Use These 4 Kinds of Data to Improve Your Talent Management Strategy

Use These 4 Kinds of Data to Improve Your Talent Management Strategy

Use These 4 Kinds of Data to Improve Your Talent Management Strategy

1. Exit Interviews/Surveys

Starting with employees that are leaving may sound a little backward, but in ERC’s research we consistently see that this method of collecting employee feedback is by far the most common. In fact, at full three-quarters of this year’s Talent Management Survey participants report conducting exit interviews or surveys with departing employees.

This data can be tricky though for two main reasons:

  1. First, if your organization chooses to go the “interview” route, collecting and analyzing qualitative data from interviews can be a time consuming process, not to mention potential biases from the interviewer that could skew the data.
  2. Second, regardless of whether your organization uses interviews or surveys, it is important to have a policy in place to decide from which kind of employees you will solicit feedback—i.e. voluntary or involuntary resignations.

If you decide to gather data from both groups, it is definitely worth keeping separate databases or labeling whether turnover was voluntary or not. You might imagine an employee that just got fired is probably going to have a slightly different view of your organization than someone who decided to leave on their own terms.

2. Employee Engagement Surveys

Employee engagement surveys are a critical tool in any talent management toolbox, especially, in the technology and data driven business world in which we live. HR analytics are hot right now and many organizations are struggling to decide what they should be tracking and how. The good news is employee engagement surveys have been a staple in HR for some time that shouldn’t be too overwhelming, even for the least tech savvy among us.

So even if you’re not sure where to start on the rest of the data, a good old fashioned engagement survey can give you plenty of data to chew on—or to pass along up the chain to the C-suite if they are big on data too.

Again, looking at ERC’s research, we see that most organizations that conduct employee engagement surveys share the results with management and even with the employees themselves.

After asking employees to take the time to fill out the survey, going the extra step to share the results with them (regardless of how positive or negative they may be) can go far. Even better than just sharing the results with employees—share what action steps, policy changes, etc. are being planned in response to the results (bonus points if you let them give suggestions on the changes too). Whatever your organization decides to do in terms of sharing, just don’t let the report sit on the shelf collecting dust.

According to ERC’s 2017 NorthCoast99 research results every single organization that conducted an employee engagement survey made at least one organization change or took at least one action step in direct response to their survey results.

3. Identifying High-Potential Employees

This one is little different from the two types of data so far, in that there are so many ways to go about identifying “high-potential” employees. It starts with knowing what you are looking for in terms of characteristics, and then from there you can better determine which data collection method will work best for your organization.

For example, our NorthCoast99 research shows that one of the most popular methods is soliciting customer feedback.

But clearly this type of feedback is only applicable to client facing positions. Instead, try asking managers or coworkers for their input for these more internally oriented employees. Performance reviews, one-on-one meetings, and a whole slew of assessments are all other popular methods that we at ERC often see organizations using to determine who the next rising stars will be.

4. Training Needs and Post-Training Assessments

Training is a huge piece of any effective talent management strategy and it consistently falls within the top three strategies that employers are using to retain top talent in ERC’s research. With that said, and where the data part really comes in for your talent management strategy, is actually immediately before and immediately after the training itself takes place.

An organization can spend tens of thousands of dollars on training their employees on every skill set under the sun. But if an employee’s job doesn’t require that specific knowledge or they employee already knows how to do everything they are sent to training to learn, that isn’t helping anyone. The employee is mostly just annoyed that their employer didn’t know they already had that skill and the employer just wasted money sending them through the training.

Or perhaps even worse, an employer sends hundreds of employees all through a very expensive training that takes employees off the job for several hours a week, and 6 months later, no one seems to have retained anything from the training. Again, a waste of everyone’s time and money.

Well, data is here to save-the-day again! Before signing any employees up for class, administer a training needs assessment. This can be company-wide or just to the subset of employees whose skills you are looking to improve (maybe those high-potential folks we just talked about?).

The assessment gives employees an opportunity to show YOU the employer where their skills are lacking and then you can send them to the appropriate training courses.

At the end of this very relevant, useful training that you have sent them through, a post-training assessment can help the employer and the employee better understand how much of the material they really retained.

View ERC’s Talent Management Survey Results

This report summarizes the results of ERC’s survey of organizations in Northeast Ohio on practices related to talent management including employee engagement, defining & retaining top/key talent, succession planning, and training & development.

View the Results


  • Liz Maier-Liu

    Liz Maier-Liu specializes in writing high-quality, engaging copy across all channels, including email, web, blogs, print, and social media. She is passionate about helping ERC build long-lasting relationships with clients and members through storytelling and delightful copy that calls them to action.Since 2019, Liz has supported ERC’s marketing team. She currently manages ERC’s email marketing campaigns, social media accounts, marketing automation, and websites. Liz also executes content strategies that drive engagement, leads, and customer retention.