight into the strengths and gaps of your organizational talent. And you’ll be able to spot future leaders and key individual contributors.

The next important question: How does people analytics identify high-potential employees?

Provided you have collected data around your team members’ strengths, limitations, and motivations, and you have a clear understanding of success factors in key roles, people analytics will enable you to compare team members to those success factors.

Leaders who are unfamiliar with or apprehensive about people analytics may feel that there is a simpler way to identify high-potentials: By looking around and seeing who is working the hardest and getting the most stuff done. But that’s like trying to complete a puzzle when half the pieces are missing.

”Past performance is certainly a reasonable, but limited, predictor of future results,” says Dr. Solot. “Fifty-plus years of research, analysis, and practice show that innate personality dynamics are also a strong correlate of success.”

In other words, you might have plenty of hidden gems in your workforce whose potential is not being tapped, and you could also have people who are effective in their current roles but who may struggle if moved into an unfamiliar area of the business. The Big Data approach reveals the deeper truth behind surface-level observations.

Dr. Solot says, “Using people analytics allows you to mine your entire pool of talent to identify those employees who are most likely to succeed in new, unfamiliar territory. Personality is one of the best ways to predict such outcomes.”

Since no one is perfect, it’s quite difficult to find someone who lines up exactly with a success model for a given role. Analytics comes to your aid once again, Dr. Solot explains, because it points you toward the Hi-Po’s coaching and training opportunities. That way, you can come up with a customized development program to help your most promising employees realize their full potential.


To learn more about our award-winning Caliper Analytics™ platform and how it can help you identify and develop high-potential employees, click the contact button below.