3 ways to use workforce analytics to forecast your next hire

header_Forecast

Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs 

Forecasting your organization’s hiring needs is one of the most difficult things to do. To really have a good idea of your hiring forecast, you’d have to have an incredible sense of your workforce’s attitudes, expectations, workloads and even personal lives. In fact, it would require almost daily follow up to keep a constant read on the situation. This is just one of the reasons that it’s difficult to anticipate which business areas will have positions to fill and when. However, there is a way to proactively gauge hiring needs without all but asking employees when they plan to quit. The answer lies within your workforce analytics.

Within your workforce analytics is an enormous amount of data, much of which can be aggregated and analyzed to provide a hiring forecast. There are many methods available to gather and analyze the data you need. In fact, you’ll most likely make use of more than one method to gain a full picture of your company’s hiring needs. Take a look at three simple ways to do this below.

  1. General turnover predictions
    There are a number of factors you can gather data for to predict turnover, but it’s important to remember that some may take time to analyze and evaluate. Even so, if you gather the data now and wait six months to a year, you’ll have proof of trends available in the future. Start by thinking logically about ways that employees who aren’t satisfied begin to display their feelings. Some data you may want to gather includes: the amount of time they spend surfing the web, how many days they take off, how often they are late (if you have a time-clock system), missed deadlines, poor performance reviews and not registering for available training initiatives or optional meetings. All these factors can be tracked with data, enabling you to analyze if these factors lead to resignation or termination and if so, how many behaviors are typically displayed and for how long.

    You can also utilize the most basic of information, such as seasonality, turnover rates and average longevity for your organization, a specific department or position and under a specific supervisor to anticipate how much hiring you’ll be doing in the future.

  2. Categorized forecasting
    As much as we don’t like to categorize our employees, doing so may paint a clear picture of hiring needs over time. This is also an area where you can utilize outside data to identify trends. For instance, you may want to categorize by stage of life or stage of career to determine how long the average recent college graduate plans to stay with your company. If your data shows that the average recent graduate will stay with your company three years and you’ve hired five this year, you know that in about three years you’ll be faced with filling their positions.

    An important thing to remember here is that this information should be used for forecasting hiring, not necessarily recruiting. The fact that someone will probably stay with your organization for around three years doesn’t mean they won’t provide incredible value to the company during that time. Additionally, when you identify these trends, you can develop preventative measures to change it.

  3. Forecasting the types of hires
    Creating a succession plan goes a step further when you add workforce analytics to the mix. You may already have a strong succession plan, but do you have a good idea of how often certain positions or levels will need to be filled? You won’t know exactly when someone will leave or be terminated, but you can track the levels of your organization to see how often someone leaves, is promoted, etc. and anticipate the type of positions you’ll need to hire for. This assists with budgeting for recruiters and other hiring expenses and developing an interim plan. For instance, if you know that an executive will need to be replaced every two years, you’ll know how much to budget based on your succession plan – will the position be filled from within or not? Succession plans and hiring forecasts are helpful on their own, but together they allow you to drill down to specific time frames and costs.

What’s the most difficult aspect of forecasting your hiring needs? Tell us about it and whether or not you believe workforce analytics addresses the issue in the comments section below. 

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