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Gaining a competitive edge takes more than intuition. Enter workforce intelligence. But what is workforce intelligence and why is it important now?

In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving business climate, gaining a competitive edge takes more than intuition and experience. Enter workforce intelligence – a revolutionary approach that leverages data and technology to optimize the management and deployment of human resources. But what is workforce intelligence and why is it important for managing talent in organizations of all sizes?

What is Workforce Intelligence?

Workforce intelligence, or “talent intelligence,” is the process of collecting, analyzing, and utilizing employee-related data to make informed decisions about workforce planning and management. It combines a range of data sources – from employee performance metrics and skill assessments to market trends – to provide a comprehensive, data-driven view of the workforce.

This holistic view enables organizations to align their human resources with business goals, enhance productivity, and foster a more engaged and satisfied workforce. Ideally, organizations will incorporate both historical and current data sets, to spot evolving trends and best practices.

Key Components of Workforce Intelligence

Workforce intelligence enables a multi-faceted view of employees at any one time – and over periods of  time. Data is the linchpin to visibility and analysis, informing short-term and long-term decisions. Getting to workforce intelligence comes from a combination of key components.

  • Data Collection: The foundation of workforce intelligence is robust data collection. This includes gathering information from various sources such as HR systems, performance reviews, employee surveys, and external market data. The goal is to create a rich dataset that can be analyzed for insights.
  • Data Analysis: Once you’ve collected the data, analyze it to understand what it means. This involves identifying patterns, trends, and correlations that can inform strategic decisions. Ideally, collected data is saved and available for years – even after employees leave the company – to help reveal historical trends and outcomes. Machine learning and AI are playing an increasingly crucial role in making sense of vast amounts of data and predicting future outcomes.
  • Skills Mapping: A critical aspect of workforce intelligence is understanding how well the skills and competencies of employees match the requirements of their jobs. By mapping these skills, organizations can identify strengths and weaknesses both of individuals and of groups, plan targeted training and development programs, and make informed hiring, reskilling, and upskilling decisions.
  • Integration with Business Goals: Workforce intelligence should not operate in a vacuum. It needs to be integrated with broader business goals to ensure that HR strategies align with company objectives. This alignment helps in driving business performance and achieving long-term success.
  • Predictive Analytics: Beyond understanding current capabilities, the true magic of workforce intelligence is predictive analytics to forecast future trends, both inside the organization and beyond. This helps plan for internal changes like  succession planning and promotion decisions, and prepare for external changes in the market or industry.

Why is Workforce Intelligence Important Now?

The need for CEOs and HR leaders to collect and harness workforce intelligence has never been greater. Several key trends underscore its important role now.

  • Scarcity of Workers: According to Gartner, 78% of CEOs report that talent scarcity is reaching crisis proportions. Long term, this trend is exacerbated by a declining birthrate, which, as the White House points out, with “the aging population that it generates – implies fewer workers per capita and creates significant headwinds to economic growth.” As the talent pool shrinks, it becomes essential for companies to make the most of their existing workforce.
    Workforce Intelligence helps identify untapped potential of current employees and can help optimize talent deployment.
  • Shift to Skills-Based Workforce Management: Companies are increasingly moving towards skills-based hiring to ensure that they bring in the right talent for open job roles. However, many organizations lack visibility into the skills, competencies, and performance of their existing employees. As businesses push to improve employee retention and upskilling initiatives, such blind spots can get in the way of identifying skills gaps and managing employee development across the workforce – at scale and over time.
    Workforce intelligence provides a clear picture of the skills landscape within an organization.
  • Acceleration of Artificial Intelligence: AI is blurring roles and even industry lines. As Josh Bersin explained earlier this year, “Every company is a digital company; every company wants to build recurring revenue streams; and soon every company will run on AI.” He adds, “Careers that used to stay within an industry are morphing into ‘skills-based careers,’ enabling people to jump around more easily than ever before.” Soon, employees across industries and job roles will need to master AI to succeed at work. And blurred lines are only amplifying increased competition for top talent, prompting Bersin to observe, “We have to ‘hoard our talent,’ invest in productivity, and redevelop and redeploy people for growth.” Companies need a way to track significant changes – and predicted changes – in the marketplace and align their workforce skills to power continued success.
    Workforce intelligence allows companies to adapt to this shift and remain competitive.

Benefits of Workforce Intelligence for Talent Management

In today’s competitive market, having a deep understanding of your workforce can provide a significant edge in optimizing your workforce talent.

  • Enhanced Decision-Making: With comprehensive data and insights at your fingertips, leaders can make more informed and strategic decisions regarding hiring, training, and workforce planning. This leads to better alignment between workforce capabilities and business goals.
  • Increased Productivity: By optimizing the deployment of human resources and ensuring that employees are in roles that match their skills and strengths, organizations can enhance employee productivity and efficiency.
  • Improved Employee Engagement: Workforce intelligence can help you identify factors that contribute to employee satisfaction and engagement. By addressing these factors, organizations can create a more positive work culture and reduce turnover rates.
  • Competitive Advantage: Organizations that effectively utilize workforce intelligence are better positioned to attract and retain top talent and rapidly respond to market changes.

Implementing Workforce Intelligence

To harness the power of workforce intelligence, organizations need to invest in the right tools and processes.

  • Invest in Technology: Getting to workforce intelligence requires the combination of large data sets, which are best managed by technologies designed to capture and manage that data. Skills assessments are best to capture employee skills. A robust and flexible skills management system, such as Avilar’s WebMentor Skills™, is needed as a central “home” for skills data that can be extracted, analyzed, and reported for insights. Other HR software and platforms are key for integrating and analyzing diverse data sources.
  • Develop Data Skills: Organizations should also focus on developing data literacy among HR professionals and leaders. This ensures that they can effectively interpret, communicate, and act on the insights generated by workforce intelligence tools.
  • Align with Business Goals: Workforce intelligence is only relevant when aligned with broader business objectives. This ensures that the insights gained are actionable and contribute to the overall success of the organization.
  • Foster a Data-Driven Culture: Finally, creating a culture that values and utilizes data is essential. Skills data is one essential example. This involves promoting data-driven decision-making at all levels of the organization and continuously refining processes based on feedback and insights.

Workforce intelligence is not just a buzzword. It’s a transformative approach that can equip organizations with the insights needed to navigate the complexities of the modern marketplace and workforce. By harnessing the power of data and analytics, businesses can make informed decisions, optimize talent management, and stay competitive in an increasingly dynamic market.


If you are implementing workforce intelligence at your organization, download our Competency Management Toolkit to learn how to capture and manage essential employee skills data. Or contact us to see if Avilar’s WebMentor Skills™ can support your talent management initiative.


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