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How data analytics can help you keep talent on board

Written by Lien Ponnet on 18 September 2023 for Companies

With the imbalance between supply and demand of talent, the generational shift and worldwide societal changes, it has never been more difficult to keep employees engaged and motivated. Though we want to stress the importance of establishing a personal relationship with your staff and really getting to know them, there’s also a case to be made for using data analytics to improve talent retention. In this blog, we’ll zoom in on how to use data to keep your talent on board.

While a certain degree of talent attrition is normal and even desirable to keep freshening up the talent pool, we can’t deny that losing an employee is expensive. There’s the cost of recruiting, onboarding and training a new hire, and the non-financial costs such as the loss of skills and knowledge and the decrease of engagement among remaining employees. On top of that, there are the lost relationships with clients and a slowdown in productivity when a team is not fully staffed. In short, it’s vital that you do everything you can to keep your employees from leaving. (Please note that we advise against physically restraining them, though. 😉)

Start with why

Yes, there’s a global shortage of certain profiles in the job market, and yes, all companies are facing these challenges. But the problem is that many organisations don’t understand why they’re having problems keeping people on board. What about their way of working, compensation package or company culture is driving people out the door?

By gathering data you can identify the problems in your organisation that prompt resignations. You can use data to clearly reveal which issues need to be addressed, so that you can start building a stronger retention rate from the inside out.

First, know where you’re going

The best action is targeted action. It’s important to have a clear view of which skills you’ll require in the future, in order to target your retention efforts tactically. This is the first thing we ask when meeting with a new client: have you thought about your recruitment strategy and which profiles you will need for where you’re going? Strategic hiring is crucial for an organisation’s success, and so is strategic retaining.  To put it bluntly, you shouldn’t go out of your way to keep a profile on board that you won’t be needing a year from now anyway.

investigate retention issues

Now that you’ve identified which skills you absolutely want to keep within the ranks of your organisation, you can start gathering data to get a clear view of which problems you need to address. You can use tools like interviews and surveys to gain insights into the level of engagement among your employees. This way, you can uncover issues such as low job satisfaction, a lack of opportunities for growth or poor work-life balance – all important motivators for talents.

How can you get this information?

  • Employee satisfaction surveys: will tell you how much someone likes working for you
  • Managers’ performance reviews: will tell you how effective and productive someone is, which can be an indicator of engagement
  • Exit interviews: will tell you why someone chose to leave (what are your risks?)
  • Stay interviews: will tell you what makes someone want to stay (what are your strengths?)

Take targeted actions

Once the data has been collected an analysed, you can buckle down and work out a detailed and concrete action plan to address the issues identified. For example, if a lot of employees leave due to a lack of growth opportunities, you can develop a career development programme that provides clear career paths for upskilling, deepening expertise or vertical advancement up the hierarchical ladder. At Exellys, we draw up a Personal Development Plan for every single consultant, based on their individual profile, goals, ambitions and preferences. We also assign each consultant a Talent Development Manager: a certified coach who works with them individually to maximise their growth and make sure they’re feeling good about what they’re doing.

Don’t forget to segment

One size usually fits none. When gathering employee data, don’t be afraid to get specific. Make sure to investigate whether there are certain levels or demographic groups which are more prone to leaving. For example, if you notice that talents are quickly out the door, you might want to give them more guidance and/or perspectives for the future. If you notice that women are leaving your organisation at a higher rate than men, you might want to investigate how inclusive your company really is and take actions to rectify any imbalances.

Continuous effort

Talent retention isn’t a one-off effort, it’s a process of continuous (re-)evaluation and improvement. Test your outcomes time and again and keep tweaking them to maximise the effectiveness. Your workforce isn’t static, it’s dynamic. Adapting to the changing needs of employees is key. When you stand still, you fall behind.

Key take-aways

  • Gather data from employee satisfaction surveys, exit interviews, performance reviews, etc. to understand your workforce needs and identify the factors that drive retention
  • Combine this data with actual turnover to identify which issues drive people to leave
  • Track retention metrics to know where you’re doing well, so you can build on your strengths
  • Segment and personalise your retention strategies and make sure to cultivate not just a diverse workforce, but an inclusive company culture
  • Periodically evaluate the effectiveness of your retention strategies

Closing thought

Analytics are a valuable tool to improve retention, but data alone isn’t going to save you. Data analytics can’t replace the personal touch of human interaction. People want to be heard, they want someone to ask them how they’re doing and really listen. They want someone to understand their struggles and offer advice. Especially in the retention of graduates and professionals, this type of coaching is key. That being said, implementing targeted retention strategies based on data insights can help your organisation build an engaged and motivated workforce that drives long-term success!

Check out Exellys Talks, our very own monthly podcast

About Exellys

Exellys is a Talent Incubator. We bring talent into the daily operations of the organisation of our customers and grow them for the innovations of tomorrow.

From the 1.500 talents we speak to annually, we select the top 7%. We intensively train and coach them on the right skills and competences. Our (scientifically based) training programs (Start Smart, Grow Smart & Lead Smart) accelerate the growth of our talents, and therefore also the growth of our customers.

We “unburden” our clients when looking for and retaining talent. We are committed to getting the best out of talent, while our customers can continue to focus on their core business.

We do this for organisations who want to strengthen their team permanently, as well as those who are looking for a flexible, project-driven solution. Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help.