This will be a short post but a thought that is very important to the conversation of Big Data and Analytics that isn’t talked about too much.
In many of the posts I read, conversations I have and marketing messaging I consume, analytics are talked about like they just happen. That one day you can decide you want analytics and next you have this rich data that helps you make better decisions.
Let’s face it. An analytics strategy is not temporary, not siloed and most definitely not easy. And we need to accept all these things as truths in order to begin truly thinking about how to be successful in capturing and analyzing the data needed to answer our important recruitment marketing questions.
So here are some truths that exist about analytics that I would like to explore as I think they are rarely mentioned when we speak about this topic.
Truth #1: Analytics Only Come From Execution
One of the common things I see is talking about analytics in a silo and making it a product in and of itself. The fact is data cannot be captured unless an action is made to elicit action. Accurate analytics can only come from one way and that’s EXECUTION!
As an aside here, we use data all the time that is part of data sets that we tap into. Just know that at some point there was some organization or system that executed something in order to capture that data (it didn’t come from a vacuum).
The only way to truly rely and have confidence in the analytics you make decisions on, is to have confidence in the people and systems that execute and capture your data. If a system doesn’t help execute a campaign on your behalf, how can you rely on the data that you bring in? And on top of that, if you pull data from multiple systems you use to execute your campaigns, how can you ensure that the data is all talking the same language and doesn’t overlap / over-report? Not to mention the increased time it takes to bring this data together.
It’s this idea that explains the shift of organizations toward all-inclusive Recruitment Marketing Platforms and systems. Executing all your recruitment campaigns (job distribution, CRM, sourcing, Career Site, mobile, social, referral, etc.) from one solution so you ensure the capture of data centrally so decision makers can have full confidence in it’s accuracy.
Truth #2: Analytics Require Thought
While predictive analytics is a growing trend, we are not at a place where solutions will provide perfect recommendations on what we should be doing. Analytics require thought on a number of different levels to be successful.
As I wrote last week, step one is understanding the right recruiting questions to ask in the first place. Basically, what do we need to know in order to do our jobs better and improve overall performance? By identifying key questions first, you can give your team direction on how to best figure out the right answers. And it is this process and methodology of figuring out the right answers that will help you evolve the insights you pull from your data in the future. As well as partnering with organizations that can point you in the right direction on where to start.
Lastly, how you capture data matters and thinking through this process with the vendors you work with is very important. Anyone can show you a pre-packaged data set that looks great but the behind the scenes work is just as important. How was this data captured / stored and was it brought together from multiple locations? The answers to these questions can give you a great perspective on the quality of the data process within that specific system so you can ensure data captured maintains its value.
Truth #3: Analytics Improve Over Time
Using data in decision making is integral in today’s world but it’s still something that everyone is still trying to figure out so to speak. There’s a wide spectrum of how effective organizations are at doing this as well. The key here is not the quality of data captured improving (although that will probably happen as well) but in how you improve as an organization in the way you use data to drive the business forward.
I apologize in advance for this analogy but analytics is like a fine wine, it gets better with age. And this is for a few reasons.
- Trial and error: With an analytics strategy you are testing a lot of assumptions and with each look at data over time, you are able to prove the validity of most of them. So with each run through the data you are growing more cognizant of the beliefs you should bring forward into future decision making and what you shouldn’t. In the end, you get a progressively more accurate understanding of the world you live in.
- Process: As your organization leverages data in greater frequency, your team progressively gets better at not only asking the right questions but in it’s ability to find answers to these questions. This only gets better with repetitions and practice. There’s no exponential curve here but a slow burn toward efficiency. The sooner you start, the better you will be at using data.
- More Better Data: This doesn’t mean just having more data in general (although that can help for certain questions) but moreso about making better evaluations of the data you have today. The more you work with data, the better you become at understanding what’s available and where gaps are. This can help you better plan and identify where you need to get better in your analytics strategy.
Big Data and Analytics are not a check box but a way of thinking that is based on data, experience and a great deal of planning. To be a data driven organization especially in recruiting doesn’t happen in a day, it’s a journey that starts with identifying and executing on a vision that solidifies with age across your entire strategy not just siloed functions.
I hope this provides food for thought as you celebrate your Thanksgiving holiday. Enjoy your family and friends and see you next week.