Advancing HR Tools with Analytics

Oct 29, 2018

Talent management continues to be a challenge for both small and large companies. To overcome these challenges, many HR tools have been developed, including the well-known nine-box model, which helps with the retention and development of current employees within an organization. However, in recent years the nine-box model has lost relevancy, but with the help of analytics, the model is yet again poised to be the number one tool for HR teams.

The nine-box model is an effective tool for comparisons between the expected potential of an individual or department and their actual performance. This model also allows comparisons to be drawn between different individuals and departments that are determined to be peers. The results will allow an organization to identify employees with the potential to move into new roles and recognize employees who need development. At the population level, analytics will help identify hidden performance trends and calibrate ratings to ensure consistent scoring.

Data and analytics are fundamental to the nine-box matrix model to generate useful insights. The model requires data from multiple sources, including current and historical performance assessments and 360-degree assessments. In addition, data on employee certifications and education, training history, and direct report promotion data need to be collected. Once collected, these data should be evaluated and integrated into the analysis.

Figure 1: Nine-Box Talent Matrix

Predictive analytics can be used to estimate, evaluate, and fine tune models to support the individual and group scoring that populates the nine-box talent matrix. These models help identify not only where individuals lie in the nine-box matrix, they also identify when individuals are under-achieving or over-performing relative to model predictions. This allows an organization to take proactive steps to retain talent and modify or reinforce behavior. In addition to developing the scoring model that predicts potential and performance, it is also important to develop reporting and visualization tools that allow a Human Resources Department to track and monitor changes as well as create a strategy for success.

Analytically-driven talent management strategies should be consistent with effective change within the organization. The establishment of workstreams along with a solid implementation process will also benefit from the analytic outputs by grouping data based on similar characteristics. These workstreams are analytically derived actions that an organization can use to “nudge” individuals into new quadrants of the nine-box talent matrix or retain them in their current box. Best of all, with advanced analytics, HR departments can move on from subjectivity and take a data-driven, evidence-based approach to talent identification and management.



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