People Analytics and the Talent Recruitment Processes of the Future

By Shanna Bennell on July 05, 2016

A recent Washington Post article addressed the effect of people analytics on hiring practices. According to the Post, 4500 companies have created a position for acquiring top talent using such systems for assessment since 2010.  Many of these assessments provide hiring managers with more information, however many are still struggling with what to do with this information. And, HR doesn’t want to come across as turning people into numbers. 

HR managers have assessed potential new hires on a number of characteristics, and then followed up this data with information regarding their job performance post-hire. The global banking firm addressed in the Post article sought to find correlations between quantitative reasoning skills and success in data-heavy positions. They had found that leadership qualities actually make a bigger difference than hard skills.

Given the fact that, according to the Post, hiring managers regretted making offers to 1 in 5 people on their staff. It follows that new positions are being created to generate and assess people analytics.  People analytics can assist these managers in making informed choices regarding who they make an offer to. Making a wise hiring choice allows companies to reduce turnover, increase productivity and output, and improve their bottom line. The more information they have when making a hiring decision, the better.

DISC theory empowers hiring managers to make more informed decisions and allows them take a sneak peek into how a new hire will behave and fit in with the current team. Having a working knowledge of behavioral analysis helps in the understanding of people’s predictable behavior.

Utilizing DISC theory and assessments, a hiring manager can create a plan for improving their team’s performance in the future. This knowledge provides hiring managers the resources to:

  • Predict people’s behavior
  • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of their team
  • Identify the gaps in their team’s abilities
  • Determine which personality types are needed to fill these gaps

If a team is struggling with information paralysis, a DISC based analysis might inform decisions that will help the business bring new people into the company who will feel more comfortable making decisions without analyzing all of the information. This could create movement in an otherwise stagnate “C” style office.

If a company is struggling with maintaining long term relationships with vendors, or finds itself in a position where they have high turnover due to a competitive and results driven workplace, DISC based people analytics can help.  They will allow the company to see that they might need to bring in more people-oriented (as opposed to task-oriented) individuals into a predominately “D” style workplace.

A company that is fun and laid back with a low turnover might let the idealism and optimism of the people in charge stall progress. The company’s leaders might cause the business to be spread in a hundred different directions at once, without really making any progress on any of them. This “I” style workforce might need some more “C” and “D” style personalities to ground them and assist in achieving their goals.

If a workforce needs help getting up to speed with contemporary practices, tends to just keep doing what they’ve always done, and avoids difficult conversations out of fear of rocking the boat, this “S” style workplace might need some more active “I” and “D” style personalities to help them improve their policies.

DISC theory creates a window into personality. It demystifies and depersonalizes people’s behaviors, and it makes them more predictable. This is immeasurably valuable when you are looking at a workforce where 1 in 5 employees is a poor fit for their position, according to the people that hired them. Each company needs a myriad of people with different personalities and different hard and soft skills. When a company can give their Hiring Managers insight into the motivations, behaviors, fears and needs of potential new employees, they can make informed decisions about who to hire, more accurately determine their company’s needs, visualize where their strengths are, as well as what aspects of their company could use some additional support.

Only a third of companies are currently utilizing people analytics in their hiring practices, and the most frequently cited reason for not using these effective measures is a lack of expertise on what to do with this information. DISC theory doesn’t turn people into numbers, instead it categorizes them via a series of personality characteristics.  It utilizes the raw data from their personality assessments to generate a graph. This graph shows how high a person ranks in a specific quadrant of personality on a scale from -8 to 8.

However, this doesn’t serve the function of collapsing all of one’s other identity factors into a number. These numbers show how strongly a specific style will manifest itself in a person’s behavior, but it doesn’t put a premium on one style over another. One style is not inherently better than another style, so a person who has a 6 in a specific style is not necessarily a preferable candidate for a position over someone who only gets a 3. These number ranges allow HR managers to bypass that uncomfortable and unreliable element of people analytics- reducing people into numbers and hiring the person with the highest score. It also allows HR to make decisions about a candidate’s personality using a systemic approach as opposed to just relying on their gut.

DISC reports will give an HR manager the information that they need to make informed choices and build a team that works. DISC demystifies the unquantifiable aspect of the workplace -- the people who work there.

About the Author: Shanna Bennell

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