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Talent is one of the primary assets a business possesses at any given time. With a strong workforce that can get results, companies have the means to innovate, compete and thrive over the long term. However, talent acquisition is a tricky process, since until recently, the best way to get new talent was to publicly open a new position or use social connections to gain talent from other companies. Data analytics enable a greater degree of visibility on the quality of applicants, but that doesn't necessarily address the need for new, highly-productive workers. Predictive analytics can address this issue by grabbing talent and placing them where they're needed at the right time.

Going beyond reporting
Traditionally, hiring practices centered on a reactive approach. An opening is created either through expansion or a person's exit, and hiring occurs through a process of receiving applications and reviewing them for specific merits. The problem with this situation, as Forbes notes, is the lack of data to analyze. Companies rely heavily on operational reports, which may not have enough information to make a sensible judgment on hiring someone who will not only stay with the company but will also provide the necessary results to move forward.

Using predictive analytics is an effective recruiting tool. Using predictive analytics is an effective recruiting tool.

A positive step in the right direction is applying proactive hiring practices that perform key analytics due to efforts by various departments to gather quantifiable data from various reports. However, the issue is that it still requires some regression to reactive practices, in part because there is no anticipation of sudden changes in the workforce. In addition, the process requires departments to consistently send reports, which isn't a given.

Forecasting a better workforce
With predictive analytics, instead relying heavily on reports, businesses can take data from sources that aren't necessarily obvious and use that to get a present view of the workforce and its productivity. Talent Management notes that this includes employee behavior, traits and activities, matching them with a specific ideal that the company needs to maximize employee output in specific areas. In this process, employers can use the data to not just have an idea on when they will expand, but when people will leave the company. This enables a greater degree of preparation through sourcing various channels for active or passive candidates that may fit existing or planned roles in the firm. Firms with predictive analytics will have a true strategy on how they manage their workforce to minimize onboarding and maximize retention.