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Can top performers be identified with data analytics?

By Brad Winsor, VP Workforce Analytics, SplashBI

March 4 2020 - Where resources can be better allocated, where new team members may be needed and which candidates are right for the job are all questions HR teams are faced with - all the time. We know all businesses need data to help solve these key challenges, but with so much data to look at, where is the best place to begin? Having the right employees on board for this process is vital and arming your HR team with the necessary data to make these decisions can inform the future direction and strategy of the business.

With the right analytics, such as metrics on attendance, performance and engagement, top performers can be identified and therefore replicated in the recruitment process. Not only this, but by recognising individuals internally, key factors of their success can be replicated to ensure all employees are as happy and productive as possible in their roles. The result can set apart the successful business from the unsuccessful.

Know your 'top' performer benchmark

To understand the benchmarks of 'top' performance within a business, it is vital to look at not only the high achievers but the disengaged employees as well. Looking at areas of significance in their daily working life such as their current workload - are they under- or over-worked? - and their current team - has the size of the team decreased, or are they fully supported? - the organisation will gain a better understanding of which circumstances or factors may be contributing to an employee's current lack of engagement.

On the other end of the scale, a 'top' performer may be defined as an employee with high attendance, consistently good engagement in tasks and who always achieves excellent results. There will often be the employees somewhere in the middle, who are managing two of the three areas, with areas to improve in the third. By adding data in the mix, the organisation can accurately identify the areas the employee needs support in, in order to improve. This makes it possible to identify and transform these potential top performers into true top performers.

Disengaged employees can benefit from the same methodology; there is much to be learned from an employee that is highly engaged than can have practical applications to their colleagues who have become recently disengaged. By looking at the whole range of employees, organisations can support their colleagues to improve an individuals' working life and reveal any untapped potential.

Using data in the search for new employees

Analysing the statistics of your current top performers can be useful in revealing characteristics and skills to look out for and to avoid when recruiting new employees. When data is utilised correctly, top performers can be replicated in the decision making process of who would be a good fit for the company. Sharing employment history, skills, interests or past experiences with 'top' performers could be positive for the prospective employees application, or negative if elements are shared with underachievers. Assessing workers who are leaving will also shed light on gaps which need to be filled in terms of skills and past experience, as well as gaining additional insight into the reasons for their decision to leave. A strategic combination of this insight is the secret to success when recruiting the 'top' performers of the future.

Learning from top performers

Although an organisation may aspire to recruit and promote others to the status of 'top' employee, these individuals must be supported and nurtured themselves. Data can be used to examine the best way to keep these employees retained; they are not who a business would want to risk losing after all. Elements of their experience with the company to look at include; does the employee have a great relationship with their team? Do they take advantage of particular perks? Is their workload consistently balanced? And if they have been with the organisation a long time, what have made them stay so long? Addressing these factors can create a clear picture of why an employee has and will continue to choose to stay and not look for employment elsewhere. Additionally, future incentives and company culture decisions can be informed by the experience and opinions of 'top' performers.

Knowing who your employees are is the key to success in recruitment and in retention. Who is a 'top' performer and potential 'top' performer can be identified and replicated internally and in recruitment when armed with analytics. Having the best people on board in a motivated, committed and engaged workforce is crucial for success and possible with the right data.


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