Winning the War for Talent with Analytics

Talent strategies are evolving at a rapid pace and organisations are investing in keeping ahead of the game.

We were delighted to hear from Deloitte Australia’s Michael de Graaf and We are Unity’s Michelle Boyde at our latest ‘Ask the Expert’ event in Sydney.

Win the hearts and minds of your people

Coming from a creative agency specialising in employee communications, Michelle’s presentation reinforced the importance of building brand through your people and hiring the right talent.

Michelle discussed the importance of client advocacy drawing on compelling case studies to demonstrate what can be achieved when you win the hearts and minds of your people.

Michael then took the floor and shared details of Deloitte’s journey which has culminated in analytics evolving from a base level reporting function to an advanced analytics culture where evidence led decision making is becoming the norm.

Michael de Graaf summarised his findings:

“While the importance of talent analytics is now widely recognised, the number of organisations that are actually prepared to implement and leverage the full opportunity is few and far between. Results from this year’s Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report say that while 71 percent of organisations see talent analytics as a high priority, only 8 percent stated that they have usable data by which to undertake analysis.

Usable data, quite possibly the most important and foundational element within any talent analytics strategy and one of the biggest learnings we have taken from our own journey of implementing our talent analytics strategy. In addition to highlighting the importance of collecting clean, objective and usable data, I’d like to share other key learnings that we uncovered as we implemented our own talent analytics strategy at Deloitte Australia.

Governance, without clean data the accuracy of your insights will be questionable. The importance of reviewing how you capture data and creating an operational culture of data integrity is key. The other flag here is that if you have to make significant changes, you may need to wait for a few years so as to gather enough clean data before you can start to undertake analysis.

Technology, don’t jump into selecting a solution before you understand your requirements. Visualisation software, data warehousing, integrations and advanced AI solutions can be expensive and complex. Match your investment with the progress of your strategy.

Technical capability, Talent Analytics is not generally a development opportunity. We’ve had the most success hiring data and analytics specialists from outside of HR. However, it is just as important to ensure that any Analytics function has people with strong HR and business exposure to act as interpreters and intermediaries to stakeholders.

User capability, empowering the HR professional. Supporting HR professionals to change how they operate and learn to augment their roles through analytics and robotics is challenging. We’ve found using behavioural KPIs, dedicated learning and highlighting ROI constantly is critical for successful adoption.

Last of all, investment. Talent Analytics will become critical for all people decisions within HR and across the broader organisation. However, investment in Talent Analytics will unlikely come at once. Starting small, measure everything and “humble brag” about the impacts made will secure more attention and investment over time. It’s hard to argue facts, so make data your best friend.

What is interesting is how big the talent analytics box is once you start to unpack it. Our learnings above are just the start. With these foundational elements in place we now have a ticket to play in the world of robotics, automation and AI. It’s a long walk before you can run, but the return on your investment and measurable impact to your organisation’s bottom line makes the journey worth the effort.”


We would like to thank both Michael and Michelle for sharing their insights.

Michael de Graaf is Senior Manager – Talent Aquisition and Mobility – National Centres of Excellence Leader at Deloitte Australia

Michelle Boyde is a Senior Account Director at We Are Unity – A creative consultancy specialising in employee communications.