Data driving talent optimization in talent-starved marketplace

WorkBC's latest labour market outlook forecasts job growth across the province due to the increased number of retiring baby boomers and steady economic growth.

Vancouver-based companies can either deliver great business results or stagnate, depending on whom they hire and how they manage their talent.

Against this backdrop, the war for top talent is in full swing. The province’s unemployment rate is 4.1% and the job vacancy rate is 4.2%.

Kathi Enderes, vice-president, talent, and workforce research leader at Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP, predicts that “people analytics will become a principal supporting factor in the growing autonomy [and productivity] of the individual.”

At the core of successful talent optimization models is the collection, analysis and application of people data. This new discipline is about hiring purposefully, inspiring effectively and then measuring and optimizing the outcome to continually increase workforce performance.

The framework is based is on four principles that are critical to align your business and talent strategies so that business results can be achieved:

•diagnose the roadblocks by measuring and analyzing people data;

•design an approach that intentionally evolves the people strategy;

•use sophisticated data to hire a team of top performers; and

•give employees the people-data insights they need to manage themselves and their relationships.

In a marketplace quickly becoming short on talent with fewer people who are already trained, it’s imperative not to compromise on whom you hire and how you optimize your talent strategy. Decisions made under the stress to fill a position often come back to bite you. Our research shows that just one toxic employee in a team can cause productivity to drop by 30% to 40%.

Finding people is hard, but it is just the first step; keeping and engaging the right people needs to become the priority. Western Forest Products is one of North America’s leading full-service distributors and remanufacturers of softwood and hardwood lumber and specialty panel products.

Focusing on growth, customer satisfaction and employee development, the company holds more than a few prestigious awards, including Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures and Canada’s Best Managed Companies.

People are at the heart of its business strategy, and the tool the company uses to ensure its employees are successful is the predictive index.

Ask yourself:

•Do our managers know their teams as well as they should and are they able to guide them towards success?

•Are my teams performing at a high level already and focused on achieving our goals?

•When I make promotions, is it based on merit or suitability?

The stakes are high in B.C.’s labour market, and making choices driven by data changes the game for companies up for the challenge.

Doug McCann ( is a managing principal of Predictive Success Corp. (