How We Created A Data-Driven Talent Team

In an era that’s becoming increasingly data-driven - leveraging it effectively has become central to making informed decisions. From both an acquisition and wellbeing standpoint, we aim to prioritize data as the means of boosting growth, from day one.

We’ve previously discussed how we listen to our team and how talent collects feedback from other teams. Today, I want to explore how Fidel API’s talent division has built a framework that operates based on data.

First, let’s tackle the elephant in the room (easier said than done, elephants are typically quite large) - how did we begin to channel data into our talent team?

Driving Talent With Data

When we first established a Talent department at Fidel API, little did we know, we were destined to fall in love with data. Data is knowledge and when it comes to the wellbeing of our people and the future new starters, the guessing game has to end somewhere. How are people actually feeling? Are we onboarding them well? What’s stopping us from hiring more for specific roles? These were all questions we couldn’t answer without a data-collation process in place.

Here are some of the steps we took:

🗺 Establishing our expectations as a department Clarity is essential. You might be familiar with the phrase, “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there” - it’s also applicable to the workplace environment. In talent management, the focus might be on diversity, raw headcount, even people’s experience. Whatever it is, make your goals clear, share them transparently, and define your chosen data metrics to measure them. At Fidel API, we work with Team OKRs (Objective & Key Results) and it’s helped immensely with direction, progress and accountability.

📈 When it comes to metrics, start simple | You can always add new metrics over time, but start by aligning them with your goals. We only measure that which serves a clear purpose. For example, an NPS (Net Promoter Score) - a calculation measuring the percentage of poor feedback against positive feedback - reveals a something about the candidate’s hiring experience and the effectiveness of our sources of hiring.

We felt we had a brilliantly diverse team, but we realized our sources of talent weren’t varied enough. By monitoring our hiring metrics, we found our focus was too centered on increasing spread of nationality and background. Using this finding, we set a new hiring goal to explore talent pools defined by different diversity parameters like skillset or development style, which concurrently opened our horizons to a wider conversation on diversity in the workplace. Knowing where talent exists has the practical benefit of finding you bright, new individuals. But, it also helps you notice process deficiencies lying under the surface to be improved on.

🛠 Pick the right tools… Or a trusty spreadsheet | Operating scalably is important but practicality matters too; you won’t always have access to the best tools in the market. Starting with simple spreadsheets can be magical for exporting information and automating your metric dashboards.

When it comes to hiring, good ATS (Applicant tracking software) will benefit any Talent department immensely - it will assist in reporting and allow you to customize and holistically visualize exported data from a lot of different sources, centralizing your knowledge base.

📊 Maintaining updated data and reports | Yes, you heard me - maintenance! We love a tidy bedroom, but keeping it that way is the hard part. Your company is likely to grow a lot and, concurrent to that, so is the amount of data you work with. You don’t want to be manually collating data every week, right? Finding ways to automate collation will save you a lot of time and minimize the risk of human error as well. The same applies to reporting - shortcuts and automations are your best friend.

💡 Sharing the data in an understandable way | Other departments can’t be expected to know everything you do, the impact you have, or the challenges you’ve been trying to solve. Creating understandable visualizations to share your data will raise awareness and provide context for others. Notion dashboards, JIRA boards or a trusty Excel sheet can be a great starting point - and are where we started too!

This actually changed the trajectory and helped to better demonstrate the impact of Talent at Fidel API. We created dashboards to provide a transparent view of incoming hires as well as occasional data-dives during All-Hands meetings. Higher engagement and awareness aside, this transparency increased employee referrals by over 200%, which motivated us to create a more gamified reward system for referrals, as a gesture of appreciation and empowerment to our team members.

In Conclusion

Much of what I’ve mentioned can be true to departments other than Talent. Building the ‘data habit’ at Fidel API has helped immensely when it comes to evolving our departments sustainably. It not only makes it possible to listen to others. It allows us to proactively improve processes, grow faster, track that development and, ultimately, shape our future.