Talent Intelligence Pt. 2: Measuring ROI and Securing Budget

In the first part of our 3-part report, we looked at how talent intelligence tools helped to support and enhance your existing talent acquisition technologies. Today, we discuss specific business drivers and use cases for a Talent Intelligence platform.

The payoff of deploying talent intelligence in staffing firms is simple. The faster they can fill openings (and the more they can fill), the more money they make. There are other savings associated with Talent Intelligence, such as reduced costs in posting jobs. However, chances are the reduced time to fill is more than sufficient on its own. It’s easy to see whether the technology finds matches in your internal databases of candidates and how that affects the time to fill. Furthermore, the impact of the technology is visible almost immediately; you don’t need to wait a year to see if the technology is paying off.

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Measuring the ROI of Talent Intelligence

Looking at the ROI of talent intelligence for enterprise organizations is slightly more complex. While organizations care about time to fill, it doesn’t translate in such a direct and obvious way to revenue as it does in staffing firms. Enterprises interested in talent intelligence technologies will have to take more care in building the business case, and ROI will depend on the specific drivers the technology is being applied to. It will likely be necessary to show how a variety of stakeholders all benefit from the technology.

Sources for ROI

One potentially important source of ROI for enterprises is when the organization feels there is a need to grow the talent acquisition team. Suppose the implementation of a talent intelligence platform increases efficiency such that the company needs one less headcount. In that case, that may go a long way to getting approval for the tool. That said, take care to ensure that recruiters do not feel like the tool is being bought to “replace” them. In fact, in the most successful implementations, just the opposite is true. Recruiters leverage the technology to supercharge their output and decision-making, essentially the allegorical equivalent of tilling a farm with a tractor instead of a scythe.

Other potential measures of ROI include increasing the visibility of diverse candidates, increasing hiring manager satisfaction, increasing the visibility of qualified applicants and decreasing time spend on unqualified applicants, increasing the number of hires made internally (e.g. promoted) versus hired externally, or decreasing attrition. Talent Intelligence platforms can be leveraged in various ways, but most organizations start with one or two well-defined business challenges they are looking to solve.

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Putting it Into Practice: The ROI of Talent Intelligence

While the individual ROI metrics for a successful Talent Intelligence implementation will vary by company, below are some examples of results seen by clients who have implemented the technology. These can be used as general benchmarks/guideposts in determining what is possible.

  • Improved Search Accuracy: 2x increase in search performance accuracy over legacy ATS searches (96% via TI tool vs 48% via ATS)
  • Time Savings: 2-3 hours per user per day saved in administration, resume reviews, and preliminary candidate scoring. 
  • Time to Fill: 30%+ reduction in time to fill, driven by faster scoring and decision making.
  • Reduced Ad Spend: ~30-40% reduced job ad spend. Note that this figure can vary widely depending on the client, job board mix, and roles being hired for. That said, a 30%-40% reduction in job ad costs (by finding candidates quicker and increasing the number of “known” candidates who are hired) is a safe range/target.

Securing the Budget for Talent Intelligence

Given Talent Intelligence is an emerging category, securing the budget for investment in such a tool can be a challenge. Some ROI measures may not be enough to get a “special” budget for a talent intelligence platform approved. In practice, it may be most expedient to re-purpose or re-direct some other part of the technology budget, particularly related to strategic TA focus areas where the functional capabilities of a Talent Intelligence platform could move the needle (e.g. matching, workforce planning, DE&I, etc.). In addition, since Talent Intelligence tools tend to amplify the effectiveness of existing hiring systems such as ATS and CRMs, investment in a TI platform can often be justified by cost savings associated with not having to switch anchor systems or invest heavily in middleware.

In the next of our 3-part series, we’ll highlight implementation scenarios, different approaches, and keys for success  To stay updated on the latest trends and information regarding TA software, be sure to join our membership portal.

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