“Sabermetrics” for Talent Management

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“Sabermetrics” for Talent Management

As a result of technology innovation, data analytics and business intelligence are beginning to have a tangible impact on talent management. The realized business value is only as good as how well an organization understands how to use data analytics—both tactically and strategically—for sourcing and managing talent. Those that do so put themselves in a better position to win the war for talent.

Origins of Sabermetrics

The potential impact of data analytics for making intelligent business decisions was brought to life in Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game that was turned into a film, Moneyball, a few years ago starring Brad Bitt and Jonah Hill.

The central premise of the book and movie is that data analytics on player performance can predict how well a player will perform in given circumstances. Through rigorous analysis, Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane and his staff concluded that on-base percentage and slugging percentage are better indicators of offensive performance than other outputs such as batting average, runs batted in, and stolen bases.

Sabermetrics Applied to Talent Management

Known as Sabermetrics, the methodology Beane and the Oakland A’s codified soon became the raison d’être for virtually every Major League Baseball (MLB) team. Every MLB team wishing to compete for talent found themselves using Sabermetrics.

When the principles of Sabermetrics are applied to total talent management, some tangible business outcomes occur. Organizations that do so are able to:

  • Recruit and source better candidates
  • Pay competitive market rates
  • Gain strategic market intelligence
  • Make data-driven business predictions regarding talent requirements

Adopting Data Analytics for Talent Management

Business executives recognize the importance of data analytics when it comes to recruiting and managing talent. Seventy-five percent indicate it is a critical issue for their organizations; however, only 8 percent believe their organizations are doing a good job at it.[1]

Part of the problem is the sheer volume of data—both external and internal. Data analysts are often uncertain where to start. Another fact is that many companies—60 percent based on one report—admit having disorganized HR systems. And because of the complexity and magnitude of undertaking a data analytics program, many organizations simply do not even try: only 17 percent of HR organizations indicate they use data analytics.[2]

Challenges of Contingent Talent Management

Talent management is certainly not without its own challenges. Controlling cost is a big issue. Multiple talent-sourcing channels make it complex to manage. And when it comes to contingent workers, lack of competitive bidding models drives up costs.

Talent quality is a second challenge. Consider this alarming revelation: companies report they hire or source the wrong worker 27 percent of the time. And when they do so, the cost is substantial; a single bad hire costs more than $50,000 on average.[3] Differences in market rates from one location and one skill set to another create an additional layer of challenges; overpaying for workers drives costs up, while underpaying means companies are likely losing candidates to competitors.

There are also some very real tax and compliance risks associated with talent management. A spate of new tax and benefit laws on the books such as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and paid sick leave mandates that create complexities in managing a contingent workforce. Organizations must understand the risks of each of these and how to manage their contingent workforce to mitigate them.

Finally, the on-demand workforce is highly dynamic. Market rates often fluctuate from week to week and skill sets that were not in high demand may suddenly become highly sought after.

Roots that Include Data Analytics

PRO Unlimited recognized the business value of data analytics for sourcing and managing global contingent talent when we launched our purely vendor-neutral managed service provider (MSP) offering over 20 years ago. Our global enterprise clients receive detailed data visualizations and BI navigational guidance via our award-winning Wand VMS solution. We overlay this technology foundation with the human component from our MSP and Strategy, Analytics, and Metrics (SAM) teams to provide consultative recommendations and direction.

Organizations seeking more information on the topic of data analytics and talent management can download our eBook on “Actionable BI Analytics for Managing the Global Workforce.” You can also call us at 1-800-291-1099 or email us at information@prounlimited.com.

Disclaimer: The content in this blog post is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for legal advice. The blog post reflects the opinion of PRO Unlimited and is not to be construed as legal solutions and positions. Contact an attorney for specific advice and guidance for specific issues or questions.


[1] “Global Human Capital Trends 2015: Leading in the New World of Work,” Deloitte University Press, 2015.
[2] “Advanced Analytics Report 2015,” Advanced Business Solutions, September 2015.
[3] “More Than Half of Companies in the Top Ten World Economies Have Been Affected by a Bad Hire,” CareerBuilder Survey, May 8, 2013.

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