Talent Acquisition: Can Success be Measured?

Hosted by: Bank of America Merrill Lynch

The Chapman Consulting Group co-hosted a high-energy discussion with a diverse mix of Talent Acquisition leaders at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Singapore last week. There were leaders present from a wide range of industries and organisations, including Abbvie, Asia Capital, Ericcson, Google, Groupon, HCL, HP, Novartis, Paypal and UBS. The result was a lively debate centring on the use and benefits of technology and analytics on Talent Acquisition (TA).

Talent Acquisition Leads the Way

‘Big data’ is clearly something that all organisations are grappling with at some level – where to invest, how to get a return on the investment, and what will be the end result. The concept is still evolving in the broad HR function, but TA seems to be at the forefront when it comes to using data analytics. Metrics like ‘cost of hire’ and ‘time to hire’ can help provide insights that lead to specific tangible actions, but of course there are still some grey areas, which remain difficult to quantify and measure.

Grey Areas

Outputs such as ‘quality of hire’ and ‘impact of hire’ can be ambiguous when we attempt to create a link to the effectiveness of the recruitment process. There are a number of other factors that affect the success of a hire. Rachael Pogson, Head of Talent Acquisition, OTC IntOps, Novartis Asia Pacific Pharmaceuticals summarised, “It is always a challenge to attribute and measure impact and quality of hire in relation to the recruitment process, because there are other factors involved. Once a new hire joins the business, environment, culture and most importantly the hiring manager affect whether that person will ultimately be productive.”

Shared Accountability/ Responsibility

One solution discussed is to introduce ‘shared accountability’ where hiring managers and TA leaders take joint responsibility for ‘mis-hires.’ This is most effective when business leaders drive and embed the approach, measuring a manager’s performance on these metrics. Similarly, ‘speed to productivity’ is another metric that can have dual accountability, and this is now being employed by the more progressive organisations.

Reference Checking

Interestingly, some TA leaders are implementing a more robust referencing process both for internal and external hires. The ability to see an internal candidate’s previous performance ratings via bespoke tools can be very useful. When this data is cross-checked with anonymous referencing from at least five managers or subordinates, it can be a powerful data-based analysis of whether a candidate may or may not prove to be a success in the new role. Clearly these results will need to be considered alongside intuition and cultural fit, but the data will ultimately help in establishing the likelihood of success.

The Talent Marketplace

Before internal talent can be evaluated via these metrics, it is clearly important to ensure the right flow of talent through an organisation. Creating an internal talent marketplace where TA teams can be more proactive is an interesting solution to these pipeline and talent mobility issues. Steve Harris, Regional TA Lead, BAML highlighted this, “We are exploring a number of options to support increased mobility in the region. Simplifying mobility processes and giving employees more ownership and options will clearly help. We are very aware that mobility must also link with our diversity targets in the region. This is a hot topic for us and both need to be balanced.”

Ensuring Diversity

Empowering business leaders to drive this is also important, although it is critical that the hiring process remains impartial, in order to create well-balanced teams. Kerry O’Shea, APJ Staffing Lead for Google stressed that, “Organisations can face issues around Diversity and Inclusion, if there is an unconscious lack of oversight of the hiring process internally. It is important to maintain diversity of thought and ensure a hiring manager doesn’t build a one-dimensional team. We need to ensure that teams are built around people who think, talk and act differently.”

Whether internal or external, the group agreed that valuable data can be collected on the candidate experience to help augment the recruitment process. The most useful feedback can often be obtained from the unsuccessful candidates, and whilst there is a danger that it may only capture extreme views, it can still give powerful insights that if captured correctly can help to drive a more successful process in the future.

It was an excellent group and a stimulating discussion on the possibility of utilising measurement in TA, which is clearly still evolving. The Chapman Consulting Group would like to thank Steve Harris and the team at Bank of America for hosting, and we look forward to bringing this group together again later this year.


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Key Contributors:

Tim Spriggs

Regional Managing Director - EMEA

Consulting Team
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Consulting Team

Tim Spriggs

Regional Managing Director - EMEA

Tim Spriggs is Regional Managing Director, EMEA with ChapmanCG based in the UK where, as part of the executive committee, he leads the EMEA business.

Tim and his team deliver senior retained executive searches for a range of clients from global multinationals to SMEs and has a background in global HR executive search. He is particularly passionate about finding unique and exceptional talent for his clients across the region.

Prior to returning to the UK in 2017, Tim spent five years in Singapore where he was instrumental in building the China business and covered international work out of Asia. Prior to ChapmanCG, Tim worked for JD Haspel, a boutique London-based executive search firm, where he specialised in EMEA HR search assignments across multiple sectors including technology, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, financial services and natural resources.

Before moving into executive search, Tim’s passion for sport led him to his first career in sports marketing and sponsorship with Octagon. He has a BA (Hons) in American Studies from the University of Nottingham, and a CIM Diploma from the London School of Marketing.

In his spare time, Tim enjoys running and cycling in the Chilterns and is known to have the occasional swim in the Thames near his home in Henley.

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